That’s Cub

In every woman’s life there are defining moments.  There are milestones such as college graduation, falling in love, having children, etc.  Once children are a part of the picture, suddenly their milestones become our treasured markers of the passage of time.  For instance, the first time Full Speed reached earnestly to play with a toy hung from the arm of his baby carrier, I was overjoyed.  I was convinced by this simple act that I had given birth to a certified genius.  We were at the mall and the air was heavy with the scent of salty pretzels and my overblown perceptions of my ‘super baby’.  Still, it was an awesome moment and to this day whenever something great befalls my kiddos, it’s like it is happening to me as well.

That’s why when my boys lined up against the backstop at Wrigley Field before the start of the game, I was giddy with anticipation.  Mad Dog had arranged for them to be part of the nine lucky kids that got to run on the field and meet a player.  We had no idea which player it would be.  We hoped for the best and made peace with the worst (you know who you are).  I was seated alone and peered anxiously at them to see where they would run.  Once given the signal, they were to sprint to the position that would coincide with the player they would meet.

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Mad Dog stands center watch over the lucky 9.  Full Speed is at the right end, T.Puzzle third from right in red hat.

I almost couldn’t take it.  Who would they get?!?  Who!?!

Finally, they were off and running.  It seemed obvious Full Speed was headed towards the outfield.  But then, oh my god, T.Puzzle ran to FIRST BASE!  He was going to meet ANTHONY RIZZO!  I repeat….ANTHONY RIZZO!

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Is it obvious he’s my favorite player?  Hmmm, what gave it away?

I jumped for joy and screamed so loud the fans in my section thought I had lost my mind.  I was able to compose myself enough to articulate that both my kids were out on the field and one was meeting ANTHONY RIZZO.  This made sense to them, but I could tell they still thought I was mildly insane.

T.Puzzle had a brief exchange with Anthony (yeah, I’m now on a first name basis with him), and got him to autograph a baseball (proudly on display in our front room).  It  took all of two minutes but for me, it is a defining moment that still brings me great joy.

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Harder to see, but Full Speed meeting J-Hey in the lower left hand corner.

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Full Speed jogs off the field after telling J-Hey he’s ‘much bigger in real life’.

Full Speed was sent to right field and had a lengthier exchange with near-giant Jason Heyward (well, giant compared to Full Speed and most of America). J-Hey was so genuine in what he said to Full Speed, he is now Full Speed’s favorite Cubs player. I love that, clearly he is a player that is gracious and I’m so glad he had such a positive impact on Full Speed.

Now, That’s Cub.

 

So Long, Farewell! Part Two

The Super Bowl is over so football is over. This means baseball is almost here!

Woo-hoo!

I was sharing my baseball glee with the boys over dinner.

“Guess what?  Spring training games begin FEBRUARY 25TH!!!  Aren’t you both excited?”

T.Puzzle looked crestfallen at his impending loss of tv viewing control.  Full Speed was more diplomatic.  He graciously updated me on the recent team acquisitions and trades.  He turns to T.Puzzle, “Are you ready to never watch one of your shows until baseball is over?”

T.Puzzle replied (with shoulders slumped defeatedly no less), “How many games are in a season?”

I don’t know why he was being so dramatic, it’s ONLY 162 (not counting post-season, fingers crossed!).

“Guys, remember I said that I will be open to letting you watch an occasional show if it is really important to you.  If we can’t come to a compromise, you are always welcome to go upstairs and watch your show there (there’s a nifty loft space with a tv where they play video games so trust me, they are not being banished to a dark place of doom).”

T.Puzzle says, “But Full Speed will never want to watch a show, he will always want to watch baseball and I know I can’t watch certain shows without him.”  Again, his tone was absolutely pitiful.

I could almost read verbatim the words in Full Speed’s thought bubble that were forming over his head.  Yes, he loves his mom and enjoys baseball up to a certain point, BUT, some days he’s fine to watch something else.  However, he was very scared to voice this last part so as not to hurt my feelings (very sweet).  As I relayed my theory about what he was thinking, his body relaxed visibly in the knowledge he didn’t have to tell his (famous) World Series Champion mother, that he may not want to watch baseball every single day of his life.

“Seriously, Full Speed.  It’s fine.  I understand there are going to be days you won’t want to watch a game with me.  It doesn’t even matter that whoever does watch the game with me will get a bigger inheritance.  There’s no pressure.”

Full Speed’s face cracks into a giant grin.

#PayForYourOwnCollege

#GoCubs

#WSchampion

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Wrigley Rising

Mad Dog and I looked at each other.  The stakes were high.  Do we roll the dice?  Do we go all in?  Do we leave it all on the field?

Yes, yes and yes.

So what if we watched The Professor lose by a painfully tiny margin at game 3?  So what if we might see Cleveland take the Series at Wrigley?  So what if the price tag for tickets made me silently weep?

THE CUBS WERE IN THE WORLD SERIES!

There had already been so many tears.  Tears when we made it to the World Series realizing I couldn’t share that moment with my mom.  Tears when we lost game 3.  Tears, tears and more tears.  You may wonder why I allow myself to be a part of something that makes me cry so much.  It’s in my genes.  I can’t not bleed Cubbie blue any less than I can’t not breathe.  After 42 years of being a Cubs fan, I figured tears were always going to be a part of it.  I knew that ultimately if I was heartbroken again, I would rise up and keep on cheering…and crying for my team.

Mad Dog and I went for it and got the tickets.  We figured we would rather face our fears than live with regret.

Every pitch we watched was like taking a bullet.  I had to keep asking Mad Dog ‘Are you sure about the money?  Will you be able to let it go no matter what?’  He reassured me he was fine but I could see the worry in his eyes.  He was concerned that his extremely sensitive wife would not recover from witnessing a loss of this magnitude at her beloved Wrigley Field.  He was probably right.

Game 5 felt different than game 3.  Maybe it was when Anthony Rizzo changed his walk-up song to the Rocky theme that embers of hope began to ignite.  Maybe it was Kris Bryant’s solo home run that shifted the tides of momentum in our favor.  Maybe it was my lucky socks.  Maybe it was finally damn time that the baseball gods realized the Cubs were due.

By the end of the game I felt faint.  The standing, the cheering, the adrenaline all were taking their toll.  Chapman’s heroic 8 out save to send us back to Cleveland was the most stressful stretch of a baseball game I have ever seen. Game five was epic.  Only to be outdone by game 6 which gave way to the greatest single game 7 in the history of baseball.

When the final out of game seven was called, I think you know where this is going…

Tears, tears and more tears.

Finally tears of joy.

Thanks to the Chicago Cubs, I will now always believe in miracles.

Go Cubs Go!

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All Mine

I love baseball. My Mom loved baseball. So, to play baseball with my boys is pretty awesome. Mad Dog had purchased some whiffle balls, a bat and some cones for bases and we all took turns batting out in our cul-de-sac.

Of course the dream in my head of idylically playing America’s past-time did not quite match up to my reality. It was hard for the boys to take turns (make that impossible!),  T.Puzzle had to be in time-out three times, and then Full Speed was angry because T.Puzzle threw a ball at him.

It still was awesome.

It ain’t perfect but it’s all mine and I love it.