A Tribute to Addison & Clark

I’m a Cubs fan–and a cliché one at that.  Albeit, I've only sat in the bleachers once; I am guilty of pretending to understand the scoreboard, taking a fan photo with Vince Vaughn and exiting the stadium twice as drunk as I entered it.  The first time I legally bought a frothy, tasteless Old Style dressed like a Cubs Slut* was truly a coming of age experience.  

Some would validate my fandom by the fact that my family held season tickets–section 117, Row 3, Seats 2,3,4,5–from before I was born until I was 22 years old. Personally, I think the markings of a true Cubs fan lie in how many times they've defended their allegiance with a nod at the Chicago tradition that is Wrigley Field. More often than not those battles go down something like this:

“The Cubs SUCK!”

“Yeah, but you can’t deny that Wrigley Field is a beacon to the sport of baseball.”

“It smells like piss.”

“You smell like piss!”

Ask any Cubs fan and they’ll boast about the historic vibe that fills the beer soaked air within the ivy walls of the friendly confines.  But for me, that doesn't even begin to describe the nostalgia I feel once my ass sinks into those iconic evergreen seats.

At risk of sounding like a privileged white girl from the suburbs trying to pull off a rough-around-the-edges, rags-to-riches type of statement; I grew up at Wrigley Field.  Okay maybe I didn't grow up there, but my identity as a Chicagoan was fostered through family baseball outings to Cubs games.  

Apparently I was brought to Cubs games before I grew hair and after my clowning classes.

Apparently I was brought to Cubs games before I grew hair and after my clowning classes.

I vividly remember riding in the way-back of our wood paneled station wagon through the side streets of the city.  Passing by cascading red, silver and blue strands of metallic streamers marking the parking lots of used car dealerships on every other corner of Irving Park Road.  According to my baby book, the very first song I learned to sing was Take Me Out To The Ball Game. My taste for Chicago style hot dogs grew exponentially faster than the average picky eater, as did my belief that I would see the Cubs win the World Series in my lifetime.

While that belief remains, it is one of steadfast pain, which speaks to the strength of a Cubs Fan–fair-weather or die hard.  The reason The Cubs still sell out games, despite the crimes committed on the field, is because to sit within Wrigley Field is to embrace hope wholeheartedly.  You don't enter a game expecting your team to lose.  You go with the hope of a win. The essence of being a Cubs fan isn't about embracing the let-down, it’s about holding out for the moment when it all pays off.  And it will pay off. Mark my mustardy, beer breathing words.   

 

* A Cubs Slut is a girl who wears any of the following outfit combinations to a Cubs game:

- A jean skirt and a tight v-neck Cubs tee and flip flops

- Cut-off jean shorts and a tight v-neck Cubs tee and flip flops

- White pants and a tight v-neck Cubs tee and flip flops

Cubs Sluts frequently travel in groups–all wearing Ray Bans with long, straight, beachy hair and occasionally a baseball cap.  More often than not, Cubs Sluts nonchalantly know nothing about baseball, but it doesn't matter because they’re not afraid to drink a beer.

A Note: I am not a true Cub's Slut as I actually know a lot about the game of baseball.

My 2014 Boston Marathon Bomb

Today my office was live streaming The Boston Marathon.  On my way to get a cup of coffee I overheard an interview of a woman who had just won the wheelchair race for the 2nd year in a row.  Her name sounded oddly familiar–Tatyana McFadden. When I turned around to look at the screen, I realized that this woman was my food science lab partner freshman year of college.

Suddenly it all came back to me. I remember being exceedingly annoyed with this chick because she chopped produce slower than an arthritis-ridden turtle.  None of our dishes ever looked/tasted right and it was never a direct result of my efforts.  I resented her lack of culinary instinct. As far as I was concerned, she was an abominable sous-chef to my mastery and the greatest downfall on the path towards my lack-luster dream of being a food scientist.  In layman's terms, I was a huge bitch to her.

She would invite me to go watch her basketball games. To which I did the classic disingenuous girl thing of saying 'yes' but not ever intending on following through.  At the time, I had no interest in befriending anyone who didn't know how to julienne a carrot.   

When I went to look her up today, less than 6 letters into typing her name, the auto-fill finished it for me. So she's obviously important to Google.  

After reading her biography, I realized that at the time I knew her she had already competed in the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games...AND WON STUFF.  She has an incredible story and a relentless drive to compete in more athletic activities than my sorry-ass has ever seen the likes of.  I mean, she just won a gold medal racing at the London Paralympic Games and decided to try her hand at skiing in the Sochi games for fucks sake. 

I wish 18 year-old me had learned to accept peoples differences back when I had the opportunity to get to know her better.  She may have concocted horrible soufflées, but you know, not everyone can be good at making fluffy, eggy ramekin dishes. It takes all kinds of talents and view points to make the world spin–a concept that has exponentially been engraved into my mind as I have distanced myself from the regimented life of a middle-class suburban child who did community theater, went to a Big 10 University and promptly moved to Wrigleyville after a year of living with her parents. 

I hope this story elicits the urge to get to know someone you wouldn't normally approach, or open up to someone who couldn't be more different than you, because you never know who will change your life, even in the smallest way.