A couple of years ago, it was Cubs-White Sox night at Awana. Since I’m the one who buys clothes for everyone in this house, the kids didn’t have a stitch of sports-related clothing in their closets.
I called my husband from a last-minute clothing search at Wal-Mart a couple of hours before it was time to go: “Honey, are we for the Cubs or the White Sox?”
“The Cardinals,” he replied.
You see, my husband and I are both born and raised in southern Illinois. Down there, if you talk about baseball, you are either for the Cardinals or the Cubs. If you choose the Cubs, everyone hates you, but at least you do have that as a choice.
So, I have been a Cardinals fan as long as I can remember. Well, that’s a Cardinals fan in my own little, “I don’t care about baseball and could you please turn the radio station to some music” type of way.
Even though St. Louis proper is just past the border of Illinois, I think people in southern Illinois feel more like they can relate to that city than what’s happening in big ol’ Chi-ca-go, a million miles away. To us, even though St. Louis was a two-hour drive, it was one of the closest shopping malls to my home. My whole family would pile in the station wagon and drive over there for an entire day of shopping and dinner out at The Spaghetti Factory.
This might not make sense to some of my suburban readers who think that when I’m talking about southern Illinois I mean Joliet or DeKalb or Rock Island. Those are very much in the northern part of the state. And, I regret to inform you that even Peoria, Champaign and Bloomington still don’t make it past the halfway point of our long state. I am actually talking about places and events that happen in SOUTHERN Illinois.
It’s there. Trust me.
Anyway… Back to baseball.
My husband has always been a huge Cardinals fan, but up here, you kind of have to practice your allegiance in private since you are so surrounded by St. Louis haters. There just aren’t a lot of people who want to come over to watch a Cardinals game on TV. And I do believe he has been boo-ed a time or two for wearing his redbird hat out in public.
But during the last couple of years, we have become good friends with a family from St. Louis. They have three boys who are great friends with our boys. So, our two families have developed a bond around our love for the Cardinals.
When it became apparent the Cardinals were on their way to the World Series, I couldn’t look away any longer. I decided to join in on the fun. I had to stop thinking about my iPhone and necklaces and Photoshop tricks for a while and focus my brain on sports.
I have to tell you there have been some DRAMATIC changes in my lifestyle during the last few weeks. For example:
- Last week, my husband was not home, and for the first time in my life, I willingly turned on the TV to watch a sporting event.
- On another day, I missed the game. The first thing I did the next morning was check the score. (I can’t believe I just said, “I checked the score.”) hee hee hee.
- I have learned to recognize the players. I can now match up their names to their faces and the positions they play on the field.
- I even know some facts about the players and have been known to spout them off while we’re watching a game.
- But the most amazing feat yet came during Game 6. My husband got discourage after the 5th inning and went to bed. I stayed up until midnight, watching that unbelievable 11-inning game! I even posted about it on Facebook like real sports fans do! (You have to know how much sleep I require on a nightly basis to fully grasp the magnitude of this last statement.)
However, there has been one thing I have not been able to bring myself to do to support My Cardinals. I simply can’t wear red.
I’m sorry, redbirds.
I don’t look good in red. When I wear red, people always ask me if I’m feeling OK. Before I diagnosed myself with a red-wearing disorder, I was known to have to go home in the middle of the day and change clothes because I wasn’t feeling “quite right.”
I don’t even like to stand in a red room or next to a red wall. With my pale, splotchy skin, I look like a corpse with chicken pox.
I’m not able to get all dressed up in my Cardinals gear today to support the World Series Champs. I’ll have to do that in a cute, comfy sweater in a neutral tone and possibly a coordinating scarf. But believe me, people, I’m Cardinals through and through. I’m wearing red on the inside.