[If you're not a sports fan, you may want to skip past the main part of this post and go right to the free stuff in the TUA.]
I've decided that with this new year, it's time to be honest with myself. Call it a rediscovery of who I've been all along and have suppressed for a while now.
But, first, a bit of history...
I was born in upstate New York where I was too young to give much of a rat's patootie about sports. At five, I moved to Kentucky where I did what most people in Lexington did, I became a fan of college basketball and, more specifically, the UK Wildcats. No other sports mattered in 'Cat Country.
At the age of 10, I moved with my family to Connecticut and was suddenly in both a region and an age where sports began to matter. I became a fan of baseball, hockey, and football.
Despite the others, baseball was the real deal for me. And, living in Connecticut, I had a choice of liking the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, or the New York Mets. I decided, since I was from New York and I didn't really care much for the National League, I would root for the Yankees and their top-dog firstbaseman Don Mattingly.
This continued for many years. Even after moving to Chicago at the age of 12. I was a Yankee fan in Cubs and White Sox territory.
In Middle School, every time I got an A on a report card, I received four free tickets to go to a Chicago White Sox game. Let's just say I went to Comiskey Park A LOT. And there were only so many times they played the Yankees at home so I saw a lot of American League games (my Middle School days predated interleague play) and, as a result, became a big White Sox fan.
I had a hat, several T-shirts, favorite players like Carlton Fisk and Robin Ventura, and I even had a team logo sticker on my beloved Ibanez EX160. Ask my friends from high school.
As time went on, the Cubs became a bit more prevalent in my life. I stopped receiving free tickets to White Sox games, my friends and I got our driver's licenses and my friends always wanted to go to Wrigley to see the Cubs, and it became cooler to go to Wrigleyville.
Then there was that little thing about marrying into a family of lifelong Cubs fans. It became hard to ignore the Northsiders and much easier to push my love of the White Sox to the back burner.
Something else happened, though, as I continued my evolution to being a Cubs fan... I noticed I stopped caring as much about baseball. The players, the stats, the teams... it all waned. None of it really mattered anymore. Being a Cubs fan was more of a status symbol than it was a display of my passionate love of a game that defines us as citizens of the United States of America.
A lot of it had to do with an inability to watch them play live. Wrigley Field is one of the oldest active ballparks in the nation (I don't remember if it or Fenway in Boston is older) and, thus, a tourist destination that people pay big bucks to go see. We could hardly go see games. We saw the Cubs play more on the road in places like Milwaukee, Anaheim, and St. Louis than at their own ballpark.
Two years ago, Katie and I started going to White Sox games again. One reason was that the games were far less expensive. Another was that it's insanely easier to get into and out of Comiskey Park (I will always call it Comiskey regardless of its real name). I also discovered that when I went to White Sox games, I actually paid attention to the game and the teams and the players.
In two years' time, we've been to more White Sox home games than we have been to Cubs home games in the last 10 and we've thoroughly enjoyed the experience each time. We've gone by ourselves, we've gone with my family, we've gone with her family (her dad is the only person in her entire family that is an avowed White Sox fan), we went to a game where both our families met up. Getting tickets is easy and having fun there with family is even easier.
I'm also liking baseball again. I started reading the newspaper and sports websites and following team Twitter accounts and looking forward to the upcoming baseball season... for the White Sox.
I think what this means is that I identify myself as more of a White Sox fan than as a Cubs fan.
Do I dislike the Cubs now? No. Do I want the Cubs to lose? No. I still hope they break their 104 year streak of World Series ineptitude.
But, do I think they will win the World Series? Honestly? No. I think the White Sox will win once, maybe even twice, more before the Cubs get one. Part of me doubts that my lifetime will see a World Series pennant in Wrigleyville.
And I think it's just become too damn difficult and depressing to be a fan of a team that doesn't seem to care about the game they play enough to take it seriously. It's one thing to "rebuild." It's something else altogether to lose 101 games in a season.
White Sox Nation... I am here with my tail between my legs and am begging for forgiveness and hoping you will take me back. Just remember, despite being a Cubs fan at the time, I did publicly decry Sports Illustrated's mistreatment of you post-World Series win.
What say you?
In case any of you are interested and looking for something new to read, I grabbed extra copies of download codes from Starbucks for a free copy of Sway by Amber McRee Turner.
Leave me a comment asking for one and it's yours.
First come, first served, while supplies last.