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Rooting for the losers

October 22, 2005|KEN SOLARZ | KEN SOLARZ is working on pilots for NBC and ESPN. His credits include "Crime Story," "Miami Vice" and "Falcone."

THE CHICAGO White Sox are playing in the World Series. Chicago. White. Sox.

For those of us with the geographical misfortune of having been born south of Division Street in Chicago, it still hasn't sunk in yet. The three biggest events of my life? 1) Meeting my wife. 2) Having my kids. 3) Watching the Sox finish off the Angels in person.

When Casey Kotchman grounded out to Paulie Konerko for that last out, I leaped out of my seat -- a seat I bought on EBay at 4 in the morning on game day. Euphoric, I waded through a sea of red toward the visitor's dugout. You don't often meet Sox fans beyond the narrow margin of south Chicago and northwest Indiana. But that night we owned the town -- at least a small portion of Anaheim. The celebration was on with 1,000 of my new best friends.

Displaced Chicago Southsiders high-fived, hugged and generally looked dazed. Everyone had a story. "I was 5 years old the last time they did this." "I don't know how to act!" "Dad, I hope you're looking down on this, 'cause it's unbelievable!" When the Sox players came out to celebrate with their fans, they sprayed us with champagne. I'll never mousse again.

All season long I was insane when my boys lost, ecstatic when they won. I couldn't eat or sleep on off-days. I sold a pilot, had a movie open this summer.... So what! I was more concerned about how the hell could we blow a 15 1/2 game lead. I said prayers to Billy Pierce and Sherm Lollar. Commiserated on White Sox blogs.

My L.A. friends were no help at all. So nonchalant, so used to winning. They couldn't relate to a team that was more famous for throwing postseason games than winning them. When I dragged myself to Chavez Ravine with my kids (they're Dodger fans, yuck), my entire focus was the right-field scoreboard and what the Sox were doing. The worst was listening to smug Yankee fans whine and kvetch during my Monday night poker game. If I even mentioned the Sox, it was like I threw up on the felt.

After the Sox clinched the pennant, I got a call from another Chicagoan who lives out here -- a Northsider and a Cubs fan, the city's "lovable losers" (the Sox were just losers). This guy wanted to make common cause. "I hope the Sox win it," he said. "After all, they're a Chicago team." "There are no 'Chicago fans,' " I howled. "You're either Cubs or Sox. So take your rah-rah civic spirit and lose every game for the rest of the millennium!" Mature, huh?

But if you're not a fair-weather Cubs fan, come on along for the ride. Everyone loved how Boston finally broke the curse last year, so this year just make it Sox of a different color. What's the Curse of the Bambino compared with an 88-year legacy of losing?

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