Editor's note: The 12 News Facebook page received this in a message and we thought we'd share, with Joseph's permission.
Like so many other young kids growing up in the nineties, I was a huge Cubs fan, who had never even been to the great state of Illinois. How did it all start though, and how did a Major League Baseball club 1,594 miles from home help keep a young boys mind sane? Now that young boy is grown, living back in the small Arizona town where he discovered his beloved Cubbies, and cheering them on in the greatest series that grinds out champions and World Series rings.
We didn't have television growing up. Dad didn't like the idea of sitting around staring at a box, when there were other more productive things to do. We did have a VCR, and watched movies Mom loved. Parent Trap, Carey Grant flicks, Mary Poppins, every musical a person can think of. Mom was always busy it seemed, raising seven kids, a productive life, a happy life.
My eleventh birthday I had some friends over to have a slumber party. Dad came into my room to let me know they needed to go to the hospital. Mom didn't feel well, honestly I wasn't overly concerned. I was 11. Mom must have another bad migraine headache. The next few weeks were a blur. I don't remember a lot of it 26 years later. Cancer. Six months to a year. Information sunk in like a bad dream.
Mom lied in bed, fighting, getting treatments, doing her best. Dad purchased television for Mom so she could try to spend some of her day somewhat entertained, bedridden and in pain. I don't actually ever even remember her even watching it.
I would come home, check on Mom, try to help with what I could, Mom was tough. She was in pain, but never told me. In the downstairs room, I would flip through the few channels we now had. The major networks, nothing seemed interesting. It seemed Dad was right, TV was boring. I came across a baseball game. The Chicago Cubs? WGN? I had heard of the Cubs, and Arizona didn't have a baseball team at the time. The major leagues had never interested me, but now I was watching an interesting character with cartoonish glasses excitedly announcing line ups, and discussing the in and outs of North Chicago baseball.
I was hooked. There was no Google, no ESPN I knew of. Harry Caray was my source of information. What a character. He seemed to be slurring his language the longer the game lasted. I memorized the Cubs schedule, listened to Harry try to pronounce players’ names backwards, and embarrassingly thinking back now even stood up and sang the seventh inning stretch with my pal, Harry.
The Cubs were giving me a break from a life I didn't realize was becoming tough for a 12-year-old boy. Sandberg, Grace, Dunston, my Cubs could do no wrong, even when they lost. Mom continued to fight, and lost her life in the summer of 1993.
I have made it a tradition to bring my own kids to Cubs spring training games. A six hour round trip, it's always worth it. They have heard stories about Harry Caray. My favorite place I still have never been to, the sacred Wrigley Field, and nineties day games that mattered so much to me.
Things have come full circle. At 14 years old Dad took me on a work trip to Cleveland Ohio. We attended a game at the brand new Jacobs Stadium. I remember Kenny Lofton playing for the Indians that day, Kirby Puckett for the Twins.
Now the Cubs are in the World Series with the same team I watched in Cleveland 23 years ago. The series is three and one, my Cubbies down. I realize I don't care as much as I did when I was a kid. Life has gotten bigger. Kids, job, amazing wife, and the Diamondbacks have somewhat acted as a substitute for my Chicago Cubs addiction. My 13-year-old son told me yesterday he loves his framed Cubs poster I gave him years ago he has hanging in his room.
Baseball may seem silly to some. Maybe even boring. For me it will always be kind of something that helped heal me. I'm grateful for the minutiae, the hours invested, the time I spent watching my Chicago Cubbies.
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