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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Kansas City Blues

Sox & Pride!
by Mary Swistara

Second No More!

by Mary Swistara

Way back when the date for Core of the Core II was announced, I began to plan my first trip home in four years. At that time, of course, there was no way I could have known that I would be returning to a city that had undergone subtle changes. Sox fans who live in or around Chicago may not have noticed anything unusual. This could be because theyíre too close or maybe because itís happened gradually. But over the course of my two-week visit, it became very apparent to me that conditions in Chicagoland these days areódifferent somehow.

My first inkling that things had begun to change in my old home town came right after I had landed at Midway, when I went over to the car rental counter to pick up my rental. I was wearing my World Champs Locker Room T-shirt. The guy behind the counter took one look and broke out in that big grin we Sox fans just canít seem to stop flashing. After he and I spent some time reliving last season, he upgraded my compact car reservation to standard, then full-size. Called it a ďSox fan discount.Ē

The first five days of my trip were spent in Tinley Park. Sure, I saw a lot of Sox stuff, but after all, itís Tinley Park, so I wasnít particularly surprised. But then I started to see a lot of people sporting Sox gear in places such as Woodfield Mall, Arlington Heights, and Skokie. And when I saw a Sox flag proudly flying from the front porch of a houseónear Addison and Oak ParkóI really began to wonder what was going on. Where am I? This canít be Chicago! Why, everyone knows that Chicago is a Cubs town!

Only maybe not so much anymore. Maybe thatís changing, too. And of all things, the Cubs themselves seem be doing their level damndest to help the Sox take back the city, by offering up one of the worst teams theyíve had in years.

You have to wonder when you hear that thereís a protest being organizedóby Cubs fans, yet!óin an effort to get the Tribune to sell the Cubs. You have to wonder when, right before your very eyes, you see longtime Cubs supporters turning from placid sheep into snarling, slavering wolves, lusting for blood. Oh sure, there are still some Cub fans out there who insist on cheering for them. In fact, I got into an argument with one at a party. But even while I was arguing with this guy, somehow my heart wasnít really in it. Cub fans can keep right on battling, but we know we won the war in October 2005.

The high point of my trip, however, and the time and place where the changes seemed to me to be most noticeable, had to be my last night in town; on Monday at the Core of the Core game. What a great time! Meeting a bunch of my WSI cyberbuddies in the patio. Looking around at a sold-out Cell. Soaking up the electric atmosphere. Feeling my Sox fan pride well up as we saluted Frank Thomas. Watching the team Iíve loved my whole life win a thriller in a thrilling manner. Being in a state of supreme happiness in the company of 39,000+ other supremely happy people.

Now Iím back in Arizona, and happy to be home after an exhausting two weeks. But Iím sure Iíll relive my Chicago experiences over and over for quite some time. And when the glow from the visit wears off, I guess Iíll just have to go back again. To watch the First Team in the Second City play baseball.

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