Honored at Wrigley Field: Home of Chicago Cubs

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I nearly fell off the couch when I read the email:

Chevrolet Invites You to a Chicago Cubs Game

To thank you for being a Hero, we would also like to honor your good work by recognizing you on the field…

What? Who, me? Are you serious?!?

I thought the week long use of the Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, the $100 gift card and the trunk full of toys for the kids battling childhood cancer at The University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital was the extent of my reward for being selected a GM Hero. It was more than enough.

But there it was, I had been invited by GM (Chevrolet) to the August 22nd Chicago Cubs game to be recognized on the field – WRIGLEY FIELD!

Okay. Okay. So my friends and family will be the first to tell you that I’m not exactly a sports fan. I mean, I like sports – in high school I was on pom-poms so I attended all the football and basketball games. In college, for my 20th birthday I received courtside tickets to a Chicago Bulls game when Jordan, Pippen and Rodman were the trifecta – but now, these days, I don’t watch many sports and I really have little allegiance to any team.

However, and this is a big however, I have Chicago Cubs blood coursing through my veins, so my non-sports-lovin’ self was on Cloud 9 to learn of such an incredible opportunity.

You see…

My grandpa worked at WGN-TV for forty years before retiring. He was an engineer/camera man, filming live commercials, local children’s shows (like Bozo’s Circus and Garfield Goose) and the Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field. Growing up I’d heard – about a million times! – how as kids my mom, aunts and uncles used to sit in the coveted seats behind the dugout while grandpa was working. I’m not sure that’s a benefit cameramen get these days.

My grandpa retired from WGN many years ago, and it had been 23 years since he’d been back to Wrigley Field.

I was invited to bring a guest, so after thinking about it I decided to bring my husband, Steve (just joking – he is always my first choice). Of course, my mom was the second person I told and immediately she started working on securing tickets for herself. I was thrilled to know she wanted to be there. She ended up getting two tickets – one for her and one for my grandpa!

Upon arriving at Wrigley Field, we met our Chevrolet host, Mark Jenkins, our MSL Chicago host, Dawn McKenzie and Donald Pannier, selected as a Hero for his dedication and service to the Illinois Patriot Guard Fallen Heroes Traveling Memorial Wall in memory of his son.

We were escorted to seats near the field. Shortly thereafter, we were called onto the field to be formally introduced as GM Heroes. From the few games that I’d actually attended, I’d always wondered who those people were, that were being announced and specifically what they’d done to receive such an honor, and there I was.

I was one of “those people.” It was incredible hearing my name booming across the stadium. Proudly, I stood next to Steve. I was beaming; he was beaming; my mom and grandpa were beaming. It was a beautiful, special moment!

Afterward, we went to our seats and were treated with hot dogs, beer and anything else we wanted. The game was fun. We took lots of pictures. I cherished everything about it, especially sitting next to Steve, mom and grandpa. I knew it would probably never happen again.

Unfortunately, the Cubs lost, but who cared?!? Nothing could squash our spirits… Surprisingly, I got into the game and actually yelled out “That’s bullsh*t!” in response to the last play of the night when the empire called us out. Not very Hero-ish; I don’t know what came over me. I guess it’s that Chicago Cubs blood coursing through my veins!

I’ll always be a fan, no matter what.

Being there with my grandpa, sharing this moment with my mom and standing beside my husband on the field was an experience I will never forget.

I’m so glad that my grandpa got a chance to visit his old stomping grounds and be immersed in the wonderful memories of days gone by. I’m so proud that he saw his granddaughter recognized in the very place he’d worked so long ago.

During the game, my mom leaned over to me and whispered, “All those years ago, I never would have imagined MY daughter standing on the field for all to see, being recognized for her good work.”

It made my heart sing!

Thank you GM for the many, many gifts – even the ones you could have never known you were giving me.

Next >"Childhood Vacation Memories"

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