As a native Chicago South Sider, I have so few people to share my photo with of me and the 2016 Chicago Cubs World Series Trophy. Some of you will know what being a South Sider means immediately and many of you won’t get it at all. A wonderful thing happened in Chicago. Isn’t all of Chicago celebrating and sharing in the success? Depends. Depends on where you live and where you’re from.
Growing up on the South Side makes you by birth a White Sox fan and immediately puts you at odds with the North Side. There are a few isolated South Siders willing to eschew all and root for the Cubs. The few I know are very happy about the win and I’ve shared my photo individually with them on my phone.
There is such a big South Side/North Side divide that I joke even when I moved downtown I couldn’t get north of Madison Street, the 0 (zero) street that divides Chicago. I went on to say that I would’ve had to get special dispensation from Mayor Daley, the ultimate Chicago South Sider. Getting it, long-time Chicagoans laugh.
Known as a brave one, I’m not brave enough to post my photo on Facebook where the event will mostly be met with radio silence, a thumbs up from the long suffering South Side Chicago Cubs fans and glee from those out of the state and out of the country that have no idea this divide exists, celebrating the joy of this extraordinary win.
When the Cleveland Indians captured the lead, when the rain delay started, I thought “there really is a curse”. Resigned, I fell asleep.
Then the magic happened, the most unlikely player Jason Heyward, used the opportunity of the rain to meet with the team, a time usually used to check self-phones or evaluate individual behavior or just wait. Heyward used that time in his own words ‘to remind the team who they are’.
Listening to Anthony Rizzo’s, a cancer survivor, vulnerable, emotion-filled rally speech, I note the diversity of the team and had the realization that none of these men are native Chicagoans. They are not part of the divide. Rizzo acknowledges all who contributed – a real team and pays special homage to David Russo, oldest player soon to retire. I admire the diversity and inclusion.
Chicago’s most famous and loveable Cub fun, Bill Murray, gave his extra ticket to a random fan, a female. The diversity, vulnerability and inclusion is admirable all around.
The commitment to the South Side/North Side intolerance and divide resonates all around me as we currently argue gender, political and societal issues. Hard to believe, these divides are even deeper. I deliberately chose the word argue and not debate. In a debate an effort is made to understand the opposing side, to listen to persuade, to come to a new, more informed conclusion.
With the Cubs win, I do not deny my South Side heritage when I focus on the inspiration and not the divide. I am enriched by the ability to embrace a new perspective and be vulnerable to what could be.
I hope to take this 108 year-old lesson into dialogues around gender, societal and political issues. Join me. Something wonderful is on the other side.