Yikes(!) and Bikes(!)

I totally get that baseball is a game of inches.  A couple of inches left or to the right, and a foul ball potentially becomes a 3-run shot.  This is part of baseball’s charm.  As charming as this is, if you fly across the country and spend money on a hotel and tickets, it’s always helpful to see your team win.  Especially if you go four times you figure the baseball gods have to smile down upon you at least once, right?

It didn’t seem that way.  It seemed the more we sojourned to Wrigley, the more victory eluded us. As we approached game four with no win in sight, I was losing hope.  Of course I loved being at Wrigley, but still…was I asking too much to see one teensy-weensy win?

After watching the third defeat, my normally cheery attitude (that’s right, Mad Dog, I’m all about the cheer) had taken a turn.  Let’s just say this World Series Champion was downright crabby, just ask our cabbie (I keep spontaneously rhyming as of late, should get that checked out, and truthfully, we used an Uber, but what the heck rhymes with that?!).  Once we were back at our hotel, my mood continued its downward spiral.

Mad Dog knew we needed to change course. He insisted we all get dressed up and take advantage of the city. We would try a new restaurant and then go for a carriage ride.  All he had to do was get me out the door and all would be well. He was right.  We ended up having an awesome night.

After a great dinner, I was so looking forward to our carriage ride.  It’s one of my favorite  things to do when we are in Chicago.  The city is gorgeous lit up at night and it’s fun to see it from this vantage point. That’s the whole idea, getting to see things out of the ordinary.  This particular carriage ride did not disappoint to put it mildly.

When we rounded the corner as our ride was winding down, it was apparent something was amiss.  Immediately our guide starts to frantically shout, “Look to the right!  Look to the right! Keep looking that way, don’t look the other way!”

She was clearly panicked for some reason.  Was it an accident?  Was a crime of some sort taking place?  I was starting to get very nervous.

No, it was neither of these.  It was a naked bike ride.  Yes, you read that right,…naked!

There were hundreds and hundreds of naked people riding gleefully down Lake Shore Drive.  Full Speed went white with shock and T.Puzzle couldn’t stop laughing.  I simply marveled at how one actually rides a bike sans underpants. Painfully so I would imagine.  Mad Dog?  Well, he did the only thing he could do, he pulled out his phone and starting snapping pictures.  Sadly or gladly(?), there’s that rhyming thing again(!), I won’t be sharing those pictures here.  In fact, I never want to see those pictures again for the rest of my life.

We hurriedly paid our guide and made our way back to our hotel.  By then, much to our relief, most of the birthday-suit bikers had passed through.

However, the memory will forever linger in a can’t-ever-unsee-that-kind-of-way.

I blame the Cubs. (They did thankfully win the fourth and final game we attended🙌🏻)

The next baseball trip we take they better win every game we attend.

The only shock and awe I expect from this point on is that the Cubs play deep into October and that everyone in the glorious city of Chicago keeps their pants on….

I think that’s reasonable, don’t you?

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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So Long, Farewell!

As we were finishing up some giant breakfast cinnamon rolls at a newly opened breakfast eatery, T.Puzzle shared a thought.  It was baseball related because part of the charm of this eatery is they ask you random, unique questions to help label your order.  Our particular question was, ‘what are you looking forward to in the New Year?’ and Mad Dog had replied, “Another Cubs’ World Series win.”

Nice.

Anyway, T.Puzzle knows that baseball season is coming.  He understands that I have been patiently biding my time until I can yet again, watch the Cubs play every day of my life (off days and rare excpections excluded).

Again, nice.

“I do like baseball, Mom, but sometimes I wish that there were nights that I could watch one of my shows instead of watching the Cubs.”

“T.Puzzle, that is so great of you to share, but unfortunately, you are going to have to move.  I will even help you pack your bags,” I reply.

“Do we really have to watch every game all the time?” he laments.

“Seriously, I hear you, but where exactly do you want me to forward your mail?”

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2016 Year in Review

Mad Dog and I were seated 15 yards back from the end zone.  Our panoramic view of the field added to the excitement.  T.Puzzle was at QB calling the shots and Full Speed was zipping up and down the field at a breakneck pace.

Sounds amazing, right?

It kind of was and it kind of wasn’t.  There are many perks to having the boys on the same flag football team such as shared practices and games.  There are also many pitfalls.  Let’s just say there are days when egos collide and managing the talent is way above my pay grade.

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Even though their flag season was a mixed bag of victories and defeats, I am grateful that I get to watch these boys from the sidelines.  Besides, I’m feeling generous because I am a World Series Champion!  Yes, it was a long road and a lot of hard work, but I hung in there. Don’t worry, I haven’t let success go to my head.

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Celebrating the Game 5 victory with the masses.  Still can’t believe we were there.

In the spirit of full disclosure, success actually has gone to my head a little bit.  As it happens Mad Dog and I are predominantly featured in a recent World Series recap. It premiered on FS1 and is available for DVD purchase.  Well, we are flashed on the screen for a millisecond or two, but it still counts.  Here’s proof the Cubs couldn’t have won without me.

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This is us gearing up for the historic Game 3 showdown.

Now that I’ve sufficiently addressed my newfound celebrity status, here’s a breakdown of the rest of my team:

Let’s start with T.Puzzle.  This is the child that continues to confound me.  He is overly opinionated and strong-willed yet gets glowing reviews from teachers and coaches. Often, after another flip comment has escaped his adorable face I’ll say something like, “wow, raising you is the challenge of a lifetime.”  His instant response is, “because I’m so awesome, right?”  Something like that.  He’s something alright.

T.Puzzle continues to loathe school, adore video games and aggravate his brother.  He’s entering the double digits age-wise.  I have a feeling I may need to start another blog dedicated to coping with T.Puzzle’s impending milestone decade.  The truth is, he is completely true to himself and even though he challenges me a lot, I know he is always going to land on his feet.

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Full Speed is transforming before our eyes and becoming a kind and thoughtful young man.  Thankfully, he still has a great sense of fun and is loving his Extended Studies this year with its focus on improv.  He loves school, reading, reading and oh, did I mention reading? He is a walking encyclopedia of sports facts and stats.  This was really helpful for me, especially as I got farther into my World Series winning season.  Chicago thanks you, Full Speed!

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Then, there’s Mad Dog.  He continues to excel at work.  There I reasons I love this and reasons I don’t love this.  I love this because I can tell that he is feeling challenged and inspired by all his new and varied responsibilities.  He’s also an incredible leader.  I am very proud of him and like that he remains humble and grounded.  I don’t love this because he is often working long hours and has to travel.  I’m not a huge fan of sharing Mad Dog with the world, but I get it.  He’s awesome and the world needs him.  So, I let him go with love.

As for me, it really all boils down to this.  I realized that I am my truest, most genuine self when I am in the company of these three incredible men and they all accept me exactly as I am.  My goal for the coming year is to be the self that is loved by them when I am out in the world.  It is easy in concept but hard in execution.  I’m not sure if the world is ready for an empath like me.  All I know is that if I have these guys in my corner, then what the world thinks of me is less important.  In fact, for any of you reading this, I encourage you to be your truest self in all circumstances.  The only approval you actually need is your own.

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Wishing you a Blesssed Holiday Season, a Bright and Merry New Year and above all else Love.

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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