Anyone who knows me knows that I am a a huge, crazy, fanatical, giddy, die-hard follower and fan of the lovable losers, otherwise knows as the Chicago Cubs. Some of the best memories of my life are of attending games with my family. My dad fell in love with the Cubs as a 9-year-old living in central Illinois (where many of his neighbors - and some family were Cardinals fans) as he listened to them on the radio in the 1945 World Series. As a result the next three generations in our family are Cubs fans. Dad is 80. He's waited his whole life for this and he is over-the-moon excited as are my siblings and I. A friend recently posted on Facebook asking people for their favorite Cubs memories. I tried to think of one. And there was no way I could pick one favorite. It was hard to even narrow it down to a few as so many memories came flooding through. So, for anyone that cares, these are some of my favorite memories as my favorite team makes history today. It will be the first time since 1945 that the World Series will be played at the Friendly Confines.
1) The tradition for the past several years of going to a game with my dad during opening week - even though we freeze our tails off every year.
2) Going to a game in '84 with my dad and twin sisters and sitting in the bleachers - all day games then, no lights yet.
3) Snagging a foul ball during batting practice earlier this year and giving it to dad who said, "I'm going to tell people this is my Kris Bryant home run ball."
4) Sitting next to Dorothy in the front row on her 87th birthday. She's a super fun superfan!
5) Going to the playoffs in '07 and '08 (even though they lost)
5) Being at the game on my birthday where Kerry Wood made his first appearance back after a long time on the DL and even though we lost it was a cool game to be at because Tom Glavine got his 500th win that night.
6) Being there on season ticket holder day - no team there, but we got to go on the field, in dugout, clubhouse, press box and my son got to do practice batting in the batting tunnel.
7) The Cubs convention last year with my son - when we were first introduced to Joe Maddon.
8) Writing a poem about the cubs when I was 12 that was read on WGN radio.
9) Meeting Jody Davis at Nick's Sports Page back in the mid-80s.
10) The year my son won the celebrity bat kid contest from Walgreen's and got to sit in the dugout with the team and watch batting practice, was introduced on the field before the game, met Ron Santo and chatted with Ted Lilly, who showed him how to throw a curve ball. GO CUBS!!! I believe!
11) When you could easily get autographs because the players used to have to walk out of the locker room and then across the main concourse to get out of the park. They'd let fans line up for autographs. It was fun, you'd look up and one of the players would be walking next to you. Once I was walking out and looked over and Carlos Zambrano was next to me holding his little girl. Also, you could wait next to the player's parking lot to get autographs and watch them get in their cars and drive off. My son gots so many autographs that way.
12) Not a Cubbies memory, but a Wrigley Field memory - I saw Paul McCartney there and it was the best concert I've ever been to. He was like 69 at the time and played for over 3 hours.
13) Going to the Cubs Caravan appearances in January for several years and getting a chance to meet players and prospects.
14) Our family adopted several soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years. One was a young lady from Aurora who was in Afghanistan and we wrote letters/sent packages to her and her unit and learned she was a Cubs fan. When she returned from deployment, me and my son (about 8 at the time) took her and her son (about age 5) to their first Cubs game and we met for the first time. It was really touching to get to meet her in person. The next season, we did a double daddy-daughter date. She and I brought our dad's there for a game. It was her dad's first Cubs game.
15) Meeting legendary Cubs pitcher Milt Pappas twice - and taking a selfie with him. :)