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Love Letters From Pronk: Chicago White Sox

Love Letters From Pronk is an ongoing series where Pronk shares his love for somebody connected to the Cubs. Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, Pronk likes to make 100% sure people know that they are loved, and best expresses that through gushing letters. Today's pick: The Chicago White Sox

I am going to be rooting for the Chicago White Sox for the rest of 2021.

Yes, that is correct. After being a Cubs fan since 1998, I will be rooting for the crosstown rivals. I am not becoming a die-hard Sox fan to leave the Cubs, but rather a fair-weather Chicago Fan for the rest of the year. I'm not like Sara Sanchez, who is a pretend Cubs fan. I have a good reason.

My in-laws have been huge baseball fans for a long time. My mother in law grew up watching Ron Santo and has been a die-hard Cubs fan. My father-in-law grew up on the South Side. He was a fan in 1959 when they won the pennant, and his favorite player was Minnie Minoso. For years they battled their allegiances back and forth. my MIL would never root for the Sox, but my FIL would root for the Cubs to do well (especially in 2016). Their battles were the stuff of inside jokes and family stories. We would give each other a hard time, but would always put our differences aside.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law, Russ, was diagnosed with lung cancer back in March, at the age of 76. He was slowing down, and we were afraid something was wrong. It wound up being the worst-case scenario. Russ underwent chemotherapy and was relatively stable for a good length of time since his diagnosis. Over Labor Day weekend, he took a sharp turn for the worse, and then passed away on September 10th. It was a very tough loss that will shape our family for a long time.

Russ was always one to help others. He was a handyman who enjoyed fixing plumbing, doors, you name it. If I so much as hinted at having a problem around the house, he would be over within 24 hours (unasked) to help fix the issue. I would roll my eyes at this from time to time, but it was always a welcome presence. We were very close. His diagnosis really hit hard, but I'm thankful to have gotten some extra time with him in over the last few months.

In his last moments, Russ was surrounded by family. We turned on his favorite White Sox to enjoy one last game together. Even though he was unconscious, it was a peaceful moment of closeness. We got to enjoy his team for a change, as we shared all the quirky stories he gave us over the years. Russ got to enjoy one final White Sox win that night before he went to a better place. He's out of his pain now and gets to root on his Sox from above.

While it goes against my Cubs fan instincts, I will be watching and pulling for the Sox this October. I hope they go all the way. They are a fun and young team, and I hope that they get to enjoy some similar memories to what I got to see in 2016. Family love goes deeper than sports teams, and I am fine with expanding my baseball horizon. While I won't have Russ by my side, I'll enjoy his spirit taking in some games this October.

Go Sox.


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