“Do they still play the blues in Chicago
When baseball season rolls around
When the snow melts away
Do the Cubbies still play
In their ivy covered burial ground
When I was a boy they were my pride and joy
But now they only bring fatigue
To the home of the brave
The land of the free
And the doormat of the national league”
~Steve Goodman “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request”
As another major league baseball season winds down, the Chicago Cubs, those perennial losers, compete for last place in the National League. For Cubs’ fans, it’s familiar territory. As a matter of fact, pick any hot summer day in Chicago, and Wrigley field still boasts both high attendance and perpetual hope. Even as the Cubs commit countless errors, fumble the ball, walk three batters in a row, and get caught stealing second base, the fans cheer them on as if they were actually going to win.
In the end, “We’ll get ‘em next year,” the favorite refrain of die hard Cubs fans everywhere, can be heard in the whispers, chants, and shouts of the forlorn faithful as they exit the friendly confines; always believing, never receiving . . . but still, eternally optimistic that next year WILL be the year the Billy Goat curse is finally exorcized from Wrigley.
It’s tough to always be on the losing side of the scoreboard. Especially when just across town, adding nsult to injury, the Chicago White Sox are having another winning season.
If you’re a Cubs fan, you’ve got to really believe in the power of positive thinking. Because if you stop believing, even for an instant, that the Cubs will win the World Series in your lifetime, you will sink into the depths of despair; doomed for life as you watch others always take the pennant.
The game of baseball is a lot like life. We don’t all come to the plate with the same abilities. We don’t always walk away with a win. But all of us want the same thing; a chance to step up to the plate and play ball just like anybody else. We believe in fair play. We maintain optimism. And, even against all odds, we have faith that everyone will get a turn at bat.
What makes it so hard to be LGBTQ in this country is that in many cases, you’re not even allowed to suit up; you’re intentionally kept out of the game.
And this year’s Republican platform makes it perfectly clear that if you are gay, you’re not allowed to play. Even the Log Cabin Republicans, intent on having serious dialogue about inclusion, are being banished back to the minors. They’re not even being invited to play in the same ballpark, let alone the same league.
It’s true that in some states, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and the District of Columbia, if you’re LGBTQ, you can get to first base. Those states permit same sex marriage. However, until DOMA is overturned, even in those states, you are not eligible for the same rights and protections as the other team.
But, there is no sense in engaging in self pity. The Cubs will not win the pennant this year because their loyal fan base is crying in their beer. And, equality will not happen just because we want it to. That’s because life has thrown a curve ball, and we must fight for equal rights as if our very lives depended upon it. Unlike a losing baseball team, our lives actually DO depend upon winning at this game.
Because, every time an LGBTQ person is discriminated against in employment or housing, denied the fundamental right to marry, victimized, demonized, abused, or beaten, their livelihood and their lives are threatened. Without equal protection under the law, we all, those perceived to be LGBTQ, LGBTQ individuals, and their friends, family, and allies, are also threatened. And, that is not only very unsportsmanlike behavior from the other team; it also undermines the very values this country espouses: that everyone receives equal treatment regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or sexual identity.
So, whether the Cubs go down in infamy as the last place team this year or the Soxas the first, every player in this country . . . that means every PERSON in this country deserves the right to suit up, step up to the plate, take that swing, and round the bases to home. Every single citizen of our great nation deserves the same rights as any other. And from there, each individual can either score the runs or strike out. But, we should ALL get to play the same game . . . that is what is called “FAIR BALL!”
. . And I’m just a mom who loves her son . . .
*Previously published in www.thequ.co