Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

Spiritual lessons from my team’s World Series victory

‘Twas a World Series win for the ages.
Down three games to one, they came back.
Game seven then went extra innings.
Both players and fans were a wreck.

A weather delay added tension.
The rain was a portent it seemed.
The Cubs’ drought from ’08 had ended.
‘Twas the storybook ending we dreamed.

Just wait ’til next year we’ve been sayin’.
And I’m thinking it’s no time to stop.
Our Lovable Losers are winners
and they plan to remain at the top.

A repeat as champions suits us.
Our young team has talent galore.
With Rizzo and Russell and Bryant,
there’s bound to be much more in store.

And likewise in life we keep hoping
that what God has promised is true.
The Cubs are a lesson in patience.
Don’t give up! Don’t despair. God comes through!

So keep trusting and keep on believing.
The droughts that we face fuel our faith.
Perseverance in time is rewarded.
Like the Cubs, we’ll be blest if we wait!

* This poem is dedicated to my dad who died eight years ago today (November 4, 2008). He played catch with me when I was a kid. He faithfully came to my little league games. He took me to my first major league baseball game. A week before he died I lay down next to my dad on his bed as we watched the World Series together on the TV in my folks’ bedroom. (Curiously, Joe Maddon’s team Tampa Bay Rays lost in five games that year.) How I wish I could share in the joy of the Cubs win with him this year (now that Joe Maddon is Chicago’s manager). But like the poem suggests, I will just have to wait for that ultimate family reunion to come. I miss you, Dad.

A Series to Remember

Cubs fans are living their dream

It’s a weekend to remember
at historic Wrigley Field.
It’s a three-game match-up Cubs fans dreamed would be.
Not since troop ships headed homeward
at the end of World War 2
have the Cubbies claimed their place in history.

It’s a season to remember
for the losers we have loved.
Holy Cow! They won the most of all this year.
Rizzo, Russell, Baez, Bryant
led their team all summer long
and have given baseball fans much cause to cheer.

It’s a series to remember
‘tween the Indians and Cubs.
Both Lebron and Michael’s cities crave this crown.
How I wish that Banks and Santo
could have lived to see these games
in a slugfest on the north side of Chi-town.

The Artful Dodger

A toast to Vin Scully’s amazing run

There’s a movie about Sully,
but a sportscaster named Scully
has me pondering my childhood
and the Dodgers games he’s called.

His descriptions were a work of art.
Vin Scully (from the very start)
could paint with words and bring to life
what happened on the field.

Mr. Baseball has been in the booth
before I boasted my first tooth.
I grew up listening to him
and grew to love his voice.

But Vinnie’s voice will soon be stilled
and knowing that gives me a chill.
It’s hard to watch the greats move on
because it’s time to go.

So here’s to you, my childhood friend.
Your legacy will never end.
You taught us how to love the game
describing what you saw.

* Vincent Edward “Vin” Scully will turn eighty-nine on November 29th. He has been broadcasting Dodgers games since 1950. This weekend he concludes his celebrated career. When I saw my very first major league baseball game in the early 1960s in Candlestick Park, the San Francisco Giants were hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. Vin Scully was in the broadcast booth calling the play-by-play for the Dodgers. Ironically, this weekend Scully is in San Francisco for his very last broadcast as his Dodgers play the Giants.

The Pennant Race in Autumn

Why this time of year awakens my inner child

Each fall I’m like a little boy,
a baseball fan who dreams
that somehow my beloved team will win.
And though my heart’s been ripped apart
and grieved what’s slipped away,
I find a way to fuel my hope again.

I listen to sports radio
and watch games on TV
while studying the standings every day.
I live with every single win
and die with every loss.
No wonder my thin hair is turning gray.

I think back to those nights in bed
I cried myself to sleep
with my transistor pressed against my ear.
That’s when I learned that baseball’s more
than ending in first place.
It’s learning to be patient till next year.

And yet I love the start of fall
with playoffs in the air.
The chance my team might make it spurs me on.
The slightest hope ignites my faith
that one day they’ll have cause
to play more games when other teams are done.

Ryan’s Not-So-Great Adventure in Rio

Lessons Lochte leaves us

Yes, Ryan Lochte lied and lost.
He trashed a loo and learned the cost
of drinking to the point of drunk
and acting like a fool.

So needlessly he paid the price
for dodging what he knew was nice.
He dove into disaster’s wake
and wasted what he’d won.

And here’s the lesson from his fate.
To drink til drunk’s a big mistake.
You lose endorsements right and left,
your reputation, too.

I hope that Michael Phelps can save
his teammate who has misbehaved.
He knows firsthand the curse of booze
and how it steals your joy.