He grew up a Cubs fan just like his dad did. As a kid his dad would sit him down in front of the TV, turn on WGN and the two of them would spend a summer day with Harry Caray. It was a ritual as a kid, but then he got older and friends and girls and other things got in the way. He grew up and he didn't watch as much Cubs baseball with his dad as he used to. He didn't watch any at all really. Now that he's older he doesn't consider himself much of a baseball fan, more of a football guy. He probably couldn't even tell you who won the World Series last year, but he did like the Cubs. He loved the idea of it more than anything else. "Did you know that a guy lived his whole life without ever seeing the Cubs in the World Series? I hope that's not me." He'd say and he meant it too. The Cubs were his team. Forever and always.
He had a son of his own now and he figured he'd be a Cubs fan just like him. Harry Caray wasn't around and half the games weren't even on WGN anymore, but it didn't matter to him. He was a Cubs fan and his son would be too. He didn't realize that things were different now. His son couldn't relive his youth just like he couldn't suddenly become his father. His son didn't want to watch a baseball game on TV, not when there are X-Boxes and Nintendo DSes and interwebs to be played. His son didn't want to play catch with a baseball, he wanted to play a game of baseball... on his 360. Despite his best efforts he could not get his son to care about the Cubs of Chicago. The world had changed, his son didn't live in his world anymore and the man didn't realize it. Like Jack after he got off the island he wanted to go back.
A game. That's would fix things. If only his young son could see the Cubs live and in person he could finally see how great it is to live in the world as a Cubs fan. Cubs fans are like a big happy family, he thought. After a game he would see this and his son could join the family. Then they'd be closer, then they'd have something to share. Something just for them. He looked at tickets online, but Wrigley Field was just too expensive even with the Cubs not playing well. Between the drive into the city and the parking and the food and everything else he knew there was no way he could justify it to his wife. Plus, she'd probably want to come with which was out of the question to him. This was a father and son thing and she couldn't come. (Besides he could use a break.) He couldn't figure out how to afford the trip. The trip that would make his son love his team as much as he did. The trip that would make him and his son feel more like him and his father. And then it came to him. The answer was right in front of him all along: Wrigley North.
Miller Park was not only closer, easier to get to and more comfortable, it was also cheaper. He could hop on the expressway from the North Suburbs and be there in no time. He could be back before midnight and not spend nearly as much as he would downtown. It was perfect and it's not like there wouldn't be plenty of Cubs fans in attendance. They don't call it Wrigley North for nothing. He bought the tickets and August 20th they would go.
The ride up was more of the same for their relationship. The son played his video games while the dad drove. He tried to talk, but the son was too into his video game. Just like always, but the actual baseball game? That was different. His son was into it. His son stood and cheered, he laughed and he was in awe of every homerun. "I did it," he thought "I made my son a Cubs fan." He'd never felt prouder as a father.
The Brewers entered the bottom of the fifth and with the Cubs leading 3-1 it occurred to the man that his son's first Cubs game would be a win. This excited him to no end and he couldn't hold it in. He asked his son if he thought the Cubs were going to pull this thing off to which his son replied "yeah, maybe." He liked that. He liked that his son didn't count his chickens before they hatched. After all, there was a lot of baseball left to be played.
The bottom of the fifth got rolling and the Cubs remembered they were the Cubs. The Brewers went off on them for eight runs and any hope of a Cubs win probably went with them. When Jonathan Lucroy hit his second homerun the dad felt bad. He remembered how he felt as a kid when his dad took him to a game and he saw the Cubs get destroyed. That was so long ago, but the wounds still felt fresh. He wanted to make his son feel better at this moment so he turned to console him. Only his son didn't need any consoling. He was on his feet, cheering and high fiving strangers. His son was as happy as he'd ever seen him. His son was a Brewers fan.
The father felt betrayed. How did this happen? How could this happen? Where did I go wrong? He couldn't grasp why his son wouldn't want to be apart of the same family that he was a member of. It didn't add up. So he asked him. The boys answer did not surprise him because he had heard it before many times throughout his life. He did not, however, ever expect to hear the words from his son. These words were never supposed to be said by his own flesh and blood. His son's words were simple yet biting. Short yet pointed. There were only three of them, but the father felt every single one of them deep in his heart.
It's been said that children make you want to live your life over. That the world through their eyes is so much better than the world through your own. This is not something the man thought about that day, but it is something he probably should have because his son's words were the truth. A truth he should have learned a long time ago. A truth his father should have told him. The truth, as the boy said, is this:
"The Cubs suck."