What do you get when you mix together 15 – 17 homegrown Iowa boys, the Chicago Cubs and a healthy dose of sports superstition?
The NUTCUPS — The National Urban Traveling Cubs United Posse, comprised of longtime friends from all walks of life. This band of non-blood brothers makes an annual pilgrimage to the Windy City each April to cheer on their beloved Cubs on opening day.
“We haven’t missed it for 16 years. Some of the guys have left Iowa and moved on, but they always show up,” states Randy Farlow, actual brother to the group’s El Presidente Rick (Panama) Farlow.
When they hit Chicago, they meet up at Jake’s Pub, a mere baseball throw away from the stadium.
“It’s our tradition,” adds Farlow as he adjusts his baseball cap. They pass the time with good-natured ribbing, a hearty sampling of the establishment’s wares and catch up on each other’s new jobs, new kids and new wives.
“We like Jake’s Pub, and they like us,” comments Farlow. “It’s pretty welcoming when we walk in and are greeted with our own banner.”
Just like their athlete idols, certain rituals must be followed before these dedicated fans walk out Jake’s door and into Wrigley Field. Each member of the posse (1) downs a shot of Schiltz; (2) rubs the doe-eyed deer head mounted on the wall; and (3) belts out “Ring of Fire” with the corner jukebox.
Whether a winning season or not, the NUTCUPS don’t alter their rituals.
“No, we always do the same things,” states Farlow when asked about the losses in spite of their superstitious customs. “OK, we might play a different Johnny Cash song, but that’s the only straying we do.”
Farlow proudly hangs his banner on a prominent garage wall near other Cub-themed memorabilia. He looks at the banner every day. Sure, he’d like it if the Cubs would win the series sooner than later. He’s quite aware that it’s been more than a century since the last title and 68 years since runner-up status. It doesn’t change how he feels about his Cubs. With all the swagger and confidence of Johnny Cash, he says with a smile, “I think 2014 will be their year. I think they just might bring it home.”
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