My son came home yesterday (the day after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series) and he was glum. I asked why and he expressed that everything was Cubs, Cubs, Cubs at school today. I took a moment and thought it is time to explain what it is like to be a White Sox fan.
You might have figured out already that my family and I are Chicago White Sox fans in a Cubs world right now. My son is a 4th generation fan of the southsiders. My son was born in 2005, the year the White Sox won the World Series. My father took me to White Sox games often as a kid and I loved every minute of them. I understood at an early age who we were as White Sox fans. We lost a lot. But we never made excuses. I grew up through the "winning ugly" years when the Sox would play scrappy baseball and find a way to win. When I was in middle school, the Cubs were playing in the NLCS and every classroom teacher and many students were cheering for them. Every class had the radio on and there was Cubs apparel everywhere. I was confused because just a few years earlier, the Sox were killing it and no one said a word. That's when I realized that there was a difference between fans and media coverage of the Cubs and White Sox. It was a hard lesson to understand, but I am a better person for it. It was now time for me to pass along what I learned then to my son this day.
So When I spoke to my son, I started with the moment the Cubs actually won the series. My son is at an age where all the kids are trying to be the best and they are learning how to work with others Sometimes the kids will be mean to each other to try to make themselves look better than their peers. I knew the kids who were Cub fans were bragging and saying things like the Cubs are better than the Sox. I knew he was hurt by it. I explained to my son that I went to see game 7 at a bar with a dear friend of mine who is a major Cubs fan. I was surrounded by Cub fans everywhere. I was definitely out of my element. I told my son that when the final out happened, the amount of emotion that happened was unbelievable. My friend and I embraced for about 1 minute. I knew he had tears in his eyes. I told my son he was feeling what I had felt in 2005 when the White Sox won it all. I told my son not to hate Cubs fans or Sox fans, or any fans for that matter. It is about friendship first. I explained to my son that my friendship with people is much more important than a game. I asked him to hold on to that thought. Friendship first is key. I told him to be happy for his peers who are Cub fans. Tell them you are happy for them. Be humble. Be strong. Show support.
My son asked if the White Sox celebration was as big as the Cubs. I said no...and it never will be. I told my son that the city of Chicago will ALWAYS embrace the Cubs more. Always. He looked down sadly after I said that. I asked him to raise his chin up and understand this is not a bad thing. He looked at me in an awkward way not understanding. He said "Dad, that is not fair." I agreed with him and I told him as a White Sox fan, that makes us strong. I have learned to become humble. I can understand and deal with unfair things in life because I'm a White Sox fan. His face started to change from sorrow to pride. I said son, you must understand that once you realize life is not fair, you get past it and do the best you can. You support your friends and family. You stop thinking about what you don't have, and focus on what you do have. I finished by telling my son that we are White Sox fans. There will always be fewer of us than Cubs fans. I told him we are strong for that. He walked upstairs and put on his Sox jersey on and we all sat down to have dinner.