Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My First Cubs Game!

With the Cubs winning the National League Division this week, thoughts of my grandfather are floating in my head.  I still remember my first Cubs game as if it were yesterday.  Here are some highlights taken from My Hero, My Ding.

The Cubs

Like many big cities, Chicago has two major league baseball teams. Typically those who live on the north side favor the Cubs and those from the south side like the Sox. If we went strictly by location, we would have been Sox fans, but seeing as Grandpa and I were rarely found to be typical in any way, we were both ardent Cub fans. Not surprisingly, it was Grandpa who took me to my first Cub’s game at Wrigley Field.

That year one of my favorite players was first baseman Bill Buckner, so when Grandpa got us (Grandma, my mom, and sister) seats along the first baseline I was thrilled! Watching the Cubs warm-up, standing for the National Anthem, cheering at the starting line-up all added to the excitement. Add to these highly impressive events the hawking of great culinary delicacies of hot dogs and peanuts by the vendors and you couldn’t have set up a more perfect afternoon.

The excitement mounted when Dave Kingman was up to bat just as we found ourselves in need of a run to put the Cubs ahead. If any Cub could hit a homerun at this time, it was Dave Kingman, and he surely didn’t disappoint his fans. CRACK! My eyes tried to follow the line drive as we all jumped up from our seats watching the ball glide perfectly over the left field wall. The clamor of cheering fans was in my ears as Kingman rounded the bases. Not until home plate was reached did people begin taking their seats again. It was then that I saw stars and they were not from the reverie of the day’s thrilling events thus far. I sat down hard just as one would when expecting a chair to be there to catch you. Just then … another CRACK! This time it was not the sound of a baseball connecting with a bat but of my head to the bottom of the seat. (What I didn’t know, but quickly learned, was that the seats at Wrigley Field popped up into the “closed” position when vacated.) My tailbone made a direct connection to the concrete below and my head hit the bottom of the chair with on-spot precision.

The startled man seated directly behind me quickly jumped up to see if I needed assistance. Right at that moment I felt more embarrassed than anything else. Grandpa and the rest of the family thanked the man for his offer of help as I sheepishly sat back in my seat for the remainder of the game. The results: My head had a small bump for awhile and my tailbone hurt for months. I still have lower back problems which probably started with this dingy move over 30 years ago. But the most important part. … CUBS WON! Through all my embarrassment and pain, would I trade this experience for anything in the world? Never!

© 2010 My Hero, My Ding

(Stay tuned for Part Two)

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