Biographical Non-Fiction posted March 4, 2022


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My father shared his love of sports with me.

Forever a Cubs Fan

by blondie560


I am a midwestern girl, born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Chicago is a great sports town. Black Hawks, Bears, Bulls, White Sox, and of course the Cubs.

My dad was a huge Cubs fan. I took an interest in the games more so than my brother, and soon I was watching the games with my dad on WGN. They only played their home games during the day. Jack Brickhouse and his trade mark "Hey Hey!" when a home run was hit, is stamped in my mind. Wrigley Field didn’t get lights until 1988. The first game was to be played on 8/8/88. Too bad it rained, and they canceled the game. They played the first night game the next evening.

Being a Cubs fan comes knowing that they will break your heart. The lovable losers and wait till next year were our mottos every September at the end of the season. 1969 made that even more true. The Cubs may hold the record for the biggest failure to win their division after leading it all summer. They lost seventeen of their last twenty-five games and the New York Mets went on to not only win the division, they also won the World Series that year.

But ever the optimists, Cub fans figured they would repeat their winning ways the next year and not collapse. Like I said, wait till next year was our rallying cry. This was true in 1984, 1989, 2003, and 2015 as well. Broken hearts all over the Cubs fandom.

No matter how badly the Cubs play, they have loyal fans. Wrigley Field, with its ivy covered outfield walls, is iconic and one of the most recognizable baseball stadiums. Then there are the bleachers. It only cost $1 to sit in the bleachers back then. It was so inexpensive, the Chief of Police of my town took the safety patrol kids and those on the honor roll in seventh and eighth grades on a field trip to a Cubs game. These days, depending on who the Cubs are playing, the bleachers can cost more than reserved seats. The Ricketts, owner of the Cubs, increased the amount of bleachers and it’s now the hip place to be.

In the summer of 1971, I was twelve, between 7th grade and 8th grade. While watching a game, the camera focused in on the bat boy. I saw him picking up the bats and errant foul balls. How hard could that be? I asked my dad if a girl could do that job. He didn’t know, but suggested I write the Cubs and ask them. I sat there watching the game and contemplating what he said. After it was over, I got a notebook. I considered what I should write. After many tries, I came up with the perfect, polite letter.

To whom it may concern,

My name is Sally Karsten and I am thirteen years old (ok, I lied, but I was going to be thirteen in September). I’m a big Cubs fan and I watch every game that I can. Watching the game today with my dad, I noticed the bat boy on the field. I asked my dad if a girl could do that. He suggested I write to the Cubs and ask.

Sincerely,

Sally Karsten

I went down to the post office and mailed my letter. My dad and I didn’t think I would get a reply, but it didn’t hurt to send the letter.

The Cubs season ended with no chance of them playing in the World Series. Meanwhile, school started after Labor Day, and I had my thirteenth birthday. I had forgotten about the letter.

One day after school, my mom met me at the door with a letter from The Chicago Cubs! I ripped into the envelope and pulled out the letter.

Dear Sally,

Thank you for being a Chicago Cubs fan. I received your letter inquiring about our position as bat boy. The position requires a boy because of the duties in the clubhouse.

Best of luck in future endeavors, and please continue to be an enthusiastic Cub fan.

Sincerely,

Ernie Saltwell

Director of Human Resources 

Well, that was disappointing, but it was pretty cool I got a reply, and it wasn’t a form letter.

The next day, I went to school with my letter and showed it to everyone. It was a big deal, and I felt famous. I kept the letter for years. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I suspect my sister, who had somewhat of a mischievous way about her, ripped it up. She went through my yearbooks one day, crossing out the pictures of people she didn’t like, so I don’t put it past her; she made it disappear. Flash forward to the 80s, and I see the Cubs have a ball girl named Marla. I could have had that job!

The Cubs fulfilled every Cubs fan’s fantasy and won the World Series on November 2, 2016, but not without giving us that sickening feeling of déjà vu with the score tied in the tenth inning of game seven. Then God showed he didn’t hate the Cubs after all and sent a rain delay. Jason Howard gave the speech that motivated the team, and they came back out to win!

My father died at a young age from a long illness. He didn’t get to see the Bears win the Super Bowl in 1985, the Michael Jordan Bulls, the Black Hawks in 2010 or even the White Sox in 2005, but I thank him for sharing his love of all the Chicago sports teams, but especially the Chicago Cubs. 




Say Hey and Baseball writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write whatever comes to mind, in any form, be it poetic, verse or short story about the great America pastime: Baseball


This is the iconic scoreboard at Wrigley Field. It was erected in 1937. It is one of only two manually operated scoreboards in MLB. I took this picture in May of 2017. It was the first Cubs game I had gone to in decades. It was the first time I ever attended a game where the Cubs won the game! The next year I attended my first night game at Wrigley. They won that game too!
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