by Kyle Westfall
Every spring it happens. Then, every fall it doesn’t. We’ve come close a few times, but it’s inevitably ended in disappointment every time—for 108 years.
I am a Cubs’ fan.
I have been since day one. Growing up in northwestern Indiana makes it easy, though. We were only an hour and a half from the windy city, so naturally that became my city of choice. When asked why I’m not a White Sox’ fan, I think the look on my face gives my answer before my words do (have you ever been to a game at Comiskey—or whatever they’re calling it now—awful).
But Wrigley! Oh, Wrigley. You had my heart on that first day when I was two years old and taken to my first game at the “Friendly Confines.” I still get a catch in my breath every time I walk up the steps into the grandstand and the old ivy unfolds before me. If you’ve never been, do yourself a favor and go to Wrigley Field. None of the modern fields even compare. It’s a life experience.
Anyway, back to being a Cubs’ fan.
Being a Cubs’ fan is a bit like watching The Andy Griffith Show.
It always reminds you of a better time. Just thinking about the Cubs brings to mind warm summer days when you were a kid and how you’d run around the house barefoot while on school break. Dad would come home from work early because the Cubs’ game was on WGN and started at 3:05. We didn’t have air conditioning so there’d be a warm breeze blowing through the house and in between playing outside and coming inside to “cool off,” you’d lay on the floor and watch an inning or two (Dad was usually snoring in his chair by this point).
Being a Cubs’ fan is hard.
It takes real commitment to begin every season with so much hope, then to end every season saying, “there’s always next season.” Maybe it makes me an idealist, or maybe it makes me a sadist. Who knows? Each spring we’re filled with amounts of joy that rival Christmas—which for my family is a big deal. Yet each fall, no matter how disappointed we are, we’re looking forward to the next season—because well, there’s always next season.
Being a Cubs’ fan brings my scattered family closer together.
Now, something you need to know is that my family is a little bit nuts. Not like flying off the handle with family drama nuts, but nuts in that we have the weirdest conversations by group text. For example, one recent conversation involved two topics simultaneously—those being “Grease” and using Vick’s VapoRub on your feet. No one missed a beat.
I know deep in my soul that each February on that wonderful day that spring training begins, our conversations will turn to baseball and how this is the year that we’ll go all the way. During spring training we’ll talk of the new players on the team and how they’re shaping up. Then, we’ll turn to weather reports as we look toward opening day at Wrigley. Then, as the season progresses, we’ll discuss great plays that are happening or have happened and how the season is going. Come September, we’ll get nervous, but we won’t let on.
Then, if we’re in the playoffs……good heavens! Households in Indiana and South Carolina will watch live on TV while here in Tulsa we’ll be streaming online (with a delay that becomes another source of great family fun by text—try being about 15 seconds behind when your favorite player hits a homerun during the playoffs—no matter how many times you ask them not to, your family will always spoil it).
We have so much fun together even though we’re all a day’s drive apart. And it’s the Cubs that help us do it.
Being a Cubs’ fan not only reminds me to be a dreamer and hold on to eternal hope, but it brings my scattered family closer together for a season.
PS: this is our year!
Kyle Westfall is an eternal Cubs’ fan and has been since he went to his first game at Wrigley at two years old. He has now indoctrinated his two sons, who help him cheer on the “Cargo Cubs.”