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They’ve waited patiently and faithfully for a long time. A really long time. Some die-hard Cubs fans who are residents of Friendship Village are anticipating the remainder of the World Series with great excitement. “This is going to be the year. From the beginning of the season, that’s what I’ve believed,” said 90-year old Betty McIntyre.
With a combined age of 360 years, Betty, Mary Kiefer and Fran and Tom Sheffer have been Cubs fans, seemingly for their lifetimes.
Betty said that as a youngster, she lived in Ohio and was a Reds fan. “I always followed the National League. When I moved to the north side of Chicago after college I naturally started rooting for the Cubs. At first, I wouldn’t root for them when they played the Reds, but later that changed and then I always just cheered for the Cubs,” she said.
The best gift Betty ever received was when she retired in 1994 from Moody Bible Institute. Everyone pitched in and bought her two season tickets to the Cubs games. It was the year of the baseball strike and the Cubs played horribly, but Betty said that she still loved every minute.
Mary became a baseball fan through her father, who would take her to games at Wrigley Field when she was little.
Mary said that she ultimately transformed her husband into a Cubs fan after he retired and the couple moved to Arizona. “We got to see them in spring training so many times in Mesa. He really enjoyed it,” she said.
Fran and Tom have lived across the United States, connecting emotionally to the team closest to where they were living at the time “When we moved to Chicago several years ago, we became Cubs fans. It’s been really exciting,” Fran said.
While everyone has favorite players through history, they’re all enamored by the current Cubs line-up. “There have been a lot of players through the years who have been special. I’ve watched Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg,” Betty said. “But this team is so exciting.”
“The camaraderie and chemistry are amazing. They’re there for each other,” said Mary.
The Cubs enthusiasts said that fans are a large part of what makes the team special. “Once a Cubs fan, always a Cubs fan,” said Betty.
“Their fans are their fans through thick or thin. That’s really special,” said Fran.
“We used to go to games in Atlanta and there’d be only a couple of thousand people in the stands,” said Tom. “Here, Wrigley Field is packed no matter what.”
There’s likely to be a great deal of hootin’ and hollering in the residents’ apartments at Friendship Village, perhaps late into the evening, as the World Series continues. “I do a lot of yelling. I’m rowdy. By the ninth inning, I’m standing up and yelling,” said Betty.
"I start pacing my apartment,” said Mary. “I get so nervous. I stay up till the end of the game, no matter what time it ends. I wouldn’t be able to sleep.”
Betty said that she has a Cubs T-shirt that declares she’ll be a fan, even if “it takes forever.” She’s confident that the series’ outcome will render the shirt to be obsolete. “This has definitely been worth the wait,” she said.