Greetings, Cubs Stats readers! Today, we're excited to announced the addition of our newest writer, Alishia. She is a Chicago southside native and — regrettably — a White Sox fan.
In our ever growing effort to expand our commentary on all Chicago sports matters, Alishia fits the bill. She's a talented writer and genuine person; we think you'll like her. :)
When living in Chicago, there’s one question we’re all faced with at some point: Sox or Cubs. We’re all very familiar with this question and regardless of whether or not you’re a true die hard or merely a casual fan, the answer leaps instinctively off of your tongue as if you’d been asked your name.
So why are we so loyal to whichever side of town we claim holds our hearts? Why am I a Sox fan and not a blind follower of Chicago and baseball’s once lovable losers? At first, I thought this question was much deeper and needed extensive thought and research to figure out.
In the Chicagoland area, there are roughly 10 million people, and while not everyone is a life-long, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Chicagoan, most of these people will pick a side upon inquiry. I wanted to break everything down, and assumed my findings would naturally back my assumptions.
Clearly, the white-collar, upper-class, frat boys and stay-at-home soccer moms in the Northern and Northwest suburbs, along with the yuppie finance guys and computer geeks with their materialistic, socialite wanna-be wives, girlfriends, and partners of the Northern and West Loop areas of the city are all worshipers at the house Santo built. Meanwhile, the normal, blue collar families and hardworking, paycheck-to-paycheck living people in the South and Southwest suburbs and areas of the city would make up the brutally honest, tough-love-giving Sox fans.
I didn’t have to do too much, if any, digging to see how truly wrong my assumptions were. Sure, I’m from the Southwest suburbs and my degree isn’t in finance, economics, or computer anything. I work very hard for what I have and am grateful for every chance I get to cheer/boo at The Cell (and still Comiskey to many of us). My Polish background has nothing to do with my love for A.J. Pierzynski, and I didn’t just jump on the bandwagon over the summer of 2005.
I hadn’t noticed, until trying to answer this question for myself, that my assumptions didn’t even extend down the hallway of my family home. My younger brother (while he is a white-collar computer geek, living in the West Loop) is a Cubs fan. Not an “I bleed Cubbie blue” type Cub fan, but a Cub fan none-the-less. My father shares my heart as a Sox fan, but my blue-collar background mother is also a Cubs fan. My brother and I grew up in the same home with the same parents until we left for college and yet when it comes to baseball, we didn’t follow the formula. We weren’t rich or even well off and, truth-be-told, our parents were never that into baseball.
That, however, is when it hit me. The true reason for why we cover ourselves in black, white, and grey or blue and red those two exciting series during the summer more-so than at any other time throughout the year. It isn’t about money, jobs, status, or geography. My mother herself was raised on the South Side. It has nothing to do with the shiny newer stadium out south or the crumbling death trap covered in weeds and urine up north.
The real reason we stay loyal to our favorite boys of summer in Chicago is based on our foundation and the environment we had around us when first introduced to this wonderful game. Whether it was sitting on the porch with your grandfather as a toddler, on that first date at your first game in the bleachers with the man of your dreams, or on a field trip with all of your classmates, begging for a foul ball or a wave from one of the players, that amazing memory of warmth and comfort conceived in us at that very moment solidified who we are and will be (no matter how many times Cub fans say they’re done).
While I was raised in a home by both of my parents, I grew up with my best friends in a house that was, and is, a Sox shrine. My brother, also raised at home with me, grew up with his best friend’s family who was afraid of a curse, and missed many of their team’s games due to work and school. (Great scheduling, by the way, Northsiders.) My mother remembers watching games with her father as a young child and being told, “That’s our team. Those are the Cubs.” That was it. Her father said it, and so it was decided.
Some of my favorite early memories are with my friend’s family, going to Comiskey and eating hot dogs, screaming with happy, outside voices and being responded to with big hits and great plays. It’s all I know; it’s how I was raised and it’s who I am: A Sox Fan!