February 14th: Hope Springs

I’ve never gone into Spring Training as a fan of a defending champion before. For my entire life, the start of Spring Training has been the opportunity to look forward to a brighter future, forgetting a rocky season that came to an end. This time around, I haven’t minded the offseason. A season that ends in confetti and trophies is one where you don’t rush quite so fast into the next season. You want to cherish the fun of winning before having to go back to the grind all over again.

Yet, win or lose, the season comes and goes, and before you know it it’s time for baseball all over again. As a Cubs fan and a newly crowned fan of a champion, I’m learning that no matter how much you love winning, you love the game more.

The buzz around Spring Training is just as fresh and exciting as it has ever been. There are positions battles to catch up on and prospects to keep an eye on. There are 29 teams that want to be where we are now, and are all working to take it away from you. Which also leads to the feeling that many have wondered: will Cubs fans still be as committed as they have been in the past, because they’ve been there before?

The answer is that you better believe it. Now that we’ve been there, we know what it feels like to be a champion, know what it’s like to bring an entire city together during a playoff hunt, know what it’s like to host a parade. If anything, Cubs fans just want to get back to that feeling again.

Champion or not, the first day of Spring Training is a celebration. The winter is over, and it’s time to get back to the game. As much as it’s been fun to enjoy the celebration for a few months, now is the time to get back to the beautiful game.

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