Saturday, October 29, 2016

Open Letter to Cubs Fans at Wrigley

I will preface this by saying that I am not a typical sports fan, per se, but I bleed Cubbie Blue. The past two games of this series have been rough. They have not been playing their very best, but if the Cubs lose this, you, as fans at Wrigley, will have to accept your fair share of the blame.

When the Cubs clinched the pennant they gave so much credit to "the fans." Everything came back to "the fans" - how great "the fans" have been, how loyal, how supportive. The fans, the fans, the fans.

Tuning in to the 6th inning tonight (after a birthday dinner for my sister at a restaurant that had no TV), I was in shock. Not so much by the score, but more by the hangdog expressions of all the faces in the stands. Chins in hands, droopy, pouty lips, depressed, dejected, defeated.

In the 6th inning!

Now, I know the number 6 looks a lot like the number 9, but only if you're looking at it upside down. The 6th inning is not the 9th inning and there was no excuse for the gloom and doom that had descended over the entire stadium. NO EXCUSE! You are Cubs fans, watching the World Series, at Wrigley Field. What the hell is wrong with you?

You have a responsibility to rally the team, to show them all that loyalty and support they kept talking about in all those interviews. And no, I don't mean just standing up after Rondon has already pitched 2 strikes, and you haul your carcasses out of your seats and give some half-hearted hoots for the last (hopeful) strike.

In the 6th inning, when your beloved Cubs are down by 3 or 4 or 5, and Addison Russell steps into the batter's box, you get off your lazy kiesters and you get loud. You cheer, you holler, you clap, you roar, you bring Wrigley alive. Enthusiasm is palpable and contagious and can turn a temporary slump into a victory.

I was at a Cubs game, back in October of 1995, when they were playing the Houston Astros. I can't remember exact details, because the newspaper article is packed away with my yearbooks somewhere, but Cubs were down by like 6 or 7 or some ungodly number. Most of "the fans" had already left, but there were a handful of us still hanging around. My boyfriend asked, "Do you want to just go?" and I turned to him and said, "You do not leave a Cubs game before it's finished." He was from Pennsylvania, and didn't know any better, so we can't get too mad at him.

So it was around the 7th inning, and one of the infamous SuperFans that Chicago is known for - mustache and sunglasses in place, beer in hand - stood up, turned to our section and started hoisting his arms up and down and shouting, "Everybody UP! Everybody UP!" And, as you do when faced with a Chicago SuperFan, we got up. And we started to cheer and holler and clap and roar, in a sort of audible wave that built, and grew, and brought Wrigley alive. We stayed on our feet for every single batter, and kept the roar going. Our throats were raspy from the screaming, our hands stung from the clapping. And the Cubs started knocking hits out - out beyond the infield, out of reach of the outfielders, and out into the stands. You could feel the enthusiasm, and the Cubs could feel the enthusiasm, and it exploded into this growling, stomping thing that took out everything in its path, including the Astros. The Cubs rallied and came back to win the game. The details are in that newspaper article I can't find right now, but the title of the article was "Fans Win Game For Cubs."

If ever there was a time for a repeat of this, it is now. At Wrigley Field, in Game 5. Do you think the Cubs don't have what it takes to win? Because I think we've all seen that they really do. The question is, as fans at Wrigley, do you?

You don't let the stadium get all quiet, mopey and depressing. You don't leave before the game is over. And you most certainly don't give up in the 6th freaking inning. You give it everything you've got until the last pitch is thrown. The way you expect your team to do it. Cheer, holler, clap, roar, stomp, and bring Wrigley alive. Cleveland won't know what hit them.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Reading

I used to read books all the way through, front to back, regardless of how much I was enjoying them. I don't do that anymore. Although I know how much work goes into writing a book, and I absolutely appreciate each and every author's efforts, I know I will enjoy my life more if I don't force myself to read things I'm not enjoying. I'm not in High School English anymore, and I don't have to write a report if I don't want to. If I like a book, I will rate it on Goodreads, because that is a fun space for me to keep track of books I've read and books I want to read. If I don't like a book, I just put it away and never mention it again, unless in absolutely private company where I can be honest and be assured no one's feelings are hurt. (OR if the author has passed away, in which case I will tell you that I thought The Bourne Identity was a terrible book, and Tony Gilroy was a magician with that screenplay because the movie is one of my absolute favorites.)

I have recently arrived at a First Time Experience where I started reading a book, and was really enjoying it, and then I reached the first, what I'm presuming to be quite major, plot twist. And I know that I can't read the rest of the book. Not because I don't think it's going to be good, because I know it is, but because I know that it will send me into the Ugly Cry. My Ugly Cry is on par with a violent illness, and no matter how temporary, it still means severe discomfort. All the blood in my body rushes up to my head, and, for some reason the front of my face. My nasal passages swell to four times their normal size, and my eyes do the same, rendering me both oxygen-deprived and blind. I savage entire boxes of tissues, leaving unruly, wet, cold Kleenex Mountains on the nightstand. And the resulting headache from all this covers my frontal lobe and crown and throbs on a level that would register on the Richter Scale.

There are people out there who love to cry with their books. "I love a good cry!" Their Good Cry must be something pleasant, like a bunny sneeze. With this book, I don't even want to chance that it might just be a Wee Good Cry, because I know it won't. The blurbs on the front and back of the book did try to warn me. "This unforgettable novel...doesn't just break your heart; it takes your heart and won't give it back." But I said "Pshhht. You don't know me." And I foolishly started to read.

I finished page eighty-five, also the end of Chapter 5, and I said to myself, "Ohhhhh no. I don't think I can proceed here." Because when you know that something is going to make you violently ill, you avoid it, right? Lactose-intolerant people do not dive willingly into the cheesecake (even though it's delicious). Celiac sufferers do not see a batch of chocolate-chip cookies and think, "Oh, absolutely" (even though they are delicious). People with nut allergies do not immerse themselves in a bathtub full of trail mix, because KNOWLEDGE. Knowing what I now know, at Chapter 5, about the characters in this book, I am 100% certain it will send me into the Ugly Cry, and I do not want to be in the Ugly Cry. The last time I made the mistake of reading something guaranteed to put me in Ugly Cry was this:

And I only got halfway through the book.

For those of you who love a Good Cry! try that one, or this one, where I had to stop at page 85:

Proceed at your own risk. And then please let me know how it ends! But only if your summary is not going to make me cry.