“No. Pride won’t be my fall. I’m a Cubs’ fan. My heart was coming apart before I was born.”
— Nat Finn.
I dunno. I suppose everyone who claims to be a writer has either distractions posed as vices or vices posed as distractions. Many drink. Some just roll up in a bed and hide under the covers from the anxiety. RJ Reynolds accommodates many of the distractions/vices. Some have the more illicit substances, and then there are those with the more carnal approach to avoiding their literary goals / tasks. Lest we forget: there’s comfort food. I was at the Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago and during a session at Grace Place, I heard author Marianne Wiggins tell us that she gained 20 lbs. writing her last book. I wish I only gained 20 lbs. working on Book of Blues.
But, unfortunately, moreso than comfort food and sleeping, my biggest distraction / vice are those damned Chicago Cubs. My ability to focus on a task at hand is proportional to the performance of the northsiders. Needless to say, at the time of this post, the Cubs performance against the Dodgers in the first two games of the NLDS was enough to make me ADHD for life. Their second inning alone in the second game was a collaboration of past failures rolled into one. There was a Leon Durham, a Steve Bartman and an Alex Gonzales in one shot. At least every member of the infield (aside from Soto) shared and each took an error.
I try to channel the spirit of the ’04 Red Sox went they down 3-0 in the ALCS to the Yankees after giving up 19 runs in game 3. Talk of the Curse of the Bambino was rampant. Instead of listening to the media, believing in the talk and letting the legend of the curse consume them, the Red Sox went out loose, played smart baseball, worked the counts, and won 4 straight before going on and sweeping the Cardinals in the World Series, giving the Sox their first title in many, many years. No Bill Buckners in that series.
I tried to remind myself and hoped others in Cubs Nation would remember that the White Sox just won in ’05. How hard could it really be?
But, as I finish this post the following day, after watching the Cubs actually show signs of life in game 3, 2 games too late, I’m stuck back in the Nietzschean loop, waiting for next year like I have many offseasons before and will continue to do many offseasons later. It’s like giving up on your Children: against the nature of good people.
I watched an ESPN.com special where they interviewed Cubs fans from most every living generation on how and why they’re Cubs fans. The one that intrigued me was that of Billy Corgan. I’m not a Smashing Pumpkins fan. I don’t hate Smashing Pumpkins so much as I like a little soul n blues in my tunes. But as I watched (from the tv) the crowd reactions at Wrigley during game 1 and 2, seeing them boo at a moment’s notice and grumble the moment the Dodgers took a lead, I thought about Corgan’s interview. Billy Corgan talked about how since the ’03 NLCS – Bartman, Gonzales’ little league error when trying to turn an inning-ending double play and the Marlin’s 8-runs in the 8th inning in game 6 that turned the Cubs’ fortunes of being 5 outs from the World Series into a nightmare – he has had to be a fan from a distance because it was too painful anymore. Now, you can dub part of the problem the “Stub-Hub” effect where the super-rich wanting to be a part of desired social event outbid the everyday die-hards on Stub-Hub for the tickets and the reason the crowd at Wrigley was so harsh was because the super-rich were looking down their nose at something less than aesthetically pleasing moreso than rooting, but no matter how you slice it, the negative atmosphere in Wrigley was from the same essential issue. “The water swirled around the same drain.” The drain was this: Cubs Nation is too afraid to commit to the Cubs. Whether it was the super-rich who didn’t really care or the diehards who’ve seen and heard stories of the agony which date back before World War I, the moment the Cubs looked lesss than perfect, Cubs Nation anticipated the worse. Now granted, only those in the 3rd base dugout in Wrigley can play and make decisions, but the all of Cubs Nation affect each other. They created their own destiny. We create our own destiny. We saw a semblance of failure, expected failure and got failure.
I had a buddy text me just now and ask, “When did Loney become Albert Pujols?” I wrote back, “Cubsdom made him Pujols.”
I’m going to root for the Cubs in ’09. When things are good, I’m going to be happy. When things go bad, I’m going to have faith that they’re going to figure it out like I did during the ’08 regular season. And when the ’09 postseason comes around and things look a little down, I’m going to try something different: I’m going to commit to the Cubs and believe they’ll figure it out. I suggest others in Cubs Nation do the same or we’ll never get that World Series trophy. – Is it a trophy? I’m a Cubs fan, I haven’t seen it.