Back in April, as both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox got their seasons underway, I blogged about baseball here on The Rock Father. In that entry, I affirmed my allegiance to the South Side ('Sox), while noting that I'd never seen a game on the North (Cubs). I also promised my oldest daughter that we would one day see a game in a place like we saw on tv, and this past Sunday, that promise became a reality. It was a "first" for the entire family... my daughters' first ballgame, and for my wife and I, our first game in Wrigley Field. We'd taken the kids to see the Chicago Cubs.
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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About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) - James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHERâ„¢.
Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.
He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father's Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.
Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.
James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities' Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360, and in 2013 he's been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.
Learn more here.