Standing through thick and thin, Chicago sports fans have seen teams like the Cubs and White Sox at their best, and yes, at their worst.
Recently, I rewatched the movie Major League starring Charlie Sheen as a hard-throwing rookie pitcher, along with Wesley Snipes, posing as the lead-off hitter for a plummeting Cleveland Indians franchise whose losing ways had finally caught up with the fans. I especially enjoyed the so-called “heckler” who always found his seat in dead center field and shared nothing but his misery with the players, even during critical situations. One simply must laugh at the heckler, yet it reminded me of myself and other die hard Chicago sports fans. Look, this city harbors five of the most storied teams in professional sports history, yet currently, each team finds a new method to ruin our day by diminishing our last feelings of hope and prosperity. Our relationship with each and every one of our sports franchises defines the words “love/hate.” When our teams emerge winners, like the Cubs in 2015, or the Blackhawks in 2015 as well, a feeling of joyous pride enraptures our hearts, and as gullible fans, we wish for more icing on our cakes. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks have stumbled out of the gate in the new season, and the Cubs went on to blow their chance at a World Series appearance for the first time since the World War II era. We all recall February 2006, when the Chicago Bears fell to the Indianapolis Colts, in a game that seemed destined for a second Bears Super Bowl win. Sure, the White Sox took all of our breaths away when they actually came through and won it all in 2005, yet their 2015 campaign saw the team finish below the .500 mark for the third straight season. Even the Bulls have an ongoing problem on their hands, it being that they have not made it back to the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan last wore his uniform. Our teams disappoint us annually, and yet we still churn out in monstrous numbers to support them on a daily basis. This statement sounds like the definition of insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. As crazy as this sounds, there seems to be a reason why we have not thrown in the towel just yet. As much as these teams continue to disappoint, we stand by them through thick and thin, hoping that maybe this is the year of the Bear or Cub. Being a Chicago sports fan makes us all possess a fragment of insanity, yet I would not want it to be any other way. There is this unspeakable desire between all of us, a sense of pride, knowing that each of our storied franchises still have a chance to turn it around, to win the big game, to advance to the playoffs, and yes, even to win a championship. I cannot speak for all of us, but these feelings consistently exist in my realm, and hopefully a fellow fan can attest to this. The fact of the matter is that our franchises, however mediocre currently, are franchises with history, records, and past achievement. Today, some, like the Cubs and Blackhawks in 2015, have resurrected what it has meant to be known as a true fan. Technically, we should all feel thankful, as states like Iowa and Kentucky, border states to our very own, cannot even flaunt a professional sports team, and must rely on the success of the eighteen to twenty-two age bracket, that is, collegiate sports. As a proud Chicagoan and Illinois resident, I can flaunt more than our excellent college programs. I have access to witnessing the ones that started it all. The Cubs are the second team in history to join Major League Baseball, way back in 1876, when the Chicago White Stockings made their way through the ranks of professional baseball. The Bears were one of the original thirteen football teams to exist in the now-defunct American Professional Football Association. The Bulls joined the NBA in 1966, back when the league was still competing with the American Basketball Association (ABA) for ticket sales and overall revenue around the country. The White Sox hitched their wagon to the baseball scene at the turn of the Twentieth Century in 1900, posing as the new-age Chicago White Stockings before altering their name in 1903. Make sure to add the Blackhawks to this lengthy list, as they originated in 1926, becoming one of the first American professional hockey teams in history. There is a story behind each and every Chicago sports team, one filled with rich history and past championships. So, before you think about breaking your TV or resenting a franchise, think about who we all are. We are Chicago sports fans, meaning that we have seen the losing side of the spectrum, yet when championships are won, that feeling of victory brings us all together. Next time you decide to flip on a game, remember who you are. You are a Chicago sports fan, and there is not another experience in the world that comes close to what we endure on a daily basis.