Although I've lived on Chicago's North Side, less than two miles from Wrigley Field, for more than 30 years, I've never been much of a Cubs fan for three reasons.
The first is that I grew up on the far, far Southeast Side--Gary, Indiana--where we were partial to the White Sox. The second is that the Sox integrated its player roster a full two years before the Cubs did. Minnie Minoso became the first black with the Southsiders on May 1, 1951. Ernie Banks, now Mr. Cub, wasn't hired by the Northsiders until September 17, 1953.
My third reason for not caring about the Cubs is that I'm a bad-to-the-bone fair weather fan. Life's too short to waste it watching a losing team. And, in case you missed it, the Cubs' playoff loss Saturday made them official losers for a full century. The last time they won the World Series was in 1908.
Because I've been smart enough to make better use of my time than watching the Cubs lose again, neither of my two grown sons have wasted any of their time watching the Cubs lose again either. So I think it's safe to say that there will be another generation of Andersons who aren't disappointed with an inevitable home team loss at venerable Wrigley Field.
But there are tens of thousands, one generation to the next, who are not so lucky. One of those poor souls sent me an exasperated email confessing as much. Here's what Gerald Shinn, whose comments are published occasionally on my blog, had to say in his email:
My grandfather was born in 1914 and became a Cubs fan when he came to Chicago from Minnesota around 1940. He didn't get to see them in the World Series in 1945 because he was still in Europe, having fought there in WWII. He died in 2000, having been a fan for over 60 yrs without ever seeing the Cubs in the Series.
My father was a Cubs fan. Born in 1941, he was too young to have any memories of the 1945 series' appearance. He died in 2001, having been a fan for over 50 yrs without ever seeing them in the Series. I am a Cubs fan. I was born in 1967 and therefore have never known a pennant winning Cubs team despite being a die hard for 32 yrs.
I tried to quit after last year's debacle to no avail.
Like so many fans I talk to, I can no more separate myself from them than I can separate myself from me although after this latest catastrophe I have no doubt that no matter how long I live, I will die without ever seeing the Cubs in the World Series, as did my father and grandfather before me.
There is but one saving grace: Thankfully, I have no children and thus have not encouraged any young innocents to be Cubs fans and squander a huge amount of time, money and emotion the way I was.
We current Cubs fans have to make sure we are the last ones. I'm not saying don't have children. I'm saying don't let them become Cubs fans and follow the hopeless path we took. Just because our parents inflicted this cruelty on us is no justification to have it continue.
Intentionally making innocent little kids miserable and depressed is child abuse and in the final analysis, being a Cubs fan is all about being miserable and depressed.
Oh, Gerald, don't be so pessimistic--Wait 'til next century.
Monroe Anderson is an award-winning journalist who penned op-ed columns for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. He is a contributor to EbonyJet.com and The Huffington Post.
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