A Night of Nostalgia

Today was Major League Baseball Opening Day.  This day is always a bit nostalgic for me because baseball makes me think of my father. Not only did he take me to games when I was a child, but it was with him that I watched my first Sox game on TV, and after that, watching games with my father became a normal thing.

Me on the floor, him in his chair. I’d always ask him who the crowd was rooting for. He used to think that was cute of me. I didn’t know back then the team wearing white was the home team.

But baseball wasn’t the only thing that brought me nostalgia today. I went to a concert tonight of a band I absolutely adored when I was an early-teen. My walls were covered with this group, and my tape deck wore out their music daily.

Yes, I said tape deck. It was 1989.

I’ve seen this band perform before, but it’s been a while. I haven’t listened to some of their songs in over twenty years, yet the moment the first chords were played, I was back in my childhood room, sitting on my bed next to the radio, belting out every lyric to every song. It’s crazy how your brain doesn’t let you forget words to old, favorite songs no matter how long it’s been since you’ve listened to them.

It was a good time, but as much as I love this band, I hesitated buying a shirt at the show because I wasn’t sure how often I’d wear it. The band isn’t exactly popular anymore and for about two minutes I thought that would deter me from wearing the shirt in public.

I was wrong, and it only took me two minutes to realize it. I’ve never been a trendy person, and most people would say I have taste for shit when it comes to clothes, so I will wear my new shirt proudly and ignore any side way glances that may come my way.

While I was watching this band play, I thought about my thirteen-year-old self and wondered what she’d be doing right now if she were watching her favorite band play in a small theater like the one tonight. She’d be going absolutely nuts. Back in the day, I’d seen this band perform in big venues, 30,000 plus seating.  And tonight, I watched them play in a theater with an 867 seat capacity.

And they didn’t even come close to selling out.

Ah well. Such is life. No one can stay on top forever, but they’re still enjoying their ride. And that’s all that matters.

 

 

 

Sox vs. Cubs

Chicago’s Crosstown Classic begins tonight- Sox vs. Cubs. Cubs vs. Sox. One team with the best record in baseball will play a team quickly fading into oblivion.

The team I’ve been rooting for since I was six years old is the latter, the team nobody talks about. The teams that doesn’t draw tremendous crowds or demand national attention, even when they’re playing good.

The team with a baseball field that isn’t surrounded by trendy bars and restaurants. The ballpark tourists don’t have on their “to-visit” lists.

In my decades of being a Sox fan, the Cubs have always been the more popular team, even when the Sox held a better record. Outperforming the Cubs on the field, or the Scrubs, as some Sox fans referred to them, was more important to us than beating them at the attendance game.

Being better than the team dubbed the “Lovable Losers” at least gave us a respectable comeback against all the ribbing about being the inferior team. “We’re better than you! Na-na-na-na-na.”

Well, we’re not better anymore. The Cubs are phenomenal. They fill their park, and now it’s for reasons that go beyond the spectacular ambiance that is Wrigleyville. This team is legit. They are Loveable Losers no more.

I watch the Cubs play and think of my grandmother, who died in 2009. She was a Cubs fan, but would root for the Sox when the two teams weren’t playing.

My grandmother and I used to watch these games together. Our two beloved teams playing each other, and things sometimes got ugly. I despised the Cubs so much I didn’t only want to beat them, I wanted the Sox to annihilate them.

On games when the Cubs beat my Sox, my grandma gave it to me good. I’ll never forget in 2003 when the Cubs made the playoffs, and I called to congratulate her. My brother was at her house and he answered the phone. When he called for her and told her it was me on the line, she took the receiver, and said flippantly, “Hello. Do you have something to say to me?”

She made extending good wishes to her and her team very difficult. I spat the words through clenched teeth, but I said them.

I rooted hard against the Cubs that year, becoming a huge Marlins and Bartman fan.

But now that the Cubs are showing signs of brilliance and could very well win the World Series this year, I think of my grandma. She would love this young, exciting team.

When the Cubs make the playoffs, do I root for them in memory of my grandma? I know she’s up there somewhere watching these games while smoking a cigarette.

I’ll play it by ear.

Till then.

Go Sox.

 

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My “Is It Summer Yet?” Blog

Queer Town Abbey Invites You

to Get a Jump on the Season

As a kid,  summer was what I waited for, longed for. The anticipation was as exciting as waking up on a Saturday morning, and tossing the covers to the side as I hurried to watch my favorite cartoons (because that was the only time cartoons were on. We didn’t have 175 channels for kids back then).

I counted the days until the last day of school and as soon as it became warm enough to open the windows in class, only my body remained in session because my mind completely checked out.   I’d daydream about all the adventures (trouble) I’d get into and with the help of a great childhood best friend, we did just that.

Everyday we’d go to the Park District pool, get kicked out of the Park District pool, sneak into places we never should have been, and ride our bikes around town while searching for new places to make into our “hideout” that only we knew about. We enjoyed a freedom that most kids don’t get to experience today because we didn’t have cellphones that would allow us to be tracked down by our parents at any given moment. If they needed us, they had to wait until we got home (and I always made it a point to ignore when the streetlights came on because I hated that rule).

Now, my side-kick is gone – married with kids – but I still count down the days for school to be out, but not for me, for my kiddies, because they are the ones I now take with me on my adventures. They are my “side-kicks” now and our “adventures” usually take us to the South Side – to Sox Park – for a Sox game.

But we don’t just “go” to Sox games. We “travel” there. I have a Sox  CD burned with songs that can only be listened to while driving to a Sox game and it is put on at a specific point in our destination because a certain song must be playing the second the stadium comes to view. It’s a beautiful moment.

We also don’t just “attend” a game. We “experience” it. There are food items I am only allowed to eat when I am with my nephew because we tasted it the first time together and it has become our tradition to eat it together. Seriously, on the way to the game he’ll ask me what inning we should eat our favorite food. If I dare attend a game without them (and believe me, this instance is treated like a treacherous scandal) I am questioned later if I ate said food. “No, I did not,” I’d always respond. (Okay, one time I did but I am gluten-free and therefore am VERY limited in my options at the ballpark, so I need some slack).

My favorite summer memories revolve around baseball, but for far more reasons than just the sport of it. It’s sentimental to me. I hold close to me very fond memories of watching games with my father, who passed away 18 years ago. It’s how I became a fan in the first place.

One day a little girl walked into her living room and her father was sitting on the couch with a game on.  She sat beside him and watched the first of what would become many, many games with him. Yet still, I wish there were could have been more.

I know my nephews will hold close these memories and look back fondly at them in years to come. Whenever they see an old lady at a game they point out that that will be me someday and they will be the ones taking me to the games. I laugh because although I am in no hurry to get old and gray, my boys have left me with something to look forward to.

I’ve realized that no matter how bright the sun may be on the most gorgeous of summer days, it always shines a little brighter when you’re sharing it with someone you love.

 

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Queer Town Abbey Invites You

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Is It Summer Yet? Blog Hop
 
Celebrating My Best Summer Memory
 
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