Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cubs Win and NaNoWriMo is Here!

Hi All,

My beloved Chicago Cubs won the World Series a few days ago and it is a marvelous thing to be a Cubs fan right now.  I only wish I had been in Chicago standing with all the other Cubs fans outside Wrigley watching the marquee change. I had to watch the festivities from afar but thanks to the many people who posted videos online it felt like I was there. Thankfully, WGN-TV streamed the parade and rally on Friday so even though I was at work I could listen in. 

Watching the games was edge of your seat baseball and while at one point in Game 7 I was having '80's flashbacks to when Lee Smith was our closer I must say I was watching with eyes covered.  Lee Smith was a hell of a closer back in the day but as a Cubs fan you had to hug a pillow or someone else in the hopes we'd still have the win when the game was over.

Watching the 2016 Cubs celebrate made me think of my favorite player Ryne Sandberg, it made me think of a young pitcher named Greg Maddux take the mound in 1986, I thought of Leon Durham, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace, Rick Sutcliff, Gary Matthews Jr., Jim Frey, Bobby Dernier, Jody Davis, Mickey Morandini, Kerry Wood, Kyle Farnsworth and Matt Clement and somewhere along the way was a catcher by the name of Steve Christmas who had a sister named Mary.  The thing is I remember that tidbit but I can't remember much else about the guy.  I remember the banter between Harry Caray and Steve Stone and eventually Chip taking the seat that his grandfather once had.

I remember my first Cubs game up in the rafters on the third base side.  The New York Mets were in town and the Cubs beat them 11-2. I remember my uncle grumbling about even being at Wrigley (he was a Sox fan) but we had a blast. It was a beautiful day in April of 1984.  That was the year I became a Cubs fan and it all had to do with a guy named Ryne Sandberg.

I've only been to Wrigley Field three times in my life.  The first time was with my uncle and the next two times were with my aunt.  While my dad's family grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, it was the South Side and as a kid from Vermont - crosstown rivalries didn't mean anything to me.  But boy did I learn quick.  My second Cubs game was a June 1996 game where we froze our butts off.  It was so foggy that you couldn't see the bleachers let alone the players in the outfield. I remember my aunt drinking hot chocolate.  That game I saw Ryne Sandberg hit a home run - it would be the last time I'd see him play as he retired at the end of the season.  This was his second stint with the Cubs.  He had retired years earlier and then came back before retiring for good. I was happy that I got to see him play one last time.  My third trip to Wrigley was a night game.  My aunt and I were down the third base side close to the bleacher area in the corner.  You could barely see anything. 

This was the season of frustration because by this point I was a fan of Mickey Morandini who was our 2nd baseman but Riggleman hadn't been playing him but lo and behold he put him in near the end of the game. I think Morandini was the last out but the memory is a little foggy. Couldn't even tell you the score but it was Sept 20, 1999 and the Cardinals were in town. I still have the ticket stub. Sammy Sosa was going at it again with the home run record that year, he hit #61 the night before. I missed seeing a Sosa homer by 1 night but at least I can say I've eaten a box of Sammy Sosa corn flakes.

As the wild antics of games 6 and 7 were occupying many lives, NaNoWriMo took a backseat. It is day 5 in the annual event of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. The last couple of years I was finished in under 20 days.  Last year I did it record time, I think it was day 10 or so that I was done.  This year I won't be accomplishing such a feat.  I have written a little but I may just take this year off and work on the story I do have at my leisure.  We'll see how this weekend goes.

For those of you that have stored up on food and large amounts of caffeine for NaNoWriMo, I'm going to share something I've learned over the course of 10 years doing this wonderful event. At the end of the first weekend your word total should be between 20,000-25,000. If it's more than that - great!  You're probably freaking out by those numbers but relax there's a good reason for this.  You see, if you can by the end of the weekend have that many words, you can relax for the rest of the month.  The pressure on you to hit the 50,000 words by November 30th isn't as stressful.   Not only that but your daily word count if you keep on track is not as high. 

Not everyone can do this but if the opportunity comes your way - take it.

Alright, that's in for me.

Rock on!
~Maynard