What It Feels Like To Be A Cubs Fan

By Dave Rooney // As Told to Matthew Rowe

1950: just five years after the Chicago Cubs won the pennant, but lost the World Series to the Detroit Tigers, I was born.

I grew up on the North side of Chicago with my mother, father and two younger brothers. My dad was always a Cubs fan, and my mother was too, but she seemed to never really care much about it. My brothers and I were always intrigued with baseball, Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. I can still remember when I was eight years old. It was a Saturday. I can’t remember the exact time, but it was a sunny day and my father brought home a 1954 Murphy U198M radio. My brothers and I were very excited. We plugged it in and tuned to station 720 AM. That’s when we heard it.

“Ernie Banks up at the plate, with a runner on second and third. The pitch, Banks swings away and a hard hit ball right through the gap, one runner in… the throw. Safe! The second runner beats the throw with a slide. The Cubs take the lead 2 to 1 in the bottom of the third.”

From that day, I could say my life changed forever. I would listen to almost every game that I could. I fell in love with baseball and the Chicago Cubs. Whether it was buying baseball cards with Cubs players, or standing outside of Wrigley during games. It all meant so much to me.

It wasn’t until I was 11 or 12 when I got my first Cubs hat. In fact, I still have it now. I would wear it everywhere. Going to school, going to the market with my brothers, or playing baseball with neighborhood kids.

It was a hot Wednesday on July 21, 1965. I can remember it like it happened yesterday. My father had got my brothers and me Cubs tickets to see them face the Philadelphia Phillies. It was my first real Chicago Cubs baseball game. I was filled with joy when I walked up to the great Wrigley Field. I looked around me; there were Cubs fans everywhere. Once we got into the park, It was nothing like I had ever seen, except in pictures. But this wasn’t a picture. I was there. I will never forget walking up the stairs to see the stadium. Beautiful green cut grass, the smell of hot dogs and the amazing big green scoreboard. Our seats weren’t the greatest, but to me they were absolutely perfect.

The Cubs and the Phillies played each inning, battling to score or making plays in the infield or outfield. The game was tied 7-7. The Chicago Cubs were at bat in the bottom of the eighth when Glenn Beckert, the second baseman, walked to the plate.

I was nervous.

The pitcher pitched his ball.

The sound of the bat when it made contact with the ball sounded like thunder. The ball flew high, it was going back… deep. I stood out of my seat, my eyes opened widely focusing on the little white ball in the air.

HOMERUN! Right over that incredible wall of green ivy. The Cubs won the game 8-7.

After that game, my passion for this team became a huge part of me. As the years went by, the Cubs had their good seasons and their bad seasons, making playoffs to not making them. A World Series never looked in our favor. There were curses that people believed the Chicago Cubs had with a goat, a black cat and even a baseball glove. To me, they always sounded outrageous. I never believed them. I was true blue and bled blue. I knew sooner or later the Chicago Cubs would win a World Series.

In 2003, the Chicago Cubs were playing in the NLCS. We were just five outs away from winning and going to the World Series. I was watching on my television with my wife. When the ball was hit, it was a pop fly. It looked easy to catch. Moises Alou was the left fielder and was there for the catch, but so was a man named Steve Bartman. Bartman reached out and took the ball away from Alou, robbing him of the ball and the Cubs chance of winning. The Chicago Cubs ended up losing the series. After that I sat there with sadness. I was angry. Maybe the Cubs will never win the world series again, I thought to myself in frustration.

For all those years, I waited and waited. I watched and watched. Listened and listened. I was there for the wins and the losses. I had hope; I never lost it. Maybe a few times I doubted them, but I have never lost hope. Any true Cubs fan never loses hope.

In 2016, the Chicago Cubs finally made it. We all made it. The team, the coaches and the fans. The Chicago Cubs were in the world series, We played the Cleveland Indians, and in a hard-fought series, it was brought to game 7.

So many thoughts ran through my head. Is this it? It has to be the year. How could it not? Game 7 was the most intense sports game I have ever watched. The game went into extra innings.

Then 2nd baseman Ben Zobrist hit the game winning run. The Cubs were up at the end of the inning, 8-6. Now we were only three outs away from winning it all, breaking the curses, not being called lovable losers, or forgiving Steve Bartman. The Indians scored.

Now it was 8-7 and my heart was beating so fast, I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. The pitch released from Mike Montgomery. The ball was hit, it was a grounder to third, Kris Bryant scooped the ball throwing it to first while almost slipping and overthrowing it, but Anthony Rizzo was there to make the catch.

They did it. They finally did it. I could not believe what I saw or heard.

“THE CHICAGO CUBS HAVE WON THE WORLD SERIES!”

I stood there for a few minutes in shock, then tears started to spill down my face. They were the best tears I have ever shed. 108 years waiting for the Chicago Cubs to bring Chicago a World Series championship.

This is why I am a Cubs fan.