Tonight, perhaps for the first time in my life, I wish I could have two televisions in the same room – one broadcasting the Colts playing the Patriots here in Indy; and the other one tuned to watch the Chicago Cubs play in the National League Championship Series against the New York Mets. Our son, Andrew, is a die-hard Colts fan, and he reminded me last night that we never really got too interested in baseball. And while that may be true during his lifetime, the past several weeks have brought me back to my youth and either watching or listening to the Cubs games with my father.
Dad was a committed Cubs fan. He had an old transistor radio that he carried with him in the backyard as he tended his roses and iris bed – ever mindful of how his beloved team was doing. Ernie Banks, Don Kessinger, Ron Santo, Randy Hundley and Billy Williams were all on those memorable teams and Dad never lost hope that some day his team would be World Series Champions.
I was pretty much a White Sox fan – the only one in the family – but I have to admit that I am getting caught up in the hype and am hoping that history will be made as the Cubs somehow may vanquish their New York adversaries. But let’s face it – it isn’t looking good so far. They were already down a game and just lost again tonight…
As much as anything, with the news reels of the past historic moments in the life of the Cubs, I am drawn back to my youth and all the great times I had with Dad. I wish he was alive to see this series and how I wish I could watch it with him. He would have been thrilled. Today, we don’t have Jack Brickhouse announcing anymore, but I think he could live with that.
The country seems obsessed with football, and in my day, I enjoyed watching the Bears, but for some reason, the post season with a Chicago team has the memories flooding back to those days on the southside with Dad in the yard. He taught me the strategies of the game and tested me on the player statistics for each position on the Cubs team. When I turned sixteen, I worked in a clothing store and actually had Mrs. Ernie Banks as one of my customers. When Dad and I went to games, he wasn’t shy about approaching some old time player who was watching the game in the stands and asking for an autograph. The first several times I wondered how Dad recognized all these former players, but after being an avid fan for all those years, I guess he just knew what all the old timers looked like.
As I have previously said, Dad wasn’t a religious guy and I certainly didn’t have the faith that I have today. I never got in trouble with the law or anything like that, but I was known to get into mischief from time to time and back then, I really considered it quite a chore to attend church. Usually, it was just Sunday school with other kids and I was spared the agony of sitting through the service in the sanctuary. How different I feel these days!
The verse for this evening recalls the difference between then and now. The psalmist, in Psalm 25:7, tells us, “Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.” It is nice that we have a forgiving God. My encouragement tonight is that God knows your heart and will not hold the past against you – or me, for that matter. We are expected to grow closer to Him as our years advance and my prayer is that you will continue to grow in your faith and relationship with the Father and His Son. And, God willing, maybe one of my father’s fondest desires will come true and the Cubs can go on to the World Series! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…