Goodman: Why I became a Cubs fan

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Goodman: Why I became a Cubs fan

Meredith Goodman, Columnist

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I hail from Austin, Texas, and while I am extremely proud of my hometown, I am saddened by our lack of professional sports teams. We are the largest city in the country without a pro team (a statistic that I have touted several times to my friends). When I was growing up, the University of Texas Longhorns were all I needed. The entire town of Austin (well, except for those weird Texas A&M fans) rallied behind the Longhorns.

But when I started at Northwestern, I became jealous of those with hometown pro teams. There was a girl on my floor freshman year from Green Bay, Wisconsin, and her room was decked out in Packers gear. Conversations would erupt at Hillel between New York Jews and whether they supported the Yankees or Mets. My boyfriend grew up a Cleveland Browns and Indians fan, and although our relationship might fall apart now that the Browns drafted the dreaded Aggie Johnny Manziel, I admire his loyal support of his hometown teams.

When I told my friends that I had no pro team allegiance, they wondered why I didn’t just pick another Texas team, like the Dallas Cowboys (whom my Dallas-born mother taught me to hate after Jerry Jonestook over), San Antonio Spurs or Houston Astros. When you live in a city as big (and awesome) as Austin, you just don’t feel a connection to other large cities in your area. It would be like asking someone from Philadelphia to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers, or a Chicagoan to root for the Indiana Pacers  it just doesn’t make cultural or geographical sense.

So when April of freshman year rolled around, I took the opportunity to purchase tickets for NU Day at Wrigley. Despite going to numerous Texas baseball and football games growing up, this was my first pro game ever. I was ecstatic to go to Wrigley Field for a mere $15 and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” while literally eating Cracker Jack.

While preparing to go to the game, I realized becoming a Cubs fan would give me a greater connection to my adopted home city that had taken me in for college. It was then that I decided to take the plunge and become a Cubs fan. I bought my Cubs hat at Campus Gear, and I was set to “adopt” the Chicago Cubs as my pro team.

People ask me why I chose the Cubs out of all pro teams (these people are mostly White Sox fans). First of all, Wrigley Field is a magical place. Despite its old bleachers and meager concessions, it is quite the experience to see a hand-operated scoreboard. It isn’t filled with giant billboards like other stadiums (I’m looking at you, U.S. Cellular). It feels old-fashioned and homey, like the ballpark in “Field of Dreams.”

The Cubs also have an admirable history of being “lovable losers.” I have always rooted for the underdog, and the Cubs never fail to disappoint. When I became a Cubs fan, no one could blame me for being a fair-weather fan.

But sometimes, I feel alienated from the loyal Cubs fanbase. I’ve only been there for the Cubs’ recent upswing, with Jeff Samardzija being one of the best pitchers in the league and my favorite player and Darwin Barney trending on Twitter. I didn’t grow up hearing about Cubs legends like Greg Maddux and Ryne Sandberg, both Hall of Famers. I hadn’t heard of the “Steve Bartman incident” until about seven years after it happened.

When I feel weird about being an “adoptive” Cubs fan, I have to remind myself that being a fan is not just about where you are born and what team you grew up with. It is about staying loyal to your team. I believe that I have proven myself a loyal Cubs fan, from visiting Wrigley Field three times in two years to wearing my Cubs gear to U.S. Cellular Field (and getting booed). I feel proud to call myself a Cubs fan and identify with my new home city of Chicago. Go Cubbies!

Meredith Goodman is a Weinberg junior. She can be reached at meredithgoodman2015@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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