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A mother, her son, and her grandson

My grandmother is a White Sox fan. Her son is a Cubs fan. Here’s how I picked the South Siders

Little Dante doesn’t even know what’s coming.
Dante Jones

Over the 26 1⁄2 years I’ve been on this planet, baseball has always been a part of my life. The two biggest reasons for that are the two people who took me to the first games that I remember: My father took me to a Cubs-Cardinals game in 2002, and my grandmother took me to a White Sox-Red Sox game in 2005.

You see, my dad grew up on the West Side, meaning he got a choice of the two Chicago teams, and he went with the Cubs. My grandmother also grew up on the West Side, but she did not get into baseball until she moved to the South Side, which is why she picked the White Sox.

A camera-shy Dante with his father in the early-to-mid 2000s.
Dante Jones

I’ve told the story a few times, but 2003 was when I made my choice to ride with the South Siders. I was seven, and the Steve Bartman incident was the deciding factor. I was rewarded with a World Series in 2005. My dad got his in 2016.

Now, I don’t remember as much as I would like from 2005, but I remember my grandmother made sure that I had a 2005 World Series Champions shirt that is either somewhere hidden in my house, or somewhere in a landfill (thanks, Mom). I do remember everything about 2016, because I watched every game with my dad. And while he was nowhere near as emotional as other fans, I’m sure, he still shed a tear or two and hugged me.

Sadly, my grandmother does not remember any of that. In 2014, she was diagnosed with dementia. She is able to remember faces and names for the most part, but a lot of the sports memories are gone now. Due to this condition, she has random fits of yelling where it’ll take us as little as five minutes and as much as hours to calm her down completely. Many nights have been spent calming her down at 2 a.m. Then 3 a.m. Then again and again.

My grandmother, from around 2016.
Dante Jones

But one day, while writing an article for this site, I decided to turn a game on to see if she would enjoy it. It turns out that her love of baseball, especially the White Sox, has not faded at all. It is much more difficult for her to keep up with players, so we decided that we would focus on teams instead of players. She’ll even watch a Cubs game now — if the White Sox are off at the moment.

The way that she reacted to games help make last year feel so much less torturous. Those smiles and laughs when someone is running the bases hard or hits a home run lifted my spirits, and helped remind me that this is a game.