One thing I am always amazed by is the continuous proclivity of most people to assume, if you say you’re from Chicago (I’m not) and a baseball fan (I am), that you like the Cubs. I find this to be the universal assumption by the majority of people with whom I’ve come in contact over the years. It’s really not a big issue—rather funny in its predictability is all—but it serves as another one of those little pieces of the pop culture that wears on and on, ad infinitum.
For what it’s worth, I always enjoy seeing the expression on the person’s face whose assumption has just been thwarted. A Sox fan? Heavens to Murgatroid! And then, if they express any interest in why I am a Sox fan (always have been!), then I go through the whole spiel about how it all came to be. If they’re native Chicagoans, they seem to understand only that one’s choice of team depends on where he or she was born and brought up—which neighborhood—and on what side of the city. And the default team, it is assumed, for those from anywhere but Chicago, is the Cubs.
This isn’t anything really new, I’ve discovered, but it has grown exponentially more prominent over the past several years with the advent of Wrigleyville and its surrounding party cavalcade with “the shrine,” Wrigley Field, as its centerpiece. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, and one cannot argue why young folks might gravitate in this direction. Despite all of that, however, not everyone has fallen under that “spell.” Even oldies such as this writer knew of a time when the upper deck in “the shrine” was closed during ballgames, and the surrounding neighborhood was anything but a veritable mardi gras gone wild! But that’s another topic for another time.
The point is, one shouldn’t assume that everyone “out there” is enthralled with, and head-over-heels gaga about, the northside ballclub. Since sometime in the late ‘50s, I have been enthralled and head-over-heels gaga about the White Sox! And I don’t even have the stereotypical “born-and-raised-a-southsider” pedigree to flaunt and wave about when declaring my allegiance. Instead, I spent the early, formative days of my life in a middle-class town in Indiana, south of Fort Wayne, and had the pleasure of discovering the Sox with the help of my mom, grandfather, and uncle (and Bob Elson and Don Wells on WCFL). Ever since, it’s been a continual ride every summer, with two World Series to show for it.
In my next post, I’ll write about how my mom, grandfather, and uncle helped me discover—and get completely hooked on —the White Sox. And of course there will be many words in posts to come about the famous voice of the Sox, Bob Elson.
I’m interested to know how you became a Sox fan? What, or who, got you “hooked”? Please share your thoughts here as they’re always welcome. See you at the ballpark…