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Cognitive Dissonance & the 50 Year Cub Fan With a Soundtrack by Katie Day

9 Jun

Cognitive dissonance: the state of psychological discomfort that comes from recognizing a gaping divide between what is real and what you believe. Or something like that….

So… that is not the official definition but this version – my version – certainly puts how I’ve been feeling lately in perspective…..

Sure, in my “glass is always over-flowing” world, I have fairly regular brushes with reality mismatches but nothing major and rarely anything I would classify as dissonance. This is bigger and its roots began growing about 50 years ago.

I grew up in the Calumet Region in Northwest Indiana, firmly nestled between the south side of Chicago and Gary, Indiana. At the time, the area represented the best of American manufacturing – steel mills, auto plants, and household product producers – all fueled by the big Unions and powered by the big “political machines” that both supported and benefitted from them.

Pretty sure I was five when my big brother and I walked into a O’Connor and Goldberg Shoes store to wait in line to meet one of the most influential characters in the area. When it was my turn, I watched in awe as a smiling, gentle man took out his 8 x 10 glossy photo and a pen and wrote “To Ruth, My #1 fan! Ernie Banks”.  At that moment, a Cub fan was born.

This is the photo that my big brother got that day along with some really cool pieces of Ernie Banks history. That score card takes me right back!

This is the photo that my big brother got that day along with some really cool pieces of Ernie Banks history. That score card takes me right back! Our dad taught us how to “pay attention” by keeping score!

Fifty years and so much life between, I can’t think of a moment that shaped me more than this one. Yes, I married the person who completes me and I gave birth to an amazing and pretty awe-inspiring young man but those events did not fundamentally change my world view and how I define hope and persistence as much as  the moment I first thought of myself as a devout Cub fan.

Here’s the thing. There is no coming back from that first declaration – being a Cub fan leads you down a path and there is no easy escape route. And the moment a self-declared Cubs fan steps foot in Wrigley Field, it is all over – the legendary ivy so firmly growing up the wall in front of the bleachers seems to get a hold on your heart somehow.

Every year I sing the “there’s always next year” chorus and, even in years when the date the Cubs are “mathematically eliminated from the playoffs” comes entirely too early, I have hope up until the very last moment.

For some reason this year feels different.

Maybe it’s because it marks 50 years of “believing”.

Or maybe it’s because the Cubs didn’t have a spectacular or a horrific start this year – mediocre baseball just doesn’t feel right. Where’s the passion of the roller coaster ride?

Or maybe it’s free agency. My husband firmly believes that free agency is at the core of all things impure about baseball.


Or maybe it’s the tensions in Wrigleyville, the holy land and where every young Cub fan dreams of living, over changes to Wrigley Field.

Or maybe it’s really because the perfect anthem, By the Lakeside – the song that summed up exactly how I and so many others just like me,  have felt every year for the past 50 years (written, recorded, and performed by my oh so talented niece, Katie Day) was dissed by whatever genius organized the Cubs’ victory song writing contest. What the hell people?

As I sat down to write this piece I decided I was done. There is something wrong –systemically – and short of raising the dead, nothing can bring it all back for me.

Fifty years was enough and it is time to move on.

I sat down to write out the lyrics to Katie Day’s song just so you could all feel my pain. Here’s how it starts….

“It’s been long a time comin’  Feelin’ like a hundred years of rain all summer. But something’s in the air now, I can feel it, so baby you can dry your tears away…away.”

Hang on…. Is there something in the air?

“Maybe I’ve lost my mind just thinkin’ we could wear the crown. But I think it’s worth the fight so don’t you give up on me now.”

She makes sense. Really? Give up now after all this time?

Enter the haunting chorus:

“ ‘Cause when the gods decide, it’s about damn time, we’re gonna pop champagne… by the lakeside. When the evening comes and the stars align… we’re gonna pop champagne… gonna pop champagne… by the lakeside”

Can I really see that? Imagine the champagne and fireworks? Yes, I can.

“Talkin’ bout the hard times, tears cried, that don’t even mean a thing. It’s on and up now. And I know how the heartbreak frustrates but all of that was yesterday. It’s gone away.”

Yes, 50 years of hope starting to build from the bottom of my soul – I can feel it.

“Maybe I’ve lost my mind just thinkin’ we could tear it down. But I think it’s worth the fight so don’t you give up on me now.”

Ahhhh…sinking in to that old familiar feeling and then this…again, sending me over the edge:

“ ‘Cause when the gods decide, it’s about damn time… gonna pop champagne… by the lakeside. When the evening comes and the stars align… we’re gonna pop champagne… gonna pop champagne… by the lakeside.”

Cue the images of me with a transistor radio plastered to my head while Jack Brickhouse sings Hey, Hey Holy Mackerel No Doubt About It so loud you could even hear him on the Southside in Comisky Park. And Harry Cary every seventh inning stretch singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. And the field fills with some of the greatest players in the history of baseball – my childhood heroes – and I am back in the game, heart filled with hope, expectation, and wonder.

One more year? There is something in the air and yes, I can feel it.

For the record, whatever soulless creature decided that By the Lakeside was not worth voting on doesn’t get what it means to be hopeful and steadfast and truly loyal and is, without question, NOT a Cub fan.

Check it out for yourself. I dare you not to be inspire to believe!

Off to visualize the headlines “Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!”

For those of you who want to download this song free (thanks to the artist) and play it on repeat from now until October, check out this link: … at least until her album comes out!

Chicago Cubs 2015 World Series victory song.

Written by: Katie Day
Produced by: Katie Day and Scott McDowell @fadersolo
Mixed by: Scott McDowell @fadersolo
Mastered by: Jonathan Kirchner
Drums and Bass: Peter Labberton
All other instruments and vocals: Katie Day

All rights owned by Katie Day Music 2015

Twisted Mix Tape: Live Favorites With a Little Help From My Family

25 Mar

Music activates our brains in very unique ways. Experiencing live music takes that to whole new level. I was very excited to see this week’s Twisted Mix Tape topic – “Songs that you always loved, but they blew you away when you heard them live” – so excited that I just couldn’t keep it all for myself!

My Skewed View

In my opinion, the only thing better than seeing live music is being there with people who share that passion for the experience. So… this week I am turning to a few of my favorite “experience sharers” who just happen to be members of my family. Combined we have hundreds of Grateful Dead shows and music festivals, and more live music experiences than most can even imagine. I hope I do their stories and experiences justice!

Today’s first choice is my nephew’s and is from his first (of now many) music festival experiences. Imagine this — after 12 hours of waiting, parked front row center at a Bonaroo stage with his sister and a container of double stuff Oreos, a 16 year old boy ignites a passion for live music as the Trey Anastacio Band hit the stage with this masterpiece. Sometimes you just can’t beat the first set of goose bumps and the first thrill of that big moment!

The next selection is from my son. He stretched the rules a bit – he is my son after all, right? He picked a song he knew, performed by a band that he went to see pretty much on a whim, and ended up loving that band. His friend mentioned that this band was playing at a hole in the wall bar within walking distance — so they went. “How they played this song – one that I really liked — made me a huge fan of the band.” Yes, this is my bluegrass, jam band loving son who picked this all-out rocker…. Got to love those drums!

The pick from my big brother and sister-in law really made me smile because I was there, sitting next to them this past year, with my chin on the ground in complete amazement. This version of this song, and everything else that Curtis Salgado and John Wedemeyer played in that 45 minutes in a make shift blues venue at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, transported us all to a better place. So grateful that someone captured the moment…. No doubt that The Wind Cried Mary is one of my live favorites as well.

My husband’s pick is, no big surprise, one I would have included if I had done the whole list myself! Not that long ago we went to one of our favorite venues – the Belly Up in Solona Beach, CA– to watch 3 guys, all over 70, sit on stools and play some music. We sat with wide-eyed wonder as they took an old favorite, Good Sheppard, to a place I never imagined it going. Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Barry Mitterhoff are a magical combination sent from who knows where to delight us all. This version is almost as good as the one they played just for us – almost….

My pick is recent too. I love, love, love Ruthie Foster’s almost gospel feeling soulful voice and I love, love, love Maya Angelou’s empowering poetry. So when, about 7 years ago, I heard a studio version of Ruthie Foster singing Phenomenal Woman, I was so pulled in. This past year at the Sin City Soul and Blues Revival, I saw Ruthie Foster in person for the first time. I can safely say that every inch of my body was filled with goose bumps and every hair was standing at full attention as I heard her oh so soulful version of this song…live and in person. I could not find that exact version anywhere but this is a pretty close approximation – not quite as much a full out sensory experience as we saw in Las Vegas but still pretty darned awe inspiring.

We all have lots of music left to experience and share. So, your bonus today is a piece that was, at the time, a bit of a premonition of things to come. Actually this was my son’s first pick for the list — if we had been able to edit the 12 minute video.  Sample the beginning for a few seconds then you can pick up new wave String Cheese via EOTO Jam into Rolling in My Sweet Baby’s Arms at 3 minutes 30 seconds or so, and then bring in the revolutionary sound that puts how we see music on another plane at about 6 minutes. The perfect marriage of electronica and bluegrass for those with a few minutes to experience something that is truly awe inspiring.

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