I write this post as the Chicago Cubs are finishing up a 6th game win in the 2016 World Series. They are poised to make history. Well, in actuality they already have made history regardless of the outcome of game 7.
I wouldn’t call myself a great baseball fan. In fact, most of the time throughout the summer I rarely catch a game and if I do, it would be a Minnesota Twins game.
So what has made this fair weather fan a Cubs fan?
Underdogs? Breaking the curse? Diehard fans? Sure, but I keep thinking of a story.
My husband and I traveled to Chicago for the first time about 14 years ago. Our children were 9 and 10 years old. We had hopes of seeing a game at Wrigley field mostly for the novelty of it, but this small town Minnesota girl and her family didn’t know their way around.
We headed out early to the game in hopes of buying tickets from the scalpers. Neither my husband nor I had ever done this before.
On the way to the stadium, we were stuck in freeway traffic and unsure of even which exit to take. Sometimes when cars are sitting on the freeway like a parking lot, passenger windows and drivers windows of the neighboring cars line up.
I looked over to my right and saw the neighboring driver wearing a Cubs hat. “Do you think they are going to the game?” I asked my husband “Should. I ask them what exit to take?”
Taking our chances, I rolled down the window to ask. Now you have to remember that we are small town Minnesota people and had only heard horror stories about gangs and shootings in Chicago.
Sure enough he was going to the game and on closer inspection he had his wife in the car and a baby in the back seat. All of them were decked out in Cubs attire. From head to toe!
“Follow me” he said and we took the next exit and he lead us to a small parking space in the back of a gas station. He motioned for us to park.
I was beginning to wonder if it was such a good idea to follow a perfect stranger into a secluded place in a city that we did not know.
“It’s ok” he told us, “I know the owner.” We piled out of the car and stood there like tourists looking in all directions not even knowing what direction the stadium was.
Our new friend and his family started walking so we followed them. Or should I say, stalking them. After a block or so, they dropped back to us and asked if we had tickets. We told them we did not and we started a conversation. He showed us his Cubs designed socks and began to tell us that they belonged to his grandfather. His grandfather had season tickets most of his life, then his Dad, and now he was carrying on the tradition. His Grandfather had never seen a World Series Championship from the Cubs, but he hoped that he and his son would someday.
As we wandered closer to the stadium, he brushed off the scalpers until right outside of the stadium. When someone else approached us with tickets to sell, my husband looked to him for approval. Our new friend gave us a slight nod and we bought the tickets.
We thanked them and gave them a hug. As they walked into the stadium, he looked back at us just to see if we were ok. We waved. I wish I knew their name.
What a beautiful exchange. They could have pointed to the exit off the freeway and left us with that, but the kindness that was showed to us is etched in my memory.
I think how that interaction has shaped my beliefs about the Cubs and their fans.
I wonder how I might come off to others and if I could lead them to something bigger than Wrigley field.
Do I wear my Catholic fandom in the same way this Cubs fan wore his pride? Even more importantly, do I interact with others when I am asked about my faith by accompanying others or do I just point to an exit and want to be left alone?
This new friend showed me a better way to evangelize. “Follow me,” he said and we did.
During this series, I have been wondering about this man and his family. I smile thinking about that baby who must now be a teenager. I am sure they are cheering this team in the series and wearing great-grandfathers socks for luck.
So is God a Cubs fan? I think so. I hope so!
On to game 7! Go Cubs!