John Kass is one of the Chicago Tribune’s treasures (his only flaw, to my knowledge, is that he’s a White Sox fan). Most of his columns explore Illinois’ political culture in a unique way that mixes laugh-out-loud sarcasm with a true hatred of Illinois’ ubiquitous political corruption. Sometimes, though, he takes a break from the good fight, as when he recently gave advice for parents on how to keep your kids loyal to the team that you raised them to root for:
Just dress the kids in your team’s gear, hat and jersey and so on, and take them to the other ballpark when the game is on during the Cubs-Sox series. Sox fans, take your kids to Wrigley. Cubs fans, take your kids to Sox Park.
It works best when the kids are about 6 or 7 years old, young enough to trust their parents and be completely impressionable. And you don’t even need a ticket to the game.
Just stand outside, holding your child’s hand, until a crowd of boisterous drunken fans from the other team approaches, fans shouting “Sox [stink]!” or “Cubs [stink]!”
Now here’s the tricky part. Just let go of your child’s hand and run away.
That’s right. Run. Leave them there, alone in the teeming crowd, with the screaming, angry, drunken fans cursing the Cubs or the Sox. Yes, the kid may be terrified. But it works.
After a few minutes, return and hug your child. With some kids, you must repeat the process for several games. But once indoctrinated, they’ll remain loyal.
“You did that to us,” said one of my sons, with Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone calling the glorious 4-1 Sox gem pitched by John Danks over the Cubs on Wednesday.
“I’ll never forget it,” said the other boy. “There was a big fat Cubs fan, he was drooling all over his shirt, saying Sox [stink], Sox [stink]! He was drunk and he smelled!”
“That traumatized us,” said his brother. “The drool flopping down, the beer breath, more drool. Thanks, Dad, you’re the best.”