Lots of folks claim to be Cubs fans, but some of them are Parousiacs — that is, fans who hang on so they can participate in the final coming of ultimate victory when the Cubs win the World Series. Other fans are genuine. This morning, when Kris and I were walking around the lake at Independence Grove, I saw a man with a Cardinals shirt, and I said, “Go Cubs!”
To which he replied, “I hope you are immortal.” Which is the sort of thing Cardinals fans say to Cubs fans, since they think the Cubs never will win the World Series. So, unless I lace my drinks and dinners with ambrosia, the drink of the immortals gods of Olympus, this man contends that I’ll never see the World Series.
Does it matter? Which leads me to reflect on how you can detect a genuine (orthodox) Cubs fan and separate the Parousiacs from the Orthodox. Here’s how you do it.
Just say these words: “Steve Bartman.”
If the person suddenly flies into a rage, or starts cursing the day Bartman was born, or begins to rant about Bartman catching that ball Moises Alou would have caught and had Alou caught it the Cubs would have won that game and gone on to win the World Series. In other words, this sort of response to Steve Bartman, a genuine Cubs fan, is the sort of thing that indicates “We have here a Parousiac.” A person who cheers for the Cubs so they will win, and who when they don’t win turns against them or against his fellow humans.
Not so the genuine. The genuine know that Steve Bartman did what he should have — who doesn’t want to catch a ball in a National League Playoff Series? What genuine Cubs fan goes to the park and doesn’t want a game ball? And, who says Bartman interfered? And who says the really ridiculous thing that the Cubs would have won? History didn’t march in that direction and maybe it would have led to someone other than Alex Gonzalez making an error and maybe the Marlins would have gotten on a roll and scored 10 more runs.
The fact is this: we don’t know what would have happened. We know what did happen: the Cubs lost, Steve Bartman was vilified by Parousiacs, and the Cubs took a beating. This shouldn’t have happened.
This is where I suddenly can become Calvinist and where I want to invoke God’s Sovereignty and the predestined plan God has for the Cubs, and Cubs fans, and even for Cards fans to win more … and I can simply trust that history is where it should be. I find comfort here.
Genuine Cubs fans don’t live for the future and don’t predict the future; they cheer for the Cubs today, not because they are winners, not because someday they’ll get back to the World Series, but because they are, after all, the Cubs and because they play at Wrigley Field. Where the vines are green, and where the stadium is in a neighborhood, and where parking is a nightmare. Where Stan Hack played, and Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo, and Rick Reuschel, and Ryno, and Andre Dawson.
Genuine Cubs fans don’t live for tomorrow; they cheer for the Cubs because they are the Cubs. Andy McPhail, you are fine by me. Just put some Cubbies on that field and they will come.