Many years ago, I was born in Ohio. My dad was a die-hard Indians fan. No matter how bad they were losing, he never stopped rooting them on. He’d make me watch the games with him, and I grew up loving baseball.
When I was 11, we moved to Chicago. That’s where I really “grew up,” where I became a teenager, and where everything around me helped mold me into the woman I am today.
We went to Cubs games. A lot. Daddy loved Wrigley Field. When I think about all the Cubs games we went to, I think about the fun we had. We would go to watch Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg play. And we would laugh. Oh, how we would laugh. I remember sitting in pouring down rain having the absolute best time. Or the nights when we would freeze under our blankets, but we weren’t giving up on our Cubbies. I remember singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” under the sound of Harry Caray’s voice during the 7th Inning Stretch.
But, we didn’t just go to Cubs games growing up in Chicago. Whenever the Indians came to play the White Sox, we would be there. In the South Side of Chicago, dressed in full Indians garb, we would be there. Daddy probably knew that alone could have gotten us killed, but he persevered. We’d walk proudly into the stadium and be the only ones rooting for the Indians. Oh, the memories that were made. As I became a teenager, I thought my Daddy was crazy for going into White Sox territory in Indians gear, but I went with it, even when I protested.
In 1997, my Daddy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and that fall, the Indians made it to the World Series. We thought they were going to do it. We cheered and we hoped and we held our breath. But, they fell to the Florida Marlins in the 11th inning of Game 7. Our hopes we dashed, but we never gave up. There was always next season.
In 1998, my Daddy passed away halfway through the baseball season. My world was crushed. I had lost all my hope in the Indians and in everything else.
As time went on, I continued to love baseball, and I would cheer for both the Indians and the Cubs. It was my way of holding onto my Daddy. I passed my love for baseball, the Indians, and the Cubs onto my kids, and baseball is the favorite sport in our house.
So, this year, when we found out the Cubs AND the Indians were going to the World Series, it became so much more to me than just another game. This was what Daddy and I talked about. This is what we dreamed of. All those years ago, we decided that Daddy would root for the Indians and I would root for the Cubs, but we’d really be happy no matter who won.
Y’all, for these few games, it’s not just baseball. I’ve got my Daddy here with me again. I can watch these games with my kids and relive my childhood. I can share my Daddy with my kids in a way that I never could before.
This isn’t just another World Series for me. This is everything I’ve ever dreamed of, wrapped in a best of 7 series of games. I can’t pick a favorite. I don’t care who wins. I just want to enjoy every game that comes on and make memories with my kids so that some day when my kids are grown and have families of their own, a baseball game will come on and they’ll know I’m still watching it, cheering right beside them.