In my column over at Chicago Parent (edit: reposted here as it was seemingly lost over there during a redesign), I spoke a little bit about my baseball background and how I was practically raised to love the Chicago White Sox by design. While I touched on it, what I didn't explain was how exactly I came to appreciate their North Side rivals as well.
My Grandpa Buchmeier.
The Grandpa that I knew was in his 70s, a lifelong farmer that was still working the fields. Turns out, some five decades prior, my Grandpa worked a different kind of field... one with three bases and a home plate. We never spoke much about his younger days, but I knew that he and his brother played together. If I recall, they were a pitcher/catcher combo.
On some of the days when my sister and I would visit my Grandparents' farm in South Suburban University Park (since leveled for a subdivision), I'd sit in the living room - kicked back in my Grandma's recliner while my Grandpa sat to my left in a recliner of his own. We'd generally be watching the Chicago Cubs, who at the time, were broadcast regularly on WGN.
I had just turned 13 a couple of weeks before my Grandpa died in 1989. He was a "Big League Dad" - a Father of 8 (my Mom being the youngest), and while his children and countless grandchildren (and some of their children) all have different memories of him, baseball is a big part of mine. In fact, before my Grandpa was buried, I tucked a Topps Baseball Card of Cubs' outfielder Andre Dawson in his jacket. I also included a little Cubs helmet. A Cubs helmet just like this one...
That "helmet" is an ice cream bowl - specifically, the bowl that we received this past weekend with my oldest daughters' chocolate ice cream at Wrigley Field. Something physical, that can incite an emotional reaction connected to the past. A real moment.
It was the folks at MLB and Dove Men+Care that brought us to the ballgame this past Sunday, guests as part of their season-ending "Big League Dads" promotion in which they celebrate Fatherhood with weekly videos featuring professional baseball players discussing their most important off-field position: Being a Dad.
And speaking of videos, I made one, too! It's my family running the bases at Wrigley Field... complete with Addie's first attempt at a slide into home plate:
Check out the #BigLeagueDads Instagram Contest for your chance to win a family trip to opening day, 2014.
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