A chidush: When Ernie Banks (look him up if you don't know him) would be told "Hey Ernie! It's a beautiful day for a ball game!" He would respond "Let's play two!" For many years, I have used that when teaching about the Yotzer Or/Ma'ariv Aravim prayers - which praise God for creating our universe. After all, what higher praise for creation is there than by appreciating a beautiful day by doing something we love outside - like playing two games of baseball. I was fortunate enough to share my version with Ernie when we were stranded together in the Omaha airport in the winter of 1986-7. His response to me was "Yeah! You get it."
My friend, congregant and fellow ex-pat Chicagoan, Marcy Shinbaum, sent me a link to a wonderful article about the season on Facebook: An Ode from a Cubs Fan by Julie Haddon. It is extraordinary and is what nearly everyone of us is feeling today, following the Cubbies being swept by the Mets (read enemy).
Below is my response on Facebook and manifesto. I may use it to teach Modim Anachnu Lach - the prayer of Thanksgiving.
Thanks Marcy Shinbaum for sharing. You get it. The author gets it. I still feel it was a privilege and bucket list level highlight that I was able to sit in the front row of the upper deck in right field for game 3 Tuesday night. When we got killed. Again. I will treasure the Post Season Cubs hat I bought and the W cloth they gave me when I came in Gate D. The money was well spent. I can still taste the celery salt on the Polish that I washed down with an Old Style.
As I walked up the ramp to my first ever night game at Wrigley (even I have to admit the lights are a good thing), my throat tightened and my eyes watered. I was back in the bleachers with Arnie Krause. I was in the boxes with Grampa Leo and Uncle Stan. (Turns out my cousin Rusty was only three sections away with his son, but we didn't know it!). I was in the Omaha airport in 1986 talking with Ernie Banks while we were both waiting for a plane that was late coming in from Minneapolis to take us home to Chicago.
Yeah, we're cursed. Maybe. But we had an amazing year. By July we are used to looking at the Bears' prospects. Tomorrow I will take a look and see what the roster looks like, since I have not let my sports-vision wander past the corner of Clark and Addison.
Thank you Theo. Thank you Joe. And thank all of you on the 25 and 40 man rosters and all of the trainers, coaches, spouses, ticket sellers and takers and especially all of the vendors. Thank you Gary Pressy for all the music and Wayne Messmer for the Star Spangled Banner Tuesday night. (Strange how few people sang along. I felt like I was singing a duet with you!) Thank you Audrey for pushing me to go to the game. And thank you Rachel for the airport lifts and the ride to the El.
We are used to hanging our heads when we say our end of the season mantra. I look at our team and the contracts and the year we just finished - with the THIRD best record in baseball.
My head is high and I am happy when I say "Wait till next year."
It's going to be awesome!