Heidi Stevens: What a night of watching kids' dreams come true at Wrigley Field reminds me about humanity

Heidi Stevens, Tribune News Service on

Published in Lifestyles

Every year the Chicago Public League hosts the city championship baseball game at one of Chicago’s Major League Baseball parks, alternating years between Guaranteed Rate (home of the Chicago White Sox) and Wrigley Field (home of the Chicago Cubs.)

Meaning every year, two Chicago Public Schools teams — and their families, and their friends, and their classmates — get a free night of watching dreams come true.

This year the game was at Wrigley. This year the game also happened to be a matchup between my son’s high school (Kenwood Academy) and my daughter’s high school (Lane Tech College Prep). I took the Red Line after work to cheer on both teams (no bad outcome!), but mostly, honestly, to watch dreams come true.

If you have known and loved a child who poured their whole heart and soul into something—sports, plays, band, art—you can’t watch a bunch of baseball-loving kids running on and off the ivy-ringed gem that is Wrigley Field, in their uniforms, surrounded by their teammates, cheered on by their peers and their parents, under the lights, and not get a little choked up. I couldn’t anyway.

You can’t see their names in lights, watch their game-changing hits replayed on the big screen, see them bound out of the on-deck circle to walk-up music that fills the park, knowing that every moment and hit and miss and catch and throw weighs a little more than usual, and not get a little choked up. I couldn’t anyway.

Fine, I cried the whole time.


Mostly because of what I imagined it all meant for the kids on the field. But also for what it meant to the parents and grandparents and other people I was surrounded by whose whole hearts, I know, were on that field. Whose hours and months and years of cheering and driving and sacrificing and fee-paying and equipment-buying and schedule-shifting and laundry and love were on that field.

Sports parents get a bad rap and, honestly, they earn it sometimes. My son has played every sport under the sun in his 14 years on Earth and I have listened to grown-ups yelling things at children, at coaches, at officials, at parents that make me cringe in disbelief. (And understand why so many kids prefer video games.)

In my more gracious moments I try to remind myself it’s because they care. Sometimes really loudly. Sometimes with profanity. Sometimes they throw things. Because of the caring! (Right?)

But that’s not the point of this story. Besides, I saw none of that on display at Wrigley.


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