These are what I have received from folks as of August 10 or so. Feel free to edit yours, post yours (new one) as a comment,whatever. There is a place to creat profiles on the blog, but these are better, more interesting, more informative ways to get to know each other, I think. I changed a couple around, added a couple things to those I received, so maybe chack out what you think you sent. .
My name is David Apol
. I hate organized baseball and organized religion for
the same reason.
I am trying to square a few tangents: The only Cub's fan I remember was
this large short man that drove his car into a large tree one morning on his way
to work leaving his kids and wife to raise themselves. Maybe its time to see
what he saw.
I recall playing baseball in the sandlot behind my house with kids from the
neighborhood. The only great part of baseball is batting. The rest of time was
waiting to bat. I decided that I would only bat in life, kind of like a DH.
We lacked a grounds crew and so the bases grew deeper and deeper over the
years until the catcher would only see the heads of the runners. I hated playing
shortstop when the ball fell into the chasm and then caromed off my face.
Shortly after that I learned the word "flinch."
Claim to fame: I once sang duets with David Schaafsma to chronic schizophrenics.
By day I am a developer of land and businesses and at night I sleep.Vicki Chou
, from Oak Park, is UIC’s Dean of the College of Education. Her relationship to
Baseball is 3 daughters (pitcher, 1st base, catcher) who played hundreds of games. Poetry-ha! But she is also a world renowned teacher educator with an emphasis on issues of social justice. She has secured numerous grants to support the preparation and professional development of excellent teachers for students in Chicago’s neighborhood schools that have been historically under-served.
My name is George Cooper
. I live in Ann Arbor, MI where I am a lecturer in english at UM,
and for the most part teach freshman composition. My relationship with baseball began with being
bored playing little league baseball for the Bisons, right field, where the leather smell of my baseball glove appealed to me more than any other aspect of the game--except maybe for the soda pop and licorice. My sense of the game has improved since that time, but I still like the smell of leather as much as
anything. My relationship with poetry is in some ways similar. Whenever I begin reading a new poet, I say, this is crap. I could write this. And then after a bit, there is a poem in the selection that makes me rethink my earlier aversion, and then I try to write poem and realize that I have very little clue. I like the idea of trying to bring together these two aspects of my ineptitude.Todd DeStigter
. of Chicago, IL, is Dave Schaafsma's former high school student (Unity Christian High in Hudsonville, MI) and now his English Education colleague at UIC. Todd teaches methods of teaching English courses and grad seminars on literacy and democracy and is the author of Citizen Teacher: The Forgotten Students of Addison High (NCTE, 2000). He's an enthusiastic Cubs fan, though his deepest loyalties remain with the Detroit Tigers, the "home team" of his misspent youth.Dan De Vries
is a sometime poet who lives in San Francisco. His parents did not believe in ball games, and it was only when the family moved back to Grand Rapids, Michigan after a strange hiatus in Denver that his sixth grade teacher got him interested in the Detroit Tigers. He learned to watch baseball at Tiger Stadium, and is now a nominal Giants fan, but will watch pretty much any game anywhere, and often does. Despite a brain addled by many years of recreational drug use, he vividly recalls baseball games in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Toronto, San Francisco, San Jose, Modesto, Oakland, Eugene, Portland, Seattle, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Denver, Nashville, and Idaho Falls, as well as test cricket matches in Leeds and London. In 1979, he returned to Michigan from a period of wandering out west to attend the University in Ann Arbor, and won a Hopwood award in short fiction the year Reagan was made President. He believed that award meant something, and wrote two novels and a collection of stories, none of which were ever published. He thinks that the designated hitter is a minor but emblematic indicator of a decline in values in North America. He works in a nonprofit law office in Oakland, and has communist leanings.Corey Dolgon,
44, of Milton, Massachusetts. Sociologist, Socialist, long-time Red Sox fan (not just because of the color of the socks) and even longer Yankee hater. With the exception of Neoconservative death-mongerers, Yankees are the only other humans I hate. I played high school baseball and moved to softball in graduate school and post-knee surgeries. The dream of playing third base is long gone, but I now play fantasy baseball and do what most middle-aged, middle class American men do, I dream of owning things I can no longer participate in. Corey is the author of The End Of The Hamptons: Scenes From The Class Struggle In America's Paradise (New York University Press, 2005).
Hi, my name is Tommy Haffner
, and I am a huge White Sox fan and cub hater*. I love the Sox because I am from the South Side of Chicago (no, not a suburb) and because they are really more of a neighborhood team than a city team. Like heavy metal, pro wrestling and other white trash (shanty Irish in my part of town) culture, the Sox were never "in"—until last year, which was just so unbelievable. You can't understand how other the feeling was when the Sox won the pennant, nevermind the World Series. As far as South Siders who are cub fans, I have a theory, similar to Labov's theory of why some Martha's Vineyard natives retain their accent and others don't. Here goes: South Siders who are cub fans aren't happy with their class status, and they wish to improve it. One way to improve their standing is to root for the team on the wealthier North Side. Thus they gain the prestige of being a cub fan. Alternately, they may be rebelling against their fathers.
My baseball career ended at age 13. I was pitching in the playoffs and just could not resist hitting my best friend. My dad was the coach and he went Bad News Bears on me. He sent me out to left field, where I made an error that cost us the game. I never played again--I had to start caddying during the summer, anyway--but I was relieved when, some twenty years later, a therapist attributed my error not to a lack of skill but to rebellion against my father. As far as poetry goes, I used to write poetry every day. That was my thing. Unfortunately, a teacher at U of I Urbana told me I had talent, and that ended that.
*"hate" is an ugly word. But you get the idea.
My name is Dan Jacques
. I played 3rd base and batted clean up. I grew up in New Jersey as a Yankee fan. My best friend lived 2 houses away and his Dad was the Athletic Director of our town. As such he always got “free” seasons tickets to see the Yankees and I always tagged along. I was 7 years old when Marris and Mantle were slugging it out for the home run title in 1961. From then on I was hooked on baseball and the Yankees. Later I got season tickets of my own and enjoyed the miracle season of the 14 game come back. I mourned the loss of Thurman Munson. I loved and hated Rickie Henderson, Billie Martin and George Steinbrenner. I enjoyed the 112 game winning season. I enjoyed David Wells’ and David Cone’s perfect games. I loved to watch Reggie Jackson’s awesome power and outstanding October performances. My favorite Yankee heroes of today are Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Joe Torre. My all time Yankee hero is Lou Gehrig even though he was a bit before my time. His character, work ethic, performance and humility set the standard for Yankee greatness. I love baseball and have a son who does too. It’s so much more than just a game.Jeff Kunkle
: It’s my grandfather’s fault, really. I could have been a White Sox fan or a Cardinals fan, and be perfectly content, expecting victory whenever I watched a baseball game, and getting it a good part of the time. Or a Yankees fan. My mom was, for a time. There are photos of her as a kid, in her best tomboy regalia, running around with a baroque NY emblazoned on her cap. I could easily be a Yankee fan, smug and condescending, one of the fat cats of baseball fandom.
But no, my grandpa had to instead take me to games at Wrigley Field, infusing in me an appreciation of Cubbie lore, buying my allegiance with hot dogs and ice cream cups and T-Shirts, chaining my heart to a perpetually sinking ship. Our visits to Wrigley began before I was old enough to remember them, so I don’t have a conscious recollection of that moment of awe people get when they first emerge from the subterranean gloom of Wrigley’s bowels into the magical sunlight illuminating the field, the scoreboard, and all that ivy. Instead, Wrigley was just this place I was taken, like church, where the ushers wore Andy Frain uniforms and the organ played a more irreverent and jaunty set of hymns.
My grandfather grew up in Chicago, a poor kid who couldn’t afford a ticket to the game. Instead of paying his way in to Wrigley, he’d line up on Clark Street with ten or twelve of his comrades, and they’d storm the gates all at once, hurtling the turnstiles and deking the ticket takers. Some of the kids would get caught, thumped around a bit and thrown out on their asses, but the rest would be in, able to see the likes of Stan Hack, Kiki Cuyler, Charlie Root, and Hack Wilson strut their stuff. It was Hack Wilson who was my grandfather’s favorite. He must have liked their shared histories (both were born into blue-collar Pennsylvania families) and their shared physiognomies (both were short, scrappy guys, although Hack was much thicker than my grandfather). They both drank a lot, too, although my grandfather, unlike Hack Wilson, was able to pull out of that tailspin before it ruined him.
I grew up hearing about these players, and more—Carl Hubble, Rogers Hornsby, Jimmy Foxx—their names carrying the resonance of mythology, and spent my childhood rooting for other, mostly lesser, deities: Jody Davis, Greg Maddux, Keith Moreland, Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, and, most of all, Ryne Sandberg, after whom my wife, despite my pleading, wouldn’t allow me to name my son. My brother and I trade daily updates and trivia and cries of anguish, and my mom, long since recovered from her brief dalliance with the Yankees, acts, in her father’s stead, as the family’s baseball sage, offering calming bits of wisdom, patience and resignation. Like adolescent romances, the Cubs’ flirtations with victory and redemption—1984, 2003—contained for me equal parts sweetness, excitement, and crushing disappointment. My three-year-old daughter spontaneously hollers “Go Cubbies!” and “Cardinals stink!” in public places, and I still get chills when I’m holding my son and radio announcer Pat Hughes says with schoolboy enthusiasm, no matter how dire the season record, “Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air!”
I also teach high school English, go to school at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, play bass in a bluegrass band and, when I get the chance, write. These are all pursuits more fulfilling, but less romantic, than my affair with baseball.Andrew McCuaig
performed the National Anthem (along with 224 other Michigan Marching Band musician-geeks) before the fifth game of the 1984 World Series. As luck would have it, the Tigers clinched the series that night, beating the Padres on the heroics of Kirk Gibson's two homers and Willie Hernandez's save. After the game, the Detroit faithful rushed the field and, showing their love for the band, bomboarded them with clumps of torn-up Tiger Stadium outfield turf. Andrew hid one such clump in his band hat and later planted it in his parents' backyard. As if anything else really matters, Andrew is also a fiction writer and high school English teacher in Madison, WI.Amber McNeil
has been hanging out in Oak Park, Illinois for the past 10 years. Amber is currently an indentured servant, er, student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, majoring in the Teaching of English for Secondary Education. She is earning her PhD in Parenting on a daily basis, but currently on hiatus as Dean Gilliland soaks up the sun and gets spoiled rotten by his grandmother in South Carolina. Amber enjoys writing and Dean (with the incredible arm) enjoys baseball. Dean is a fifth grader at Whittier Elementary in Oak Park. Earlier in July, Dean and his baseball team defended (and won) their championship title for the Oak Park Youth Baseball/Softball League. His mom wrote a short poem about that experience. Enjoy!
, Barnes, Wisconsin, retired English Prof. from University of Wisconsin--Platteville, after 34 years. Never played baseball formally, though did play a great deal of it informally in the park in front of St. Pat's, in St. Charles, Illinois, and in my neighbor's yard, on Second Street, also in St. Charles. I used to be a Sox fan, those days. I've been messing with poetry most of my life, but I don't think I've ever written a baseball poem. [His poetry book titles include Out Harmsen’s Way (Fireweed, 1991), Face the Poem (Bur Oak, 1979, and Ancient Moves (Bur Oak, 1998 and his work has been anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry.]David Schaafsma
teaches English Education at The University of Illinois at Chicago. Having played all positions in Little League except catcher (afraid of being hit by the bat), he was a pitcher for his ninth grade softball team at Grand Rapids Ridgeview Junior HS in the spring of 1968, the year Denny McClain and Mickey Lolich led the Detroit Tigers to victory in the World Series. He was awarded the starting position at Ridgeview after coming in out of the bullpen one glorious game during the third inning with his team down 14-13. He pitched the game out, which his team won 28-27 in seven innings, weathering several thunderous home runs in the process, and he actually won a few games after that, though he was also known as the slowest pitcher in the league. He later played on Corey Dolgon and Tom Philion’s Ann Arbor Softball League team in the late eighties.
He thinks of himself as more of a fiction writer than a poet, since he has an MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis on short fiction, though he has primarily published in the field of English Education, including Eating on the Street: Teaching English in a Multicultural Society (University of Pittsburgh, 1993). He has published a very few poems in his lifetime, but one of those is anthologized in Bowling Poems (Michael Barrett, ed., 1992), which was one result of a bunch of writers going bowling and writing about the experience in Madison, which was the inspiration for this project.
My name is Tara Schaafsma
. I live in Oak Park, Illinois. I am a stay-at-home-mom for my two boys,
Harry and Hank. My career is as an electrician. I also have a BA in anthropology and an MA in English, so I can fall back on the multitudes of jobs in those fields when electrical work is scarce.
My first experience with baseball was going to a Milwaukee Brewers game with my grandparents when I
was about eight. The best thing about it was the guy sliding down a slide into the vat of beer when a home
run was hit. If they don’t have that feature at Wrigley, I’ll be really disappointed. I also remember the birds deciding to clean out their nests during the game. We had to buy hats.
I haven’t followed a lot of baseball, but I do go to a game here and there. I’ve been to see the Quad
City River Bandits, the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox.
I’ve written some poetry, having an MA in English (Creative Writing) and all. Nothing about sports, though, so this will be a first. Most of my writing efforts focus on drafting children’s science fiction novels for girls.
It's June, 1962, the Polo grounds. The Giants are in town for play the Mets. My first major league game. The field the most perfect green I've ever witnessed, before or after that time. My dad, my brothers, and I
watch Juan Marichal kick his leg towards the sun and take down battter after batter. Willie Mays raps a homer to dead centerfield and tips his hat to the crowd. McCovey at first, scooping up anything thrown his
way. Cepeda in rightfield--grace personified. The Alou brothers--Mattie, Felipe, Jesus--were all over; all good. And I was hooked--a Giants fan ever since.
Me? Guy Thorvaldsen
(Thorvaldsen translated, means Son of Thunderwood). But that only applies to my carpentry skills, not my baseball prowess. Though I did make the all-star team in little league--a second baseman with quick feet and a weak arm. My only game at Wrigley, I sat in the right field seats and my girlfriend started yelling at the fans who were terrorizing the Giants right fielder. I barely got out alive (luckily, the Cubbies won). I write a fair amount, often about carpenters and Norwegians, many of whom are missing some fingers or other bits of themselves.Steve Tozer
's bio: I retired from organized baseball in 1962 at the age of 12 and from regular poetry writing 30 years later. My last (OK, only) published poem was about boomerang throwing in central
Illinois cornfields. Currently I am a professor of Educational Policy at UIC and reside in Oak Park.
Hello, my name is Todd Wolbers
, and (sigh) I am a constantly recovering Cubs fan. . . a disenchanted, stunned, and lost Cubs fan. Born in 1967, I was first introduced to the Cubs at age 2, the year the Miracle Mets left them in the dust of a slow-motion, home run trot. I've read about the many historical, season-ending meltdowns, the decades-long (almost a century) drought, the goat, Merkel's boneheaded play, and so on. My childhood heroes were Dave Kingman, Ivan DeJesus, Jose Cardinal, Jack Brickhouse, the slurring Harry Caray, and, yes, Bill Buckner before he moved on to the BoSox and into the Baseball Hall of Infamy. Having lived through the manic-depressing seasons of 1984, 1989, and 1998, I am finally taking medication because of 2003.
After meeting my future wife at Loras College (Dubuque, Iowa) where we were both English majors, we eventually decided on making our home in Oshkosh, WI. We have two cats and two kids (in that order), and we're all surrounded by Brewer fans that never let me hear the end of this horrible season. I take cover behind the comforting clichés: "It's still early, though" and "Anything can happen". My wife jokes that someday, if/when the Cubs finally make it to the World Series, I'll need our kids either to wheel me or cart my ashes to Wrigley Field if I want to be there on that Big Day. Whether or not under my own power, though, I still believe, we all still believe that someday we'll waltz with our Cubbies in the Big Dance. Someday. Maybe next year.