I knew it the moment it actually happened. And from then on, when watching a game I get that feeling of excitement and nervousness in my stomach, that up until that point, I had only gotten while watching Blackhawks hockey.
I had begun to call myself a converted fan for a while, since my husband and I met, and I saw what real fandom looked like in him. I never really cared about Chicago baseball, and called myself a "Cubs fan" though I didn't really develop any connection to the team.
A few summers ago, as a birthday present for my husband, I planned a trip to St. Louis where we would not only get to attend several games in the 4 day trip, but also tour the field, the dugout, and even the announcers box.
Seeing my husband standing in the dugout, in his old retired Edmonds jersey, looking up at the scoreboard at Busch Stadium, with pristine green grass and blue sky surrounding him, was a moment I'll never forget.
I became emotional, thinking back to the stories he had told me about his dad, who he had lost about 10 years prior, at the time. About the evenings he would drive around in the car with AM radio static, looking for just the right place to park to hear the game. The hours he spent with his memorabilia collection, sorting and discussing the different cards and signatures. And when he was starting to get sick, how his dad would ask my husband to print out the lineup for him so that he could go over the stats before the game. How if only he were here now, they would sit and talk about the games, and the players, and who's been hurt, and who's really holding his own this season, and how awful the Cubs are.
Seeing my husband, taking it all in, while I daydreamed about the amazing man, his father, that I would never get to meet, knowing that I would adore him, since I've heard so much how alike they were, I became a fan. At that moment I understood that it was more than just a sport to him, more than just a team, it was his connection to his dad.