My friend Tina is always reminding me that I’m not in a war-torn country, or being jailed for my political beliefs, or living in a 3rd world country where food is no where to be found, and the water is contaminated with typhoid or malaria.
She’s right. I’m luckier than 99.9% of the rest of the world population.
But she’s never been a Chicago sports fan. She’s never even been to Chicago. And she has no clue about sports.
So she’s never watched a Sunday double-header with Little Louie stealing 2nd, only to be driven in with a base hit by Nellie Fox, especially in 1959.
And she never went to bed with her transistor radio under her pillow, listening to Jack Brickhouse yelling, “Hey Hey!,” as Kluzuski hit another home run out of Comiskey.
And she never watched WGN replays of Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, on my Bears' teams, or seen Sweetness be our only offensive weapon in the early 1980'. So she has no memories of football’s greatest defensive team in 1985, with Buddy Ryan drawing up another play.
So Tina wants to meet for lunch, but I’m in no mood. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t want to hear it. She starts to talk about how China is oppressing the people in Tibet, or forcing women to have abortions at 7 months, if it’s their 2nd child. Or holding dissident Chen Guang-cheng under house arrest for over 4 years.
My mind wanders to Paulie’s grand slam in 2005, Game 2 of the World Series. It was a typical late October, drizzling Chicago night, and he hit the ball just a few rows over my head, sitting next to son # 2, in left field. Or Podsednik’s walk off HR that same night. We were both hoarse for days.
And then as Tina starts in on how I have to learn how to meditate or take up yoga, I wander back to Michael hitting “The Shot” vs. Cleveland in 1989, or leaning on Scottie in Utah, sick as dog with the flu, & still winning another ring. Or hearing Marvelous Marv’s “Paxson for 3! YES!, and the Bulls lead by 1 with 3.9 seconds left!,” in 1993.
So Tina never went to Soldier Field in the bitter cold, when the Bears beat the NY Giants 21-0 in their 1985 Super Bowl run. Richard Dent sacked Phil Simms right in front of me and son #1 that day. No matter how windy or cold, it was glorious. That infamous punt in the end-zone by the Giants, which our defense turned into 7 points. My son and I were so joyful, along with the 50,000 other frozen fans.
And then she starts talking about the Presidential race, Obama v. Romney, the Arab Spring one year later, and its impact on our foreign policy in the Middle East.
But then my thoughts wander to Patrick Kane’s unreal goal in 2010 to win the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks finally did it after 49 years. And my memory takes me not only to THAT parade down State St. , but the 2005 White Sox parade, and all 6 Bulls Championship rallies in Grant Park.
Tina, you’re blowing it. You’ve lost me. Because you never went to the White City’s museums, the Art Institute, Buckingham fountain, our lakefront's beaches and parks, Navy Pier, Lincoln Park, Brookfield Zoo, or took the El to a game, or saw Marshall Fields at Christmas time, or ate their chocolate mints.
And you never went to hear Chicago's Blues, OUR Blues. You never went to all the clubs, heard our music in the bars, or feel Dem Blues, and feel what I’m feeling now, as I watch my teams go down, one by one, these last few weeks.
First Cutler, then Toews, then Hossa, & then our MVP Rose. And now we’ve got Noah and Sale injured. And I’m watching the Bulls blow a 4th quarter lead vs. Philly in Game 3, while Thornton gives up a 2 run walk-off to our nemesis, all in one night. Now THAT stings, after Beckham and Peavy’s performance should have been the talk of the postgame show, with Bill Melton leading the way. And Kendall Gil would have breathed a sigh of relief had the Bulls not completely collapsed.
I’ve got Dem south side Chicago Blues. And no one can get me out of this state. Not Tina Turner. Not Janis Joplin. Not Led Zepplin. Not Mike Bloomfield. Not Al Kooper. Not the Funk Brothers and their Motown soul bands. And no, not the Blues Brothers.
And these days, I can't even dial 312 and reach God, according to our “4 Superfans”. Cause God is not answering. I don’t think he’s got Chicago teams on his I-phone these days. He’s pressed delete, accident or no accident.
No Tina, I’m not talking about the European economy, particularly in Spain, Greece, Italy, and even France, but then again, it’s probably a good thing you celebrated May Day as every involved socialist would.
Me? I’ll watch DeWayne Wise make that impossible catch to preserve Mark Buehrle’s Perfect game, El Duque working out of a bases loaded jam in Game 3 vs. Boston in the ALDS, and Steve Kerr hitting his final jumper in 1998 to beat the Jazz in the Bulls 6th Championship.
That’s my way of avoiding the unavoidable. That’s how this South Side Sports Chick will deal with Dem’ Chicago Sports’ Blues. Live in the past moments of Chicago Sports glory. Because that is what will get me through the next 3 months.
On to Bourbonnais……..