It is impossible to cheer for arch-rivals. Fans who are not die-hard may try to justify cheering for both teams by saying “it isn’t a big deal who wins,” but those of us who live and die with our teams know that is simply not the case.
I am not saying you can’t respect the history of both clubs, or be impressed with the athletic ability of the players, or even enjoy a game at the other team’s ballpark, but everyone must declare their allegiance to one or the other.
Why would someone want to be a fan of both?
The answer is usually family. Since the teams are so close geographically, there is often an overlap for families that live in Illinois. People from one side of the rivalry marry someone from the other, and while the animosity may quietly fester under the surface, once they get together to watch a game with the family, or have children, it is an entirely new ball game.
My suggestion is the couple needs to make the decision for their child, otherwise the youngster will eventually need to side with one of his parents over the other. This can make for a long and awkward summer, especially if the teams are competitive.
There are many different ways to make the decision for the child. I have seen parents use t-shirts from both teams placed at opposite sides of a room so that the baby has to crawl to one side or the other. I have even seen grandparents try to influence the decision through tickets or team baby clothes.
If someone had their choice of teams, which one should they pick? Granted, the rivalry has been a little lacking as of late, but these are two of the oldest teams in baseball, and they are separated by just over 300 miles.
Cubs fans can enjoy the fact that we are still leading the all-time series, but the Cardinals are close. and the teams are currently on opposite sides of the win column. Last year, the Cardinals made yet another run through the playoffs, while the Cubs had only the Astros protecting them from the worst record in the National League.
There is only one time it is appropriate for a Cubs fan to cheer for the Cardinals, or vice versa – a complicated scenario where one team will make the playoffs if the other knocks out a common competitor.
Luckily for Cubs fans, we don’t have to worry about this scenario any time in the near future.
For now, we can look upon the Cardinals and their fans with quiet disdain because while they may occasionally win a World Series, or consistently make the playoffs, we will always have Wrigley Field and the hope that next year is our year.
By Reid Lester