Today I received an Email from the Chicago Cubs telling me about an essay contest they were holding with Swedish Covenant Hospital, one of the zillions of hospitals in the city of Chicago. The instructions were to write a 250-word or less essay about an unforgettable moment that made me a Cubs fan forever.
The Grand Prize winner gets to throw out a ceremonial pitch on “Swedish Covenant Hospital Day,” July 15, 2005 at Wrigley Field; Four tickets to the game; a tour the Press Box; and their winning essay published in the Chicago Tribune.
Here it is. Wish me luck!
Growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the 1970s, my allegiance to baseball teams could easily have gone in any number of directions, but my father made it easy. He told me that I could either be a Cubs fan and get presents from Santa at Christmastime, or be a White Sox or Brewers fan and get coal. I quickly chose the Cubs. I was no fool.
My first trip to glorious Wrigley Field was on a sunny August 22, 1977. The Cubs were playing the Giants. Rick Reuschel was pitching against Jim Barr. I remember this clearly because I distinctly remember a plane flying overhead with a banner attached, saying ÄúGO JIM BARR AND GIANTS,Äù and thinking, even at the ripe young age of 6, how strange it was for someone to be cheering on the Giants at Wrigley Field.
My hero at the time was Bobby Murcer, who was having a miraculous first year with the team. He ended up being the team leader in Home Runs with 27 (which seems like small potatoes when compared to the Sammy Sosa years). My hero Murcer was also the gameÄôs hero that day when he hit a home run and solidified the 3-2 win in the 8th inning.
After that first visit to Wrigley Field, witnessing my first Cubs home run, and my first Cubs win, I never again had to choose my favorite baseball team. I was a Cubs fan from head to toe, and nothing would ever change that.