Wednesday, March 11, 2015

By Ellen Bell, Staff Reporter - 

For a sports fan, loyalty is the name of the game. A true fan supports his beloved team through winning streaks and ninth inning losses; always faithful no matter what the box score says. And even though I am truly devoted to the Angels, 

I’ve never forgotten my first love.

Like many transplanted southern Californians, I came from somewhere else. Chicago was my home for the first half of my life. It’s where I grew tough during brutal winters, developed a life-long relationship with pizza, and it’s where I fell in love with baseball. 

As a kid, the Cubs were my guys; the first sports team where I knew the names of players and actually cared about wins and losses. I learned about baseball in the bleachers of Wrigley Field, ditching high school with my buddies just like Ferris Bueller. 

We didn’t expect much success on the field back then. My childhood coincided with a pretty lean period for the Cubbies. But it didn’t really matter. Every year, warm weather meant the smells of roasting hot dogs and Coppertone sun lotion, the crack of the bat and taunts from Bleacher Bums. When the winter was over, it was time to sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine and spend a day with the Cubs.

After college I moved to Orange County, and when it was time to find a local team where I could raise my children with baseball, the Angels were the perfect choice. As my kids grew, so did my love for my new home team. In many ways, the Angels reminded me a lot  of the Cubs back then. They weren’t winning a lot of games and their roster wasn’t full of all-stars, but the Angels won me over with their grit and perseverance. After all, I was used to rooting for the underdog. Twenty years have passed, and I am now a season-seat holding, spring training-attending, die-hard Angels fan. 

So is this really possible? Can you have a passion for more than one team? If your closet contains jerseys from two different cities, does that dilute your heart-felt devotion? 

I say no. The relationships that I’ve built with my two teams are unique and are based on experiences that are part of my life story. Just like old friends, our sports teams remind us of where we’ve been. Anyone who loves baseball knows that being a fan is about more than celebrating when your team wins. It’s about history, childhood memories, unbelievable games, and heartbreaking disappointments. It’s all wrapped up into the experience of loving a team, whether they play a thousand miles away or right in your own backyard. 

So even though I can’t wait for AngelsWin Fan Fest next weekend, and for another season of Halos baseball to begin, I spent last weekend with the Cubs at spring training. 

The new park in Mesa was a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. The sun was out, the Chicago dogs were grilling, and the boys in blue were on the field. 

It was nice to be back home. 
Love to hear what you think!

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