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The Ultimate Doubleheader: The Ultimate Dilemma

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06/12/2009

The Ultimate Doubleheader: The Ultimate Dilemma photo1   The Ultimate Doubleheader: The Ultimate Dilemma photo2

It’s been over a year since I first saw on the Cubs’ schedule that they would be playing the Minnesota Twins June 12th-14th, 2009.  I immediately put the dates on my crackberry, and started calling around to see who was interested in getting tickets to the games.  How exciting, my two favorite baseball teams playing each other!   Awesome, right? WRONG.  No sooner had I purchased my tickets, when I began to stress. Do I root for the Twins, the team I grew up with, or the Cubs, the team I have grown to love since moving to Chicago two years ago?  Do I cheer for Joe Mauer, Minnesota’s hometown hottie, or Alfonso Soriano, as I sit (hopefully) in his left-field bleacher section?  Most importantly, do I wear my authentic 1987 World Series Twins shirt, or do I wear my cuter, newer, mass-produced, way more generic Cubs shirt?

Before I moved to Chicago, many people asked if I would abandon my Twins and become a Cubs fan. “Oh hell no,” was my reply.  But after experiencing Wrigley on a hot summer day, the bleachers, the die-hard fans, and of course, the Old Style beer, my response is now, “I’m a Cubs fan— unless they are playing the Twins,” which luckily for me, rarely happens.  Until now.  Now I am faced with this horrible decision of who to cheer for come Sunday.  Am I a traitor if I root for the Cubbies?  Am I not fully embracing my new home if I root for the Twins?  Is there a way for me to cheer for both of my teams?  If only I were more domestic and had the skills to create my own jersey by cutting up a Twins shirt (NOT my World Series shirt) and a Cubs shirt and sewing them together.  As you can imagine, I’ve lost many hours of sleep over this dilemma.

To me, the Twins symbolize home, my grandpa Mel— the biggest Twins fan ever, many great memories, and my borderline obsession with stalking and/or marrying Joe Mauer.  But the Cubs represent my new home, new friends, a new stage in my life, and brace yourselves Minnesotans— outdoor baseball!  Also, I’m proud to mention that I do not have any unhealthy stalking fantasies about any Cubs players.  I’m not sure if this ambivalence to become a fan of a team other than the team I grew up with is normal, or if my hesitation to abandon the Twins indicates a secret longing to move back to Minnesota, but either way, it leaves me feeling torn between my old life in Minnesota, and my new life in Chicago.

The Ultimate Doubleheader: The Ultimate Dilemma photo3

So here I sit, just days before the game, and I still don’t know what to do.  I will always, always love my Minnesota Twins, but is there anything better than being able to sing, “Hey Chicago what do ya say the Cubs are gonna win today!”  Yeah, I don’t think so. 

It looks like I’ll be making up my mind about who to cheer for as I get dressed for the game on Sunday morning.  And, if you see me in the bleachers in my Twins shirt, don’t pour your Old Style on my head, because I just may be wearing a Cubs shirt underneath.

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A bookish confession

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06/12/2009

I admit it. I’m a snob. A literary snob, that is.

Growing up, books were everywhere. What little extra room was available in my parents’ apartment was occupied by floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with tomes as varied as The Secret Garden and an obscure pre-revolutionary edition of Little Women to the complete works of Lev Tolstoy and Shakespeare. The shelves at my grandparents’ place were similarly crowded.

Some kids might balk at books as birthday presents, but I relished them and was never short for requests. For my seventh, my grandparents gave me an “Adventure Library”, a set of historical adventure novels. The collection is one of my prized possessions, and I made sure that it made the trek from Moscow to the United States when we moved in 1996.

As a child I’d consume books, constantly looking for new titles. One memorable experience had me reading Nabokov’s Lolita at the tender age of 12. Guess how much I understood of that one? Having re-read it as a college student, I realized that I had skipped important parts of the book simply because I did not find the philosophical musings of the pedophilic Humbert Humbert interesting. But to an adult’s mind – while still disturbing – the parts I skipped are the heart of the book.

Despite entirely missing the point of a book because it was not age appropriate, I have not been prevented from continuously attempting to gobble up at least three books at a time. That has been true most of the time – with the exception of my time in graduate school when every spare moment was devoted to digesting academic jargon.

My fascination with literature of all kinds has so far proven a double-edged sword. I often judge people by whether they have read a certain book or not. There are Russian novels that I consider hallmarks of the culture and having read them indelibly marks a person as a member of the intellectual elite. See, that’s where the snobbishness comes in.

Admittedly, I haven’t read all 100 books on Modern Library’s “100 Best Novels” list or Time Magazine’s “100 Greatest Novels of All Time” collection. But at about three-quarters of the way through, I figure I’m pretty close.

P.S. If you need recommendations, I’ve been on a memoir kick, reading about Jews in Arab lands: André Aciman’s Out of Egypt and Lucette Lagnado’s The Man in the White Sharksin Suit: My Family’s Exodus from Old Cairo to the New World. Both are intensely personal stories of growing up Jewish in Egypt and moving to the United States. There’s something fascinating about reading of another person’s journey to America.

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