I'm a St. Louis Cardinals fan. For many who know me, this is not a surprise. Of course, I'm not really into sports all that much. Watching paint dry would be preferable to watching a football game. But I root for the Fighting Illini, the St. Louis Blues, and the St. Louis Cardinals. As of right now, you can -- temporarily -- add the Chicago Cubs to that small list.
First, my familial roots in the St. Louis Cardinals. My mom and uncles have long been fans of the Cards. It seemed only natural to follow suit. Mom will tell me how, as a kid, she'd lay in bed with the radio next to her, listening to Cardinals games. Or how, in 1963, still a teenager, she traveled down to the old Sportsman's Park to watch Stan Musial play his final game. Besides, St. Louis is an overall awesome city. How could you not like a team from there?
Then there are memories, of when I was growing up in the 1980s, of mom watching classic Cardinals players like Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee playing their best. I'll always associate those games with the way mom watched them: TV on for the visuals, with the sound turned down, and the radio on for the game commentary. Last year, it was my pleasure to take mom down to the new(er) Busch Stadium for an evening of dinner and memories as former players Red Schoendienst (then 92-years-old) and Lou Brock (then 75) took to a stage on the top floor of the stadium and reminisced about the old days.
But I digress, for this blog post is really about the Chicago Cubs. Yeah, the Cubs and Cardinals have a rivalry. And when the Cards face the Cubs, I'm always rooting for the red birds. But the Cards are out of the picture right now. Plus, they've definitely had their fair share of pennants and World Series appearances (and wins). I would have to be a bastard of the highest order not to root for the Cubs at such a moment as this,
I've mentioned my family's long history with the St. Louis Cardinals, but what of my friends' long history with the Cubs? There are people I've known for long and short periods of time, whose opinions and desires I respect. They are Cubs fans. The Cubs are playing in the World Series for the first time in 71 years and, tonight, have the opportunity to win their first World Series in over a century. Aside from being historic, it means a lot to people I care about. I'm happy they've come this far, and I want them to win.
The picture at the top of this post is of Myra Westray, a former teacher in Clinton, IL. She was also the sheriff of Dewitt County for a few years during the 1940s. Most importantly, she was the mother of some of my mom's high school and college friends, a sweet, wonderful woman, and a diehard Cubs fan. Myra passed away three years ago at the age of 94. Mom and I have talked recently about how we wish Myra were here to see their historic run. Perhaps, somewhere, she is.