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it's touchy, it's feely

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this post would have better served on one of the off days, but so what -- i'm going with it.

go over to bleed cubbie blue and read this. you gotta read the comments too, as many as you can -- there are a lot, but i insist that you take the time to get through at least the first dozen or so. when you're done, come on back over here.

ok, you've got the gist. now here's what i find fascinating. they -- cub fans -- adore their team as much as we adore ours; their bond with the game of baseball is just as strong and intimate as ours. we all have that much in common. yet judging from the emotions expressed in that thread, it seems to me that cub love is radically different from cardinal love -- well, at least radically different from my cardinal love, but i assume mine is pretty typical. the themes i heard most often in that thread were hope and forbearance -- i think of a spouse who refuses to abandon a wayward partner, who on the contrary hangs on all the more passionately, all the more determined to see past transgressions redeemed. whereas i would characterize my love of the cardinals as one born of a different emotion altogether: pride. the team reinforces positive associations with the place i grew up -- with the values, myths, and conceits that make me a st louisan and a midwesterner; also with the cast of the missouri sky, the texture of the air, the shape and pace of the rivers -- constant, steady, strong. i project onto the cardinals all the things i love about where i'm from, and the cardinals reflect them back.

that seems like a fundamentally different emotional experience from what i read over at bleed cubbie blue -- not better, nor richer, nor more meaningful, just different. they say fans are the same everywhere, and in some respects we are -- but then, in some respects all marriages are the same too, and so are all families. yet each family, and ev'y couple, finds its own way of expressing and experiencing love -- and they all can bring joy and misery in equal measure, sometimes simultaneously.

so i throw it open: what's in it for you? what's the payoff? how does this marriage of team and city, this family of fans, manifest love?