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EIGHTY YEARS AND (still) WAITING

Welcome Sox Fans!

Written in 1997, this has become the White Sox Interactive manifesto!

by George Bova

Welcome Sox Fans!  Every one of you has earned The Purple Heart. Wounded and scarred from over eighty straight years of losing, you deserve respect.  We’re not America’s Team.  Hell, the Sox aren’t even Chicago’s team.  Only two other franchises can match the Sox’ losing streak.  One is the Boston Red Sox who last won in 1918.  Then of course there are the Cubs.  Futility personified, the Cubs last won a championship in 1908.  Ironic isn’t it?  In Boston they recognize the Red Sox’ losing accomplishments, but in Chicago our losses are only second-best to the Cubs’.  Our White Sox can’t win even when they’re losing.

But don’t compare Sox and Cubs fans.  Cubs fans have a remarkable mechanism for dealing with their team’s losing--they like it.  Sox fans (like the fans of every other major league team) want to win.  We just have to deal with more losing--lots more.  Which explains something about us and our outlook on our team.

A minority of fandom even in our own city, the Sox cultivate a very different sort of fan.  We see the flaws.  We fear the worst.  Our team delivers what we expect:  disaster.  Our lives are difficult, for carrying such dark knowledge is a heavy burden.  Cubs fans don’t deal with this.  Ignorance is bliss, and so is being a Cubs fan.  Here’s how a typical Cubs fan deals with losing:  Go to Wrigley Field, spout some goofy platitudes about baseball in the sunshine and the baseball diamond as a public garden.  During the game you can do anything to occupy your time, but you must absolutely ignore the fact that no matter how many singles Mark Grace gets, how clean Ryne Sandberg’s uniform stays, or how many meaningless stolen bases Sammy Sosa gets, the other team is scoring more runs than your team.  Sing along with the celebrities in the seventh inning.  If you’re really lucky, express true love for your “Lovable Losers” by catching the home run ball hit by the Rockies’ Larry Walker --- by throwing it back. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Not Sox fans.  We care deeply about winning.  If a Sox fan ever threw back a home run ball, it would be aimed at Jaime Navarro’s head.  We grouse about every defeat and spot dark linings in every Sox victory (“Four wins in a row against KC?  Big deal.  We should be beating these guys”), and fret over the impending  tragedy we are sure will befall us (“How many minor-leaguers do you think Schueler can get for Frank Thomas?”).

Why are we like this?  Because this is the only way!   How else could we cope with all the losing and the utter anonymity while losing?  There is no glory.  All the rational Sox fans aren’t Sox fans anymore!  The true-to-the-core Sox fan never Never NEVER forgets that this team has failed for eighty years straight.  There are a lot of dead Sox fans who lived otherwise full lives but never saw their team win a championship.  Unlike their Cubs fan neighbors, they never once shrugged their shoulders, cracked a smile and quipped, “I just love those Cubbies!”  Sad, isn’t it?

But you’re here and you’ve survived.  Thankfully, so have our White Sox.  For us watching a Sox game is like watching a Greek tragedy, or perhaps living through a train wreck.  We recognize our heroes’ fatal flaw, but we can’t turn away as they meet their inevitable demise.  We sense our own perilous position, but clutch our seats even tighter, fearing what’s next.

Go to the BallMall.  Have a churro.  You’ve got it coming.


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive, a site devoted to the FANS of the Chicago White Sox.


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