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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

 

Chicago Proud
for Our Sox!

by George Bova

Sox Fans for All Seasons

by George Bova

Since its launch in November, 1998, White Sox Interactive has challenged a lot of conventional wisdom surrounding the team and its fan base.  It's gratifying to know so many of these misconceptions have been debunked in the subsequent 9+ years.  When I coded the first few pages back at Thanksgiving that year it wasn't clear what fate the team might suffer.  Albert Belle was allowed to become a free agent.  Robin Ventura was all but abandoned.  A sophomore manager with just one season of major league experience under his belt seemed more interested in playing (and paying for) young, cheap talent than competing for titles. 

To nobody's surprise, except of course Chicago's sports mediots, indifference amongst Sox Fans was rampant.  In their demented view of the world Sox Fans were to blame for all of it, the better to ingratiate themselves with the teaming masses of infantile fools rooting for a self-declared "warrior" on the other side of town who was only demonized as a corking cheat AFTER he left town.  And now you know why we call them mediots.

Yes, it was hard being a Sox Fan in 1998.  After being swept out of the playoffs without a single post-season victory, it was still hard to be a Sox Fan in 2000, too.  Six months spent piling up 95 wins -- leading the division from end to end -- didn't count for spit if nobody in a Sox uniform could hit the ball versus Seattle pitching for three straight October dates. 

It was hard to be a Sox Fan of a first-place team in 2003, destined to implode from lack of faith in its leadership the final 4 weeks of the season, and virtually forgotten by all but the most diehard of Sox Fans today.

The ugly truth is it is NEVER very easy to be a Sox Fan.  Our lot is always to roll the stone up the hill.  And like Sisyphus, the original Sox Fan of Greek mythology, that stone inevitably rolls back down upon us as soon as we rest from our toil.

By definition Sox Fans are a hardy lot.  Weak Sox Fans perished long ago.

Unfortunately, the ugly truth is many Sox Fans -- including several who would never identify themselves as such -- were turned into irrational and often raving lunatics the final weeks before the 2005 team won the ultimate triumph on behalf of the city, the South Side, and these same undeserving fans.  Even more disturbing, a few of them are even smug enough to point the accusing finger elsewhere.  Ah, the truth hurts...

To support a first-place Sox team in July, like the one we Sox Fans now enjoy, is yet another test of fortitude and felicity to the team and the Championship Quest that we Sox Fans alone can rightfully claim on behalf of all of Chicago.  (Sorry Cubs fans, your new "W" flags only highlight what lovable losing "L" fans you were for 98+ years before 2005.)

The all-star break serves as a reminder of how far the 2008 has progressed, and how much baseball is still left to be played.  Absolutely nothing has been decided and perhaps the greatest accomplishment this team can replicate in the second-half is to keep as healthy as they've already remained for most of the first-half.  The games with Minnesota figure to be the most-important of the season but its only seven games.  Any letdown in the other 61 games left to play against the other opponents would have devastating effect on Sox fortunes, too.

July is no time for getting giddy and making outrageous predictions or silly October plans.  There is just so much more to be earned before glory can be achieved.

To be a Sox Fan on a long and cold Thanksgiving night in 1998 isn't really too different than being a Sox Fan on long and hot July summer afternoon watching your team struggle in Texas and a damaged-goods pitcher gets fawning treatment after his first win across town.

You must remain tough -- tougher than most any other sports fan in any other city -- to be a Sox Fan.  In fact it's toughest of all to be a Sox Fan living in Chicago itself.  Those living far away suffer nothing from their own indifferent media; Your Chicago brethren enjoy no such luxury.

You must be a Sox Fan for all seasons.  Enjoy what you have.  Settle for nothing but what works.  Remain focused.  Keep the faith.

Glory is there for those who thirst to taste it.  Those who are tough enough actually will.

Only a few will be faking it.


George Bova is editor and founder of White Sox Interactive.  You can write George at george@whitesoxinteractive.com

More features from George Bova here!

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