Monday, July 2, 2012
Alright Cubs Fans, Let Me Hear Ya!
In years past we often went to a Cubs game the week of my birthday which just happened to coincide with the week of a good friend/family member's birthday whose lovely wife would spend hours at the computer the day tickets went on sale to procure seats for our celebration. I was never that dedicated in the ticket department, but always grateful she was. In more recent years it's been harder to coordinate so it's been awhile since I celebrated my birthday with a trip to the friendly confines.
Until this year.
Neighbors of ours share season tickets with a group of folks and often attend the games with their two young boys. They are wonderfully generous people who had already been to the game once this week and decided to go up to a family lakehouse instead for the day. Oh, what to do with the box seats behind home plate with no time to put them on Craig's List? We gladly solved their dilemma. But it almost didn't happen.
When they first offered them to us Dan thought she said "Rush" tickets. So he hesitated. For quite awhile. He assumed she was talking about the Chicago Rush, the indoor football arena team whose quarterback used to live down the street from us. I thought that was odd because I didn't think it was Arena Football season.
Our daughter Caitlin thought she meant the band Rush and was very excited. They are among her top three favorite bands. I am not making this up. Today's Tom Sawyer's mean, mean pride...
Turns out they were both wrong and almost passed on four prime seats for a Marquee game on a sunny and warm Saturday afternoon.
Our neighbor didn't know who either Rush was. Hilarious.
We've been blessed to attend Cubs games at least a couple of times a year through the generosity of friends and family as well as Dan's work's tickets. Ryan has been more avid a fan than the girls, those Caitlin's interest increases with games won. Which is to say, it's been waning this year. However she decided she really wanted to go and so she packed her journal (in case she got bored) and we made arrangements for Maggie to "do something fun while we went to a baseball game" and headed down.
We made it to the Irving Park exit in 40 minutes. It took another 50 to go the four miles to the ball park. Good thing we left early and those wonderful neighbors had free parking in the green lot one block from the park! We missed the National Anthem and the first pitch, but saw most of the first inning and stayed through the ninth with a bonus 7th inning stretch rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game compliments of former "Red Baron" pitcher Rick Sutcliffe.
We limited our ball park food intake to hot dogs, peanuts and a couple of pops (I brought a bunch of waters with) despite Ryan's fervent attempts to sample the full menu of mobile goodies passing by.
We were playing the worst team in the league. But that didn't offer a lot in the way of a promised victory since we are the second worst team in the league. All Ryan wanted was to see a home run, I should clarify - by the Cubs - and a win so that he could sing the ridiculous song at the end of the game that has to be the worst combination of melody and lyrics in the National League...yet insanely catchy. It had been a long time since he or I had seen either a run or a win at Wrigley Field. I prayed that if it was God's will we'd see both, knowing full well those kinds of prayers are stupid. I also sent up several prayers of thanksgiving for being there on a beautiful day and knew a loss would be just one more opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ. Sort of.
Though faith in things unseen is probably better understood at Sheffield & Addison than a lot of other places on the map.
The Cubs recently called up a kid from the farm team called Rizzo whose been getting a lot of buzz for his performance in the minor league Iowa Cubs. Dan said, "Wouldn't it be cool if this kid socked one out of the park?" about a minute before the kid socked one out of the park to take the lead 3-2. Witnessed home run. Check.
That ended up being the final score. And so we also witnessed the win AND got to sing the silly song. "Go Cubs go, go Cubs go, hey Chicago, whaddya say, the Cubs are gonna win today...." We sang it loudly and passionately while waving our big white "W" sign up to the camera pointed directly at Ryan but no one recorded the game so who knows if they showed him or not. Other than Ryan, who is quite sure they did, for the record.
Afterwards we met my nephew who recently moved to Chicago for some snacks at a kid friendly establishment right under the "L" tracks. We all got a kick out of being in that environment - part of the whole experience. And killing time in Wrigleyville is always a good idea when you have to drive back to the suburbs. We made it home in less than half the time it took to get out there.
So after a long reprieve the Cubs won a game while I was at the ball park.
It's been a pretty great birthday week.