Masochism, sports and babies
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Today is a day that’s been circled on my calender for quite a while – about two-and-a-half months to be exact.
And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the opening of training camp for NFL teams. It’s still a little too early to get excited about a season that lasts until February. I’m patient, I’ll wait at least a week or two for that.
What I’ve actually been waiting for is today’s Cubs-Rockies game at Coors Field. Sure, it’s a game between two (current) divisional cellar-dwellers that are a combined (19) games out of first place, but the matchup holds a bit more significance to me than you could gather from looking at the standings or lineup cards.
You see, today, Aug. 1, 2010, is going to be a historic day, the day my son sees his first baseball game.
I guess using the word “sees” may be a stretch. He’s only 6-and-a-half-weeks old and won’t remember a single moment from the entire first few years of his life, let alone the game, but if nothing else, he’ll have been there, and that makes this game significant, even if only for symbolic reasons.
To say that l’m a fan of the Cubs would be like saying Angelina Jolie’s a fan of adoption or, for some local appeal, Tim Tebow’s a fan of Jesus. I don’t think “die-hard” adequately explains it, but I can tell you that after each and every stretch of the tortuous, miserable months we call the Major League Baseball season, I feel much like Bruce Willis looked at the end of the first “Die Hard” film.
Anyway, the point here isn’t to talk about my pathetic obsession with the metaphorical shots to the groin that inevitably come with being a Cubs fan.
Well, maybe it is a little bit, because for the past several weeks, I’ve received constant barbs from people about “raising my son as a Cubs fan.” You can imagine how the jokes go: Isn’t that a terrible thing to do to a kid? Aren’t you just setting him up for a life of failure? Isn’t it masochistic to choose to be a Cubs fan?
That last jab is where my point comes in, and, yes, there is a point to all this. You see, there’s two simple reasons why being a Cubs fan – or a true fan of any perennial loser – isn’t masochism.
The first is the easy one: There is no gratification that comes from seeing your favorite team lose, so none of it can be categorized as masochism.
No need to explain that further, because the point I want to make comes from the second part of this in that for one to be masochistic, the damage has to be inflicted on oneself.
And that’s definitely not the case.
Really, I equate true fanhood to religion. And I don’t mean this in terms of significance to people’s lives, so don’t go burning the Summit Daily to light your prayer candles just yet.
My point is that the majority of us never actually chose our denomination of fanhood. In the same vein as religion, it can be a family tradition, something passed down through generation after generation.
For instance, long before I can even remember, I was baptized Catholic – and a Cubs fan.
I don’t remember ever choosing either; they’ve both just always been a part of me and a part of my life.
There was nothing I could do about it.
Sure, some people – like they do with religions – denounce their faith in a franchise and give it up all together. But those people still can feel where they came from, can still feel the sharp pain in the side of seeing a box score that reads: Cardinals 17, Cubs 2.
We can’t escape who we are. Although, we can try to trace the origins back.
For me, it’s all my dad’s fault.
For my son, it’ll be the same. And, even if he can’t actually remember it , he will always be able to point to the day he was shown who he really was and who he was going to be. Because today, Aug. 1, 2010, is the day my son is truly christened as a Cubs fan.
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