If you are a superstitious person, it might be my fault that the Cubs lost a rain-soaked game to the Reds Tuesday night. Also, it might be my fault that the storm clouds decided to soak me to the bone instead of blowing to the south as the earlier radar had suggested. I happened to be in town because my girlfriend is from Cincinnati and her grandmother Ethel Marie Rahmes died last weekend. We drove down Sunday to help with the services and pay our respects. But I skipped out of the wake early to go watch the Cubs lose Tuesday. It was the wrong move, and thus, the Cubs lost.
I had full blessings from my girlfriend to go; in fact, she would have loved to have gone with me! She told me before the trip that I could go to or not go to whatever events I wanted to. It wasn't even a test to see what kind of character I truly possess. She's cool like that. Though, I can act the part of Homer Simpson with the best of 'em, this was not the case here. She even loved my Cubs fan "Go Bag!"
Still, I felt tremendous guilt driving away from the funeral home Tuesday, on my way to the game. My conscience twisted with thoughts of my ex-nun mother who would disapprove of my actions. My mother goes to wakes more than she goes to Cubs games. She's a huge fan, but has her priorities straight. She's constantly paying her respects and offering support to people from her community, and here I am driving away after only putting in 45 minutes. And about five minutes after I left the wake, the skies opened up and it began to pour. Was this game even going to happen?
I parked at the casino, which is free and less than a mile from the park, and changed from my wake sweater…
Into a Cubs fan…
Do I look guilty?
With the game delayed a half hour by the earlier downpour, I threw $5 down a Pompeii slot machine with the magical thought that if I double my money, the Cubs win, and if I lose it, they lose. Well…I lost.
But I did have killer seats! Right behind the Cubs dugout which were only 14 bucks! In fact, they might be the best seats I've ever had (that I didn't sneak into)!
But those are storm clouds in the distance, and my time feeling like a rich fan sitting up front was short-lived. The rain came down and I had to retreat to the bowels of the stadium.
And though the Cubs were up 2-1 after the first rain delay, they couldn't hold the lead. Moments after Cincinnati went up 3-2 in the sixth inning, the skies cried on me again. It was now nearly 10 p.m., and we had to leave for the funeral at 8:30 in the morning. I had done more damage than the bullpen. It was time to go.
So I walked back, a little less than a mile to the casino, and by the time I got to the car, I looked like a drowned rat, and much too down and out for another selfie.
The game resumed eventually without me and my bad karma, but neither team did anything. Now, I'm not a praying man, but my personal guilt from skipping out on the wake wrapped itself up into the misfortune of the Cubs, and the rain, and the not being able to enjoy the boxed seats. I know it's not all my fault, but it sure felt like it. Some of the blame can go to Ryan Kalish, who didn't cut off a ball properly in right field and allowed Zack Cozart a triple instead of a double.
I wish I could say I learned something from all this other than: "Listen to your mother's voice in your head because she's right." Guilt is a great motivator in many religions, but Catholics seem to have a fair amount of practice at providing it in order to encourage good behavior. And since I didn't listen to my Mom's voice, I needed to perform some sort of penance to make things right with the world.
So, we headed off to the funeral Wednesday morning. Of course, these are always sad affairs. I cried, paid respects, chatted up extended family and filled in as a pallbearer. This was no penance, just the right thing to do. I had to do more good in the world to assuage my guilt, so I bought two more box seat tickets to Wednesday's game with the idea of taking my girlfriend out to the ballpark as a welcome respite from the sad events of the day. I also offered to be designated driver to let her blow off a little steam. So after a much-needed nap, we headed off to the casino parking lot and the the ballgame.
This time, I put $5 in a Dean Martin Pool Party Slot (one of my favorite games), with the same magical idea that if I double my money, the Cubs win, and if I lose the 5 bucks, they lose. Well…
I more than tripled my money! Now the Casino's paying me $6.71 to park! (Having lost $5 the day before.) And of course the Cubs won 9-4 Wednesday (and it has to be because of me).
Better yet, for the last few innings we had such great seats that Emilio Bonifacio winked at my girlfriend. She wishes he was cuter, but she likes the way he plays ball. She still misses swooning over Alfonso Soriano, in actuality. So do I.
So we got to watch the Cubs' ninth-inning rally up close and personal from the second row! Now these are the best seats I ever sat in!
It was a beautifully brisk night, and given my casino winnings, Cubs winning, awesome seats, and a happily tipsy girlfriend, I would say….penance achieved!
The end result. I act wrong, the Cubs lose. I act right, the Cubs win (and I win $6.71). I would say I'm batting .500 on the trip, but I'm actually doing much better than that. I've got a girlfriend who doesn't mind me skipping out on her grandma's wake to go to a Cubs game. And that, my friends, makes me an All-Star.
Rest in Peace, Ethel Marie Rahmes.