"I feel sorry for you," they say to me. "Why on God's good earth are you a Cub fan?"
Because I remember the truth.
I remember sitting on Ricardito's lap. He smelled like soap. I'd begin to doze, plays and pitches running softly in my dreams. And then UP, prompted to a full sit - sometimes an unintended stand - as a particular play might warrant.
"Mira eso chica!" would ring out behind a "Hey Hey!" or a "Holy Cow!"
I remember my mom pointing to her elementary school literally shadowed by the giant walls where, inside, our team played. "You were born a Cub fan," she'd smile at me, revealing sacred lineage.
Dave Kingman hit a grand slam at my first game. I can close my eyes today and feel the rush and roll of 30,000+ fans coming to their feet as he rounded the bases. I define exhilaration by that memory.
Every baseball fan has their memories, their moments that connect them to their team. In that way, mine are no exception. These are just some of my favorites.
The difference for me is that I believe the experience of being a Cub fan is a commitment to the truth like no other fan experience is.
The truth is I can't remember how many games the Cubs won when I sat on Ricardito's lap. I remember love. I can't remember if we won that game that Kingman slugged his way through. I remember jumping up and down, cheering him home, blurred with bliss.
The truth is, most days you're not the champion. You do not strut into the office, applause propelling you to great and further success. Most days you're mediocre, you're regular.
But you get up and do your job. You brave it, no matter the deficit you bring to the morning. You don't just do that one day. You do that every day. And you love through that and smile and celebrate through that and you feel joy. That, after all, is your life.
There is no great glory in the winner winning. He is already cast in gold. The truth is, after a time, he bores.
But the day the faltering arrives - when tired and defeated he succeeds - oh joy! What love there is in that moment!
You can't be committed to the outcome if it's known to you. You have to struggle - even when you're beaten down again and again, you have to get up. Get up and get up with a full heart. Go at it full steam again. Today might be your day! That is why you live. That is living.
Most days I'm not a winner. I'm just plugging away, doing the best I can. But some days - some close-your-eyes-and-smile-just-before-the-tears-come days - some days I am a winner. A screaming, jumping, joyful winner.
That's why I am a Cub fan. In my lifetime I will be that witness. I will see that game and I will feel that thrill that only a Cub fan can feel and I will share it with all those who know, like I do, what the truth is. And if you're not like us and you're not committed to that truth...
The truth is, I feel sorry for you.