Thank You, Chicago Cubs…We Need You SO Much!

This year’s MLB playoff season was the best that I can remember. As the first games began, I wasn’t necessarily rooting for any specific teams, although I had a soft spot for two of them. One was the Cleveland Indians, in part because of Andrew Miller (since the Yankees traded him and Ardolis Chapman, I was hoping for a World Series Ring for one of them), and as an 80’s teen, in part because of the movie Major League.

The other team I was hoping would do well was the Chicago Cubs for a number of reasons. One was pitcher Jon Lester. If you know his story, you know how he survived Lymphoma only to come back less than two years later and pitch Game 7 of the 2007 World Series, which he won for the Red Sox. That alone is just amazing, and a true story of victory amid a terrible hand dealt by life. However, Jon Lester earned my utmost respect in 2014 when he appeared in Nike’s “Resp2ct” saying farewell to Derek Jeter. Lester, in his Red Sox uniform, was seen ready to pitch to Jeter, and Lester was the first one to tip his hat, which led to many other greats also tipping their hat in a show of respect and thanks to the Yankee Captain. Lester didn’t let his uniform or fandom define his loyalties.

Of course, the 108-year drought and the stories accompanying the Cubs history made each and every victory more amazing. The Indians, in their own right, were hoping to erase their own 68-year drought.

Unfortunately, my bedtime was not conducive to watching the games in their entirety, but I did my best to watch what I could before my eyelids went on strike.

If you are interested in reading a recap of the 2016 MLB Playoff Season, there are plenty of other sites to help you do that. These are some of my simple observations and reactions to the 2016 World Series, things that I will remember, and things that gave (and still give me) hope.

Seeing the individual stories of each team, each player, and fans from both sides hoping for a victory were a lesson in loyalty and in perseverance. From a man who drove to his father’s grave to listen to game 7, to the stories of fellow humans well into their golden years, each snippet of a glimpse into the lives of these people when combined is the true definition of loyalty. The anthems performed by John Vincent and the Cleveland Orchestra, alongside “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sung by Bill Murray, Vince Vaughan, and Eddie Vedder unified us and brought us all together, regardless of stadium or team.

108 years versus 68 years is historic in its own right, but seeing individual feats of history during the series, especially in Game 7, was equally momentous. Corey Kluber’s amazing pitching in games 1 and 4 was a force to be reckoned with. Kluber broke a record in Game 1 with 8 strikeouts in the first 3 innings. Dexter Fowler hitting the first lead-off home run in Game 7 history…David Ross becoming the oldest MLB player to ever hit a home-run in the world series, and accomplishing this in his final MLB game ever…Game 7 with a tie, and a rain delay, and a 10-inning hit by Ben Zobrist, ultimately clinching it for the Cubs…the crowds outside of Wrigley waiting for that final out, then erupting with sheer joy as did the players…the class of the Indians fans and players who realized that even though victory wasn’t theirs this year, that they were witnessing history and demonstrating true sportsmanship…the raising of the W…I could go on, and on…

And after the Cubs victory, the tributes on the wall of Wrigley to those who couldn’t witness this historic moment?

How about the one that read, “We Did Not Suck.”? That one got me, especially considering my last blog post titled “Because You Are Good.”

The parade, the images of school late sign-ins with the reasons being CUBS or INDIANS, the skits on SNL…

All in all, the Chicago Cubs, along with the Cleveland Indians, have brought joy and good to the American public now, a diversion when we need it the most, during this awful time of animosity, judgment, and hatred caused by the election.

Thank you for bringing us that joy. Thank you.

Congratulations David Ross! Linked to the Chicago Tribune.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to SEA: Don’t Miss THIS Opportunity

20160314 Blog Photo New Fonts

One of my favorite television shows is “Cheers.”  The classic story lines, superb acting, hysterical moments, and witty one-liners keep me coming back for more 24 years after its original run on NBC ended. (Sidebar-How has it been 24 years since the finale?!?! It seems like yesterday!)

“Cheers” used to be a staple on TV Land, back before their original programming overtook the classics.  For several years, I could not find reruns of the classic series on any channel.  I bought a few episodes from iTunes, so I was able to rewatch those, but I missed seeing all of the episodes and couldn’t afford to purchase the DVD box set.

Thankfully, both The Hallmark Channel and MeTV started airing “Cheers” again last autumn. My DVR records each and every episode so I can enjoy the show whenever it is most convenient for me.  With my busy schedule, I rarely have the time to actually watch an episode, and more often have an episode playing just for background noise.

However, there are some episodes that are so good they make me stop what I am doing and watch it for the “nth” time.

One such episode is the series finale, “One for the Road.” I watched it last month, and the idea for this post has been brewing since then.  I struggled until now to find the right words that conveyed the magnitude of a seemingly innocent statement made by one of the series regulars as they all said goodbye to each other and to their audience.

“One for the Road” is one of the best series finale episodes ever made, with so much happening on both literal and symbolic levels. For instance, I love that Sam goes over and adjusts the Geronimo picture as a tribute to Nicholas Colasanto (who played Coach), and that Sam exits the last scene by walking into the pool room (which is how he entered the series in Episode 1, walking in from the pool room).

There is one quote by Dr. Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammar) that really hits me in the gut every single time I hear it:

“Time goes by so fast. People move in and out of your life. You must never miss an opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.”

He then goes on to tell his friends that he, he, he…. he trails off, and what is left unsaid is that he loves them all.

Frasier’s simple statement got me thinking.

How many times have I had the opportunity to tell the important people in my life how much they mean to me?

A zillion.

How many times have I actually done it?

Probably never.

Here’s a haunting example.

I was in a very cranky mood the very last time I spoke to my father before he passed away in December of 2014. I let the effects of a terrible day poison my being and my soul.  When I was asked to drop something off at my parents’ house, I was not in the best of spirits.  He saw that I was disheartened and irritated.  He hugged me and said that he hoped tomorrow would be a better day for me.  I left in a huff, choosing to go home where I could mope and sulk instead of spending a little more time with him and my mother.

Two days later, Dad passed away in his sleep from a massive stroke.

Instead of appreciating the chance to spend time with him two days earlier, I allowed the poison from my bad day to infect me, preventing me from savoring a moment that, in retrospect, I should have cherished.

I never got a chance to tell him, one last time, that I appreciated him, simply because I let things that were out of my control overwhelm me.

That was, and still is, a hard lesson to swallow. I know I cannot go back to change that moment, but if I could, oh how I would…

Hearing Frasier’s words last month reminded me of the painful lessons I learned from that fateful day in December 2014, but Dad would be proud that I learned from my mistakes:

  • I will no longer allow the day’s poison to infect me.  I will leave the poison at its source, and do everything possible to rise up positively against its negativity.  I will find the good in each day, no matter how hard I might have to look.
  • I will treat everyone with kindness and compassion, no matter what negative influence(s) might be present.
  • I will cherish each moment spent with loved ones, friends, colleagues, and students, and be present during those moments.
  • I will let people special to me know how much they mean to me. For example, I might write a note or a card to thank someone for their presence in my life.  Perhaps I’ll send a picture with some words of gratitude or share a memory that I hold dear.   My goal is to reach out to at least 3 people per week through handwritten means (versus text, email, social media, or any other form of technological connection).
  • Finally, I will do my best to not complain about things that are out of my control.  Instead, I will take each moment as it comes and deal with the situation the best I can without letting it overpower me.

Frasier Crane’s words of wisdom are as poignant and true today as they were in 1992.

Don’t miss an opportunity to tell the people who mean the world to you how much they mean to you before it is too late…because you might never have that opportunity again.

Don’t wait another minute to change your life for the better by heeding these important lessons.

The time is now.

Start today.