It was the clear meeting place for any game thereafter, whether I went with Brooke or a handful of other Sox fan friends.
I don't remember who officially declared us to be the Gate Five Gang but it stuck. Brooke, Mark, Jill, Todd, and me. We were super fans. Nay, we were the Best White Sox Fans Ever.
We even made t-shirts to prove it.
Whatevs. We make up our own rules on the Southside.
Brooke, Jill, and Todd have all since married and started their families. It's a little more complicated for us to all be free to attend a game. Especially since I moved out of state. But I dream of a day when we'll all reunite at The Cell and cheer on our team.
With the presence of our collective fandom, the White Sox can't help but win.
The Gate 5 Gang has been on my mind with the start of another season.
Spring Training imbues baseball fans with hope. We are all optimists at the start. We look at the team and the trades, the strengths and the weaknesses. We look at player performance and figure out gaps but it's all hypothesis at this point. No matter what, we think, "this could be the year."
So it is with the White Sox. Paul Konerko is the only vestige from the 2005 World Champion team. I need to spend time familiarizing myself with the new names on the roster. I may not be able to watch many games from here in Nashville but there's nothing like baseball season.
Baseball brings people together. We are united in our victories and losses. We prepare for the worst but hope for the best. We keep coming back year after year after year.
Because this could be The Year, after all.
This is what I love about baseball and life. The sense of possibility. This could be my team's year. It could also be my year. My year of possibility.
I need to do my part. I often know what I need to do. It's my turn to step up to the plate. The rest might be out of my control but I'll never know if I hang back and procrastinate or distract myself with other stuff.
The Gate 5 Gang teases me about my relentless optimism when it comes to the White Sox. I have an unfailing belief in my team. And yet I so often struggle to apply this sunny disposition to my own prospects.
This is my year. This is my chance. I'm taking the first step. I'm taking another leap of faith.
No matter the outcome, it will all work for good.
Why wouldn't it?
Are you excited about baseball season? Are you as optimistic about your prospects as you are for others?