Until Wednesday, being a Cubs fan meant thwarted hopes and dogged loyalty in the face of – let’s all say it together – 108 years of failure.
We’ve heard many stories about 80-, 90-, even 100-year-old Cubs fans who have willed themselves to stay among the living until they could finally witness their favorite baseball team go all the way – just ask Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts, who talked about encounters with those fans in their rally speeches. Even Cubs fans in their 30s and 40s have the failed 1984 and 2003 seasons to remind them to hope for the best while expecting the worst.
More than any other franchise in baseball, fans of the Cubs have known little but pain.
But the most recent initiates to Cub fandom don’t know that agony. Maybe they’ve heard from their parents about season after season of loss, maybe they’ll even remember the 101-loss season of 2012, but all they have known for the last two seasons is winning.
So what does it feel like to be part of the Cubs’ new tradition of forever flying the W? We asked a few Cubs newbies who attended the championship rally.
Domi, age 10, says it’s hard to be a Cubs fan “because historically they haven't been the best team, but they are still good.” His 8-year-old sister Amalia says being a Cubs fan is “great” and that even if they didn’t keep winning, she’d still back the Cubs because “think about all those people who were fans for all those 108 years of not winning a World Series, it didn't stop them, I'm the same.”
Derek and his family came all the way from the Quad Cities to celebrate the Cubs championship in Grant Park, because backing the Cubs is a family tradition – in fact, he was named for former Cubs first baseman Derek Lee.
Young Derek is a little more cautious in his fandom. He’s been a fan “since I was born, so I guess 10 years?” Derek admitted he was “really nervous” during the playoffs, but he hung in and watched all the games, and that watching them win it all felt “awesome.” Fair enough – he had waited 10 whole years.
According to her mom Diana, 9-year-old Aliyah, of Romeoville, only decided she was actually a fan once the Cubs made that final out in Game 7. But she’s enough of a fan to name Anthony Rizzo as her favorite player, and says she expects to see the Cubs win another Series in 2017.
Rogers Park sisters Naysa, Yasmyn and Maya are probably a lot more confident than their parents that the Cubs will return to the World Series in their lifetimes – according to Naysa, 11, of course they’ll be back, because “I don’t smell a goat around, right?” Yasmyn, 9, thinks they’ll win another World Series because “the curse is broken” but if they don’t, she’ll still be a fan, “because at least the Cubs did something to get in the World Series.”
Ernie Banks fan Maya, 7, adds, “When I’m dead, still I would root for the Cubs.”
Kids: the Cubs are counting on you to keep hope alive.
Nov. 4: Scenes from the massive celebrations Friday in honor of the Cubs historic win.
Nov. 3: In almost poetic fashion, it took the Cubs extra innings to vanquish a 108-year drought. At times on this historic night, it seemed like the team would succumb to its snakebit history.
Cubs fans, show us how you celebrate your amazing team! Whether you’ve got shots from Wrigley Field or your neighborhood bar, we’d like to see them.