In my family we are Cubs fans We picked up our kids from Sunday School this week and went to a game. The juxtaposition of the two made me realize that our Cubs Fan status may be the perfect explanation for and answer to all my dithering about Judaism of late.
Once or twice a year we like to go to Wrigley Field, we like the feeling of being there, it’s a special place. It’s fun to wear special clothes (yes dear, Mommy is wearing a t-shirt that matches yours, and yes it is an unflattering crew neck. No, Mommy doesn’t wear a baseball hat on her head. Some women do, but Mommy has never felt comfortable doing so, it’s just not how I grew up. You can if you want to though, men and women can both wear kippahs and baseball hats, but you don’t have to do so).
Like matza at Passover, it’s fun to eat special foods that we only eat certain times of the year like Cotton Candy and Cracker Jack. Also like Passover, it’s fun to regular food in unusual ways. I believe I have finally mastered the art of throwing peanut shells on the ground as opposed to gently placing them there.
Being a Cubs fan comes with special lessons like valuing history and tradition over actually winning a game, or the importance of perseverance, dedication and loyalty. It’s not that you CAN’T learn those things if you’re fans of another team, but just like social justice is woven into the fabric of Judaism, these values are woven into the fabric of the Cubs.
We are moderate Cubs fans, having been raised in two different traditions about sports (Danny pro, me oblivious). We have friends who are fans of other teams. Some of our relatives actually like the Red Sox and the Reds. People on our block are White Sox fans. It’s not that our team is better than theirs, just different. We explain to the kids that while it’s nice that they get to do things like win games and pennants and have big parades, that isn’t what our team and our family does. It’s right for them, but not right for us. Isn’t it nice though that just like our friends who celebrate Christmas we can celebrate with friends who like other teams? We can teach them our customs and learn theirs, things like being happy at the end of a game.
So, as Rosh Hashana approaches I’ve decided to stay with the Jewish status quo. After all, as we say in Cubs’ land, “There’s always next year.”