Homelessness is about to pay off....big time!!
Here's the basics: Lincoln Park Community Services, Comcast and the Chicago Cubs are hooking up. They're doing some promotions together and raising some cash/awareness...always a good thing.
It started last Monday when Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and some other volunteers stopped by the shelter to make lunch. About fifty of us dined on hot dogs, peanuts and popcorn...a real baseball lunch. I don't get starstruck too easily any more but I did thank him for his home run against Clayton Kershaw, which helped get the Cubs to the World Series in 2016. I also thanked him for helping to win the World Series before I died. Oh yeah, I did thank him for making lunch and helping the shelter, which I guess is more important than the other two things....maybe. I might need to reexamine my priorities.
Anyway, lunch is over and it was on to the next thing. The next day my phone is ringing and the display says the call is from LPCS. I assumed that they need someone to stay overnight. Ughhhhh....so I let it go to voicemail.
WRONG!!!! You know what happens when you assume.
It was the director of the shelter, Dan. I called him back and he started talking about the lunch and then mentioned the Cubs/shelter connection and finally said something about Sunday's Cubs-Reds game. I had no idea where he was going with this but to cut to the chase, he asked if I want to throw out the first pitch before the game. They wanted someone who had lived at the shelter and was a Cubs fan. Who could that possibly be?
See?! I told you this homeless thing was going to pay off.
But....(isn't there always a but?) now that I'm going to do it, the pressure is on. I've thrown plenty of baseballs in my life and this is really just like playing a game of catch from 60 feet-six inches. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Then I realized that I haven't thrown a ball since my youngest daughter stopped playing softball. I did the math and that was fourteen years ago. OY!!!!
I started thinking, I better get prepared. First step was going to Wednesday's game. I got there early to watch the first pitch. It wasn't just one pitch...there were five of them. Actually, that's not such a bad thing. If you screw it up, there will be others to take you off the hook.
Wednesday was Pediatric Cancer Awareness night at Wrigley and first up was a ten year old cancer survivor. She steps on the mound and her throw almost makes it to the catcher. It brings both smiles and tears. Up third was former Cubs pitcher Paul Reuschel. His toss took three bounces to get to the catcher. THREE!! I'm taking this as a good sign. I mean, if a professional pitcher can't fire it home, I can't be expected to do it, right? I checked his bio and found out he's now seventy-one years old. I guess he gets a break.
Here's what it comes down to....I want to be like George W. Bush. Not politically, but I want to emulate his first pitch.
Remember his first pitch at the 2001 World Series? It was just weeks after the 9/11 attacks, at Yankee Stadium with the entire world watching, he stepped onto the mound and fired a strike to the catcher. Not just a strike, but the ball had a little movement on it. And the dude did it while wearing a bullet proof vest!
Okay...okay...nothing is going to be as dramatic as that. I'm pretty sure the Wrigley crowd isn't going to break into a USA USA chant, but if that's how it goes, fine by me.
I just don't want to throw the ball in the dugout....and if you're laughing and don't think anything close to that is possible, check out this video of John Wall, Michael Jordan, Nolan Ryan and some others...and yeah, they're professional athletes. OY!! Anything else I can live with, I guess.
Still, I have two days to get ready for this. PRESSURE!! To paraphrase "Field of Dreams", anyone want to have a catch?
Related Post: I'm still in shock that the Cubs won the World Series.
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