My sister, Mary, has been a Cleveland Indians fan since the last time they won the World Series in 1948. Gosh, she was only 10 but already she had pledged her loyalty and allegiance to that team on the lake. Mom said that when Mary was little she would steal the sports page out of the paper and lay on her belly on the floor checking out the box scores of her team. You’d think the least they could have done was won a few more World Series for Mary, but, alas, it didn’t happen.
But, and here’s the admirable part, Mary never switched her allegiances. She stayed a Cleveland Indians fan through it all. Wins, losses, strikes, old stadium, new stadium, foul weather and good, she was there while other fickle fans floated further afield.
So here we were in 2016, and they finally made it once again to the World Series. And who do they have to play? The Chicago Cubs who hadn’t been to the World Series since 1908! It wasn’t fair. Everyone — except Mary, of course — seemed to be rooting for the Cubs. Even folks here in Toronto who are the worse wishy-washy fans in the world, were putting their Rah-Rahs behind Chicago. I had to stick with Mary and Cleveland.
I’d call her every game night to see how she was doing. She always answered, “I’m so nervous!” She never watched the whole game all the way through. She had to pace and catch glimpses of the score from the other room where she was straightening a drawer or folding clothes. I think she probably had the cleanest house in all of Columbus during the World Series.
It looked good for a while. Cleveland was three games up, for heaven’s sake. All those over-paid, cocky, inappropriately-named (folks, “Indians?”) Cleveland team players had to do was win one-more-game-for-Mary. Could they do that? No! It became 3-2, then 3-3 and, just to make it more heart breaking, they take the last game to an extra inning and lose.
I waited a few days to call Mary. When I asked how she was, she said, “Well, the sun still came up today. And I know that this is only a game, but I am still a little bit sad.”
But I’m sure that next year, when spring training starts she’ll still be there rooting for her Cleveland team — whatever they are called.