“Tis better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all”.
That’s not my gem; that came from Twitter, then was repeated by someone famous hundreds of years ago. And it might be true in some instances, but not when it comes to me being a Cub fan.
I love the Cubs Convention. After my first one in 2002, I decided I would go to every one for the rest of history. The standing in line for autographs and pictures, the racing from room to room, floor to floor, for the next discussion. It’s big, it’s crowded, and it’s all Cub fans. No haters. No stupid t-shirts about goats or 100-year droughts. Just fans being fans, trying to get up close and personal with the boys in pinstripes.
And therein lies my problem. I’m an emotional fan. I get attached to players. I sat in a chair next to Matt Clement and talked about going to high school 10 miles apart. Roosevelt Brown and I discussed the opportunity he’d have at the beginning of the 2002 season because Moises Alou always starts the year out injured. (Moises did; Roosevelt didn’t play well, and was gone). I’ve watched Sean Marshall and Kyle Farnsworth and Todd Hundley stand on stage long after all the others had left, because there were still little kids wanting autographs, and those guys wouldn’t let them go away disappointed. But then they do all go away. The kids, the fans, and then the players. And those of us who’ve formed a connection with them are left behind, hoping we’ll bond with the next group.
The Cubs are rebuilding. The Cubs need to rebuild. And that means more friends gone. Like Aramis. Like Z. Like Corey, who didn’t live up to his potential on the field, but was a rock star at the convention. Goodbye Hee Seop. I don’t even know where you are anymore, just a few years after I followed you to each seminar and meet and greet, sure I was seeing the next Cubs superstar.
I’ve stopped looking at the tweets, posts, and photos from this year’s convention. At first, I wanted to know everything that was going on, but in a rebuilding year, it means some of those guys aren’t going to be here much longer. Like Matt Garza, who stood on the top dugout step all of 2011 and cheered like a maniac for his teammates, then spent this entire off-season heating trade rumors. Am I supposed to want another photo opp with someone who might be a Yankee at any moment?
Maybe this year, I’ll just root for uniform numbers. “Nice catch, dude in right field!” or “Way to move the runner over, twelve!” Yeah, that’s the ticket. No more names, no more faces. Just helmets and jerseys and protective equipment. That way, I won’t know who’s here, and who’s gone. Because pieces of equipment don’t go to Milwaukee and break your heart.