At first, I didn’t want to admit it to myself. And God forbid if my wife ever found out.
Much to my dismay, all of the warning signs were there. I found myself anxiously awaiting its arrival for the first time that I could remember. I bought magazines to try to suppress the cravings. I tried to concentrate on NBA basketball, and the upcoming nine months (or somewhere around there) of playoff action.
However, when I found myself turning to it during a particularly compelling NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal game, I finally had to face the truth. I was now, for the first time in my life, a full-fledged baseball fan.
Upon succumbing to my guilt and choosing to come clean to my wife, her response was predictable. She dropped her head, let out an audible groan, and said “Ugh. Not another sport.
My wife’s disappointment in hearing the news was understandable. See, for 10 months out of the year, I’m known by family and friends as the go-to football and basketball fanatic/nerd. If there’s ever a question or bet about some stat or score from the past, I’m the one they call.
I can’t tell you your name two minutes after I just met you, but I can tell you the score of the 1983 Iron Bowl (23-20 AU).
When I die, if I were to write my own obituary it would probably read something like this: “Left behind loving wife, two loving kids, and five loving grandchildren. Won fantasy football league titles in 2005, 2007...”
It’s a sickness, really. I guess it’s because I’m just so inept in all other manly endeavors. I suck at golf, I would probably cry if I ever shot a deer, and I’m so un-handy around the house that my wife exhibits some type of Pavlovian cringe every time I break open the tool box.
Being a sports nerd is really the only thing that allows me to keep my man card. Quick, somebody give me validation by asking me who won the NCAA Men’s basketball championship in 1978! Please! Please!!
Kentucky. Whew. I feel better now
I can empathize with my wife’s frustrations about losing me for the summer months now—but if we’re really being honest here, it’s her fault.
After all, she’s the one who agreed to go to Chicago on the weekend of our first anniversary. It was she that agreed to go to a Cubs-Cards game at Wrigley Field on the day of our anniversary. If it wasn’t for that, I would have never immersed myself in the majestic nostalgia the game of baseball—especially at a place like Wrigley—holds.
I would have never marveled at the view of the lake from my really cheap nosebleed seats. I would have never got to watch Cubs fans throw the opposing team's home runs back on to the field of play—which, unfortunately, happened a lot that day. I would have never drunk so many Old Styles that I thought I had now made 40,000 new best friends.
I would never have experienced the camaraderie that Cubs fans display, as a couple of guys bought my wife and I beers as an anniversary present. I can’t remember their names, of course—but thanks, guys!
I would have never experienced singing along as John Fogerty belted out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. Then, I would never have had to explain to my rather musically ignorant wife just who the hell John Fogerty was. Forgive her, she's a good kid.
I’ve arrived rather late to the game, but I am now a full-fledged baseball fan. I have a new found appreciation for the game’s nuances and strategy. I’m able to recognize talent that involves more than 40 times and vertical jump measurements.
I’m still learning, and enjoying every minute of it as I go along. Double switch? Now I know, which is half the battle—or so I've been told.
It's so exciting to have a whole new sport to obsess over! I’m taking it all in as a newly anointed, but die-hard Cubs fan.
Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I know they have the best record in the majors, and won the division last year, but don’t get me wrong.
I’m not a bandwagon jumper. I hate bandwagon jumpers.
When I was fully indoctrinated at the ballpark it was August 20, 2006, and the Cubs sucked. They were in last place in the division, and Dusty Baker could hear the sound of ice cracking everywhere he went.
So, you can’t pin the “bandwagon jumper” label on me. Heck, even as a kid, I always said if I held anything but callous indifference towards baseball, I would probably be a Cubs fan. I mean, any team that counts Ferris Bueller as a fan has to be cool to root for, right?
So, better late than never. Count me as a baseball fan in general—and a Cubs fan at heart.
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