The (long) curse of the Billy Goat

The prompt was to write about someone infamous for something insignificant. I wrote from the perspective of Steve Bartman’s son. (Steve was the man who interrupted a Cub’s game and lost them the playoffs)

This guy

It doesn’t happen every day now that I moved out of my hometown, but every once in a while (never longer than 3 weeks), someone will spring the dreaded question on me like bear mace at a pro-Trump rally.

“Hey are you that guy who stole the fly ball from the Cubs player way back when?”

I usually attempt to pacify them with a pre-bottled response of “oh that’s my dad actually, but we try to stray a-foul of the issue” because not only is it something that I can rattle off quickly, but it’s a test to see how sharp my assailant is. Now that I’m deep into my 40s, the familial comparison is too close to deny anymore and I’m forced to escape from any dickhead in a Cubs hat. On top of everything, I can’t live in my hometown of Chicago because my dad wanted to bring me a foul ball from the game.

I often fantasize about moving to India.

It’s one of the most populous countries on the Earth with plenty of people with whom I can get lost in the shuffle, even if I am of the Caucasian persuasion. And even if someone did corner me into conversation, it would never be for the misdeeds of my father. That country loves Cricket more than Americans love sodium-flavored corn products. A fact, I hope is not lost on their former colonizers who brought the sport over.

Once I’m in India I can get back to what I love doing: playing online tournaments of Super Smash Brothers Mele. This game is what my name should be known for if we’re talking about impact. I’ve defeated over 10,000 people so far and have spent more hours playing the game than the number of hours people live on Earth before qualifying for a driver’s license. Nintendo brought me in when designing the new game for the Switch and I actually helped beta-test the copy before it hit the shelves. My 968 (and growing) Twitter followers ate that shit up and I briefly considered doing a special live-stream where they could challenge me. Ultimately that couldn’t be done, or I’d run the risk of losing a match to some scrub in Iowa or Tokyo.

I never play for free these days under my own name. The modicum of celebrity and respect I’ve garnered in this 90’s children’s game on the Game Cube can’t be put on the line for something has foolish as pride.

But outside of the audience I’ve built (up to 970 already) I’m only known as the guy who looked like he cursed a baseball team. I’ve had every fight about how he didn’t make them lose the next few games or cause them to suck for decades before that play, but it’s never useful. People are very tribal when it comes to their sports teams, so I’m consigned to shitty jokes and quick pace. Why couldn’t I be recognized for playing my game? Or even because I managed to marry into generational wealth and my Husband is a South African hand-model for a diamond corporation? I just want people to see Me for Me.

Fuck the Cubs.

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