You’re not technically my hometown. I was born in New Haven, and I consider myself a true, blue New Englander. I’m a little too suspicious and not quite friendly enough to be an authentic Midwesterner, but fourteen years later, I’m working on it.
I moved to the city in the fall of 2002, fresh off of three years in rural Michigan, a place I never quite fit in (but where I met the most important piece of my life story, and so it was worth it). I stumbled a little in the big city, and found friends who helped me understand I shouldn’t forget to lock my doors and that you had to keep your head up in a town of three million people. I slid into place after a few months and remember thinking, this is it.
This is home.
Four years later after graduating, I had a friend who couldn’t believe I wasn’t “going home.”
I smiled to myself, because I knew that I was home.
I cheered for the Cubs starting my freshman year of college, at first because a boy I liked loved the Cubs, and then because I loved the Cubs. I named a plant in my dorm room Kenny Lofton (I’m weird, I know) and went down to Wrigley when I was nineteen, the night of Bartman, when we were thisclose to finally getting to the World Series. I ran out of there late in the game after some angry fans hauled a giant fake Marlin up above their heads and started chanting “Fuck the Fish.”
We’re passionate, as Cubs fans.
I’ve been to Wrigley a gazillion times, with my best friends and my classmates. With my husband and my parents. Most importantly, with my baby Theo at his first game this year.
Chicago is where I went to college. It’s where I met my best friends, and where I got my first job and my first apartment. It’s where my long distance boyfriend turned into my roommate, and my fiance, and my husband, and now the father of my babies.
And always, always the guy watching the game with me.
Baseball has always been a thread running through my life in Chicago, and like everything else, its had its ups and downs, its highs and lows.
We’ll stick with you, through it all, because we’re Cubs fans, and because this is our city, and because we have a deep love for both the team and our home, even when it’s bitter.
But man, it is surreal when it feels so sweet.
So thanks Chicago, for teaching me everything I know. Thanks for showing me that if you work hard and hang in and keep the faith, it.will.happen.
That someday will become today.