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Profile of a casual Cubs Fan

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(Sun-Times photo by Tom Cruze)

BY LINDSEY MILLER Sports Pros(e) Contributing writer

The Cubs lose one game and people sigh, shake their heads, say "Well, that's the Cubs!" and go to their next home game anyway. They lose three, and people sigh longer, but still secretly hope this game will be a win. Lose seven? Or eight? Only the real Cubs fans -- or the fans of the opposing team -- bother with the games.

I, neither a Cubs fan nor a Pirates fan, was in the minority on Monday at the Cubs' eighth losing game in a row. But I journeyed to Wrigley Field for my second Cubs game anyway because, well, it's not often I'm able to get tickets, and I didn't really know the difference anyway. I was the girl in the bright yellow shirt, which I later found out is the Pirates' color, staring in the general direction of the field, and cheering for the Cubs (root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win it's a shame). More interesting than the game unfolding in the background was the game going on right in front of me in the stands.
The vendors caught my eye first. Bustling back and forth across the stands, peddling their exorbitantly-priced wares, each had a different method of selling their product. My personal favorite was the man with the most pronounced Chicago accent I've ever heard selling $6.50 Old Styles. All he had to say was "Beer" (pronounced closer to "Beear") and I was sold. Apparently the guy sitting next to me felt the same way. Cubs Fan #1 drank about 10 beers over the course of the game, at least two hot dogs, and at least two pretzels with cheese sauce. He insisted he was really a White Sox fan, but was eternally optimistic about the outcome of the game and stayed to the end anyway. "We're doing really good, aren't we buddy?" he slurred to my friend when the Cubs were actually down. "Well, not really," my friend replied and his friend agreed, "Yeah, we're losing." That shut him up for awhile, or maybe it was the beer and pretzel he bought every time the Pirates were up to bat.

Cubs Fan #2 was sitting behind our optimistic friend, but she paid him no mind. She had a more refined method of dealing with her frustration at the balls her team kept dropping, which involved burying her face in her cell phone, thumbs poised at the keypad. In one ear, an ear bud, through which I have to assume she was listening to "Nobody's Perfect" by Hannah Montana. Despite the mass exodus from the stands after the sixth inning, Fan #2 stayed, apparently tranquil enough to stomach another loss. Her friend also had an ear bud in one ear, a cell phone in one hand, and an iPod in the other. Every so often they would turn to each other and giggle.  

But this game was no giggling matter for Cubs Fans #3, 4 and 5 sitting a few seats down. They quietly discussed the shortcomings of wooden bats, which of the LaRoche brothers was a better player, and how the Pirates' Freddy Sanchez could have possibly gone 6 for 6 by the end of the game. And, like Fan #1, after a particularly painful play, they contemplated whether it was too late to become a White Sox fan. In the end they concluded, "No dude, you can become a White Sox fan. There's no shame in that."

I'm not sure Cubs Fan #6 sitting a few rows up would have agreed. He hid his disappointment with more spirit. Every five minutes or so he would start another round of call-and-response "Let's go Cubbies ... let's go Cubbies," only to find that when he pointed to the section behind him, no one responded except a group of three high school-aged boys who giggled in between each response. I, of course, so used to going to San Diego Padres games, thought he was saying "Let's go Padres," so I kept my mouth shut. During the exodus I thought he'd left, but it turned out he was trying his repetitive enthusiasm on a section a little closer to First Base.

But, the minute the last strike was called, he, like everyone else, quietly shuffled past crushed salted peanut shells and plastic beear cups. No one had words for their beloved team after an eighth game lost --I suspect they were all considering a mutiny anyway, or drowning their sorrows in Hannah Montana's "7 Things I Hate About You." But, last night as I counted my lucky stars for not getting stuck at a rainy game, I heard through the pounding drops on my window a faint chorus of "Olé olé olé olé" and I knew Fans #1 through 6 would all be back for more.

Lindsey Miller is a writer for Ragan Communications. Find her on Twitter @LindseyAMiller.

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