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Why we love the Cubs

Why we love the Cubs Posted on October 24, 20163 Comments

Why we love the Cubs
by Paul Thurman
I will try to explain to my W. Mi. friends why us N.W. Indiana Cubs fans are how we are. W. Mi. friends like Liz De La Luz, Louann Nagy Werksma, Brian Russcher. First, I’ll say our love for the Cubs isn’t a sports fanatic thing so much as it is a cultural thing. A little background is called for. We come from an area affectionately called “The Region.” Hammond, E. Chicago, Whiting, Calumet City, Burns Harbor, Gary, not to mention Hobart, Portage, Valparaiso and Merrillville to name a few. It’s all part of the greater Chicagoland area. Things like steel mills, oil refineries, power plants, and international shipping tied us all together. For decades I drove to work on I-94, watching Russian freighters fill up with grain in Burns Harbor. Yes, daily Russian ships, and yes, it was cool! This side (W. Mi) of the lake is very nice, very clean, very little gang and graffiti. To be honest, in many ways W. Mi. has very important advantages over Indiana. We were raised with a lot of racial divisions (Portage and Gary use to be the most segregated line in the world, it was said). But then also a lot of integration such as the very diverse Chicago. Many if not most of us worked in a steel mill for at least a little while. My point here is that it is a different world over there and we were bound together by various things. Whether it was drag racing on the Boulevard near Merrillville/Gary border, or piling in cars to go to Chicago to McCormick Place for a car show. We were tied together and had something special. Then, there’s the Cubs. There’s “always” the Cubs. A tiny place by stadium standards, down on the corner. A place called Wrigley Field. Mostly grass, that place. You almost feel like you could yell from behind 3rd base line and say hi to your friend sitting in right field. And so, we were born into a slump, but we didn’t know it was a slump. To us, we simply were born with 1 instruction from God: Always support the Cubs. 60 or so years later, we remain faithful. We support the Cubs! There has never been any question in the matter. Imagine if you had a great great grand parent who was a contender in the 1945 Heavyweight Boxing Championship, then he had a dry spell. Then, you were born, around 1955-1960. This same great great grandparent banged his gloves together and said that’s it, I fight until I win. I fight until I win for Paul, and Pam Geiselman, and Dave O’Kelly, and Tom Trowbridge, and Beth Drake Hull, and Doris Schmidt, and Ron George and the list goes on. Grampy has a lot of bruises and broken bones, a bit of blood trickling from a brow. This isn’t sports, it’s family. It’s once in a lifetime. It’s important. This isn’t entertainment, it’s life. It’s necessary. It’s a given. We want to win but more important than winning… we have to play, we will support, we will come together because we are The Region, we are family, and we are inseparable. We ARE the Cubs.

3 comments

  1. Thank you for that illuminating essay, Paul. But what I want to know now is where and how in that hardboiled, blue-collar upbringing you learned to write so well? Perfect spelling, grammar and punctuation make your Studs-Terkel-worthy prose a pleasure to read.

  2. Aw, how very sweet of you Louann! I do know my grammar isn’t as flawless as you suggest. After all, two different careers: Writing, and editing. With today’s insatiable demand for ever increasing, fresh content online and elsewhere, most journalists have had to combine writing and editing. Most magazines have editors for print copies but not for online. So from one writer to another, it’s interesting to note grammatical errors in each media. Many people see an error in a magazine such as a misspelled word, and associate it with the author, which generally would be incorrect. It would be the magazine’s paid editor who made the printed error. However, online is a different story as the vast majority of errors are made by the writer herself. Another journalism device I find interesting is the co-author. Many people have a lot to contribute between the covers of a book. And yet, those authors are not editors. Editors in this sense are not to be confused with co-authoring though. Here’s an example. I’m reading “How to Write & Sell Your First Novel” by Oscar Collier with Frances Spatz Leighton. Now, one might find it ironic that a person writing a book, on how to write a book, may need another author to help him out. But in these types of arrangements, the second author is there to keep the first, honest. Literally to fact check, edit, and keep contradictions away. So important and laborious this can be, as to warrant the inclusion of a second author on the jacket. Generally the second author hasn’t written a single thing, rather, she has corrected almost everything the first author wrote. Perhaps no more evident is this co authorship “ghost writing” practice, than in autobiographies. One of my favorite books ever is “The Art of the Deal” by Michael Eisner with Tony Schwartz. Why would someone need a co-author on an autobiography, LoL? I’ll tell you why. To correct the mistakes, magically transform unintended insults into politically correct masterpieces, and turn white lies into babbling brooks of knowledge. So writing, to me, is very different from the skilled work of an editor or co-author. With regards to linguistic flair, I don’t know, maybe my mom. She was a poet. Thanks again for the compliments.

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