My Informant was very excited to tell this story too, as he used to be from Chicago, and is a big Cubs fan. As he was telling it, he was both very serious, and also laughing at himself, but it was clear that the story meant a lot to him:
Informant, low important tones with spurts of laughter: The curse of the billy goat relates to the Chicago Cubs, one of the two baseball teams in the city. They haven’t won a World Series since 1908 and haven’t even appeared in one since 1945. During that 1945 series the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, a local burger place (famous for being the basis of the SNL “cheezeborger” sketch in the 70s [laughter]), tried to enter Wrigley Field with his pet goat. The goat had a ticket but was still denied entry so the owner said that the Cubs would never win another world series. And they haven’t! [More laughter and pretend sadness].
Informant’s excitement over stories about the origins of his town and his favorite sports team from his home town, indicate what it really important to him, and perhaps to other Chicagoans. He was not as excited about a ghost story more typically associated with the roads around his town and neighborhood than the stories about Chicago itself. To be a Chicagoan, or to be a Cubs fan, is clearly a larger identity than simply to be someone who lives in a city, or a specific suburb.
The CheezeBorger Sketch in question can be found here and the Billy Goat Tavern’s website has their own version of the story of the curse here.
The Billy Goat Tavern. “The Billy Goat Curse: Let the Goat In!.” http://www.billygoattavern.com/legend/curse/ (accessed April 30, 2014).