Confessions of a bandwagon fan who stayed on the wagon

Zac Reicks

Each morning I wake up, it gets a little easier. The pain and sorrow ebb away.

Common sense slowly creeps in like the morning fog as I realize just how foolish I have been for the last six months.

This is the price I pay for pledging my allegiance to the two teams in baseball that haven’t won a World Series in a combined 178 years.

And this year will be no different.

I was coerced into rooting for the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs in the latter part of the 1980s, as each team put together a few good years to cement my loyalty for life.

Names like Clemens, Buckner and Evans, as well as Sandberg, Durham and Sutcliffe were like musical notes to me.

Each sounded so good that when you put them together it was like a lullaby that would help me sleep.

I got my first taste of heartbreak early.

1986 was the first year I remember crying during a sporting event.

Like many grown men in the northeast corner of the country, I bawled like a baby.

The feeling you get in your stomach after such heartache is comparable to how you felt when – after coming home from school – you realized that He-man was replaced for the day by an after-school special.

Utter despair.

Then came 1989.

After winning the NL East title the Cubs decide to get pummeled by the San Francisco Giants and once again break my heart.

As baseball’s regular season once again comes to a halt this weekend, I have realized that there are more than two certainties in life than death and taxes. Since my two teams will never reach the World Series, that ups the count to four.

I could have been the average-Joe fan.

I could have worn my number 13 Rams jersey with the $13.99 price tag from Target fluttering off the sleeve.

I could have proclaimed that I loved the Rams ever since they had Derick Nickerson, or Eric Dickerson, or whatever that good running back’s name was.

Needless to say, I had to jump on the bandwagon somewhere.

No matter what anyone says, the reason you start cheering for a team is because they are at least decent.

What puts me a cut above the rest, is that I have stuck with the losers after they got bad.

And this phenomenon doesn’t only happen in baseball. Remember the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears?

I don’t. I was too young.

But they are my favorite team. So I got the fine opportunity to cheer for them during the 1990s when they were absolutely horrible – not when they were one of the best teams of the ’80s.

NFL Films should send them a bouquet of flowers and a nice glazed ham for providing them countless hours of great “football follies” material.

And lets not even start with the Boston Celtics. How can one team be so bad as soon as I am old enough to start remembering their games?

My memories of “The Big Three” are bags of ice and Larry on the floor, nursing a sore back. The championships and classic battles with the Lakers and Pistons are only vivid on ESPN Classic.

You know what’s nice, though – I got the Rick Pitino and Chris Ford years. When players like Kevin Gamble, Dino Radja (I never thought someone would be slower than Acie Earl until I saw Dino), Dee Brown and countless other career scrubs played a brand of basketball the Washington Generals would be ashamed of.

Things are getting better, though.

The Bears and Celtics had exciting years, and while Urlacher and Walker don’t quite have that same melodic tone to them, I can make exceptions.

And when spring training rolls around next year, I will once again be fooled by phrases like “he is looking great after that career-threatening knee injury,” and “Pedro has added muscle so he won’t get hurt during the time of the season when Boston needs him most.”

I will keep my hopes and dreams alive until September, when the next fateful morning rolls around and I wake up with the chilling realization that it has happened all over again.

Oh well, there is always next year.



is a senior in journalism

and mass communication from Lawler.