Growing up a Cubs fan, besides believing with all of my heart that each season would finally be the year, I firmly believed that the ultimate place to see the Cubbies play would be in Wrigley Field in Chicago. Anyone who has ever been to this ball park can appreciate the history, the ivy and the nostalgia of one of the oldest stadiums in the league.
For me I thought being surrounded by Cubs fans would be the greatest way to see my team play. But as I look back now after more trips to Wrigley in the past dozen or so years than I can count, I realize that going to a place where everyone is the "same" isn't nearly as fun as watching the Cubs play on the road. When Chicago takes the field at an opposing stadium I like to be a fan in the minority, unless you count Colorado where Cubs fans tend to outnumber the home team.
In Chicago, while there are plenty of die-hard fans, you also get the people who are just looking for something to do, a social hangout, tourists or whatever other reason brought them to the ballpark on that day. But on the road when you see a Cubs fan you know he's a true fan that is there to watch the game. I've seen my lovable losers play in stadiums from San Francisco to Miami and I could argue that it's better this way.
Even though technically I'm outnumbered, the fans at these road games are passionate like me.
I see houseboating in a similar way. When you look at the boating industry as a whole, there are a lot of different segments within and houseboats are far from being the dominant boat in terms of total numbers. Those tin fishing boats that can be practically purchased while you're in line getting groceries can be found on every lake in America on any given day. Bass boats, pontoons and other trailerable boats dominate our lakes and at times you would think they're part of a standard issued craft that you get when you've collected ten punches on a punch pass from your favorite coffee joint.
But houseboats, these aren't nearly as common. Yes, you'll find populated areas such as Lake Cumberland in Kentucky and Lake Powell in Utah that have a great collection of houseboats, but it still doesn't mean that everyone has one.
Houseboating is an unofficial club or membership that few will ever get to truly enjoy. Houseboat rental vacations are like a guest pass at the country club where for a week you can sample a taste of the lifestyle that is unique to houseboating. From the couple who just purchased a show boat at our National Houseboat Expo last month to the family who has been enjoying their vintage fixer-upper for years, the common bond is the houseboat and that's what makes us different.
I love Wrigley Field and I'll never stop going (or believing that this is our year), but I'll never pass up an opportunity to see the Cubs play on the road where I can bond with other fans that are just like me. As for houseboating, it's time to embrace the lifestyle and appreciate what it means to be a houseboater.