about the closest thing that there is to it.”
You want to know the depth of Bonano’s dedication to the Cubs?
“I actually dropped out of school in 2003 because I was following that 2003 season so much,” said Bonano, who was pursuing a political science degree at Northern Illinois. “I fell some credits short because I just missed class after class after class.”
Bonano wasn’t kidding. At least, I don’t think he was kidding.
Elsewhere in the noisy bar, passion teamed up with poignancy.
Juliann Atkinson of Winthrop Harbor wore a button with a picture of her late brother-in-law, Chuck Gesky. Atkinson sat beside Sara Ames, Gesky’s daughter.
Gesky attended 30 consecutive Cubs home openers before his death in 2009. His family has preserved the tradition as a happy remembrance of their loved one.
It’s part expectant-father excitement and part in-memoriam bittersweet. It’s part skipping-school devotion and part since-the-’60s tradition.
“I love the team, I love the neighborhood,” Bonano said before heading to the park. “It’s very welcoming and open to having a party.
“And if you’re going to have a party about anything, why not have a party with the team that you cry and bleed with, year after year?”
After year, after year, after year.
• Northwest Herald sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.