*Wild Day at Wrigley*
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Good morning HeartTouchers.com readers!
I thought I would share with you a memory that happened 25 years ago on this day: May 17. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it...
From my family to yours,
P.S. Special Happy Birthday's go out to Jessica Knox and Lisa Kincaid! We love ya!
Wild Day at Wrigley! (From the book Heart Touchers "Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter."
By Michael T. Powers
"I don't need anyone telling me when to cross the street," I yelled defiantly at the fourth grade Safety Patrol member. "I ain't no little kid, you know!" I said in my roughest, toughest ten-year-old voice. With that, I crossed the street and made my way home. The next morning I was called to the principal's office. I was a bit scared, but I tried my best not to show it.
"You know Mike, this is the third time I have had a complaint about you not obeying the Safety Patrols at the intersections."
I said nothing in response. "The Safety Patrol members are there to make sure that no one gets hurt."
"I don't need anyone telling me when to cross the street. I'm not a two-year-old, you know."
"Mr. Powers, I don't care how old you are, or even think you are. You are going to start listening to and obeying the Safety Patrol, or you and I will be spending a lot of time together. Is that understood?"
I nodded and then was dismissed. I clenched my little fists together all the way out the door. I was Public Enemy Number one to the Greenbrook Elementary School Safety Patrol. The brave young boys and girls who were sworn to help other students safely cross the street were told to be on the look out for me. The mere mention of my name made those fourth graders, who proudly wore the orange Safety Patrol vests, break out into a cold sweat.
It was soon after that, that I was approached by fellow fourth grader and captain of the Safety Patrol, Mike DiSalvo. I started to growl under my breath as he approached, and I prepared myself for an argument when he began to speak. "Hey, Mike! I've got a question for you. I noticed that you don't seem to need any help getting across the streets before and after school."
"That's right!" I barked back at him. "I'm not a two-year-old, you know?!"
"Well, Mike, since you are one of the few who don't need our help, I was wondering if you would like to join us? You know, become a member of the Safety Patrol. That way you can help all the other students get safely across the street."
The defensive reply I had planned froze on my lips and I stood there totally stunned. After what seemed like an hour I finally stammered, "Sure, I guess." How could I turn down the Safety Patrol in their hour of need?
Within a few weeks I was the most devoted Safety Patrol member Greenbrook Elementary School ever had, and I wore my orange vest with pride. I showed up on my scheduled street corner ten minutes early each morning, and I didn't have a single problem with any of the students that I helped to cross the road each day. Well, except for the little second grader who told me one day, "I don't need anyone telling me when to cross the street. I'm not a two-year-old, you know." A quick talk with my mother and father later that night, though, took care of the problem, and my little brother never said that to me again.
I grew to love being in the Safety Patrol even more when, at the end of the year, we were rewarded for our service with a trip to Wrigley Field to watch my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. Most any boy who grew up in the Chicago area spent half their childhood playing baseball in the neighborhood lot, pretending they were Cub players Bill Buckner or Dave Kingman. The other half of their life was spent in front of the tube watching the Cubs play on WGN-TV. However, to actually get to go to a Cubs game in person was a dream come true!
The date was May 17, 1979, and the Cubs were taking on the Philadelphia Phillies. Our group of elementary school students got our first glimpse of heaven, as we looked out over historic Wrigley Field from the bleachers in right-center field. There are no words to describe the feeling that this fourth grader had at that time. The wind was blowing out that day and we settled in for an experience we would all remember for the rest of our lives.
The Phillies scored seven runs in the first inning and sent starting Cub pitcher, Dennis Lamp, to the showers before he even worked up a sweat. However, my beloved Cubs came right back with six runs of their own, and at the end of the first inning the score was 7-6. We knew then this was not going to be a normal Major League baseball game. The Phillies went on to score eight runs in the third inning and built a 17-6 lead, and things weren't looking too bright for my Cubbies. However, my favorite player, Dave Kingman, was belting homers every other at-bat, and my second favorite player, Bill Buckner, hit a grand slam right near our group of Safety Patrol members. At the end of nine innings the game was miraculously tied, 22-22.
In the top of the tenth, Mike Schmidt hit his second homer of the game off Cub reliever Bruce Sutter to put the Phillies ahead 23-22. I wasn't worried though, as Kingman, who already had three home runs, was coming to bat for us in the bottom of the tenth. I remember standing up with the rest of the Cub faithful, pointing towards the left field bleachers, and shouting at the top of my little lungs, "NUMBER 4! NUMBER 4!" in the hopes that he would tie the game again with one swing. Rawley Eastwick, the fifth Phillies pitcher of the day, sent his best fastball hurtling towards home plate. Kingman took a mighty swing, and, with the crack of the bat, we all knew the game was going to be tied. His towering shot went high into the air and began its long decent towards the bleachers in left field. However, the ball fell just short, as did the Cubs' hopes of winning that day.
The game featured eleven home runs, fifty hits, and set many Major League records. More importantly, though, it was a magical day that all of us kids will never, ever forget.especially me. If it weren't for a fourth grader named Mike DiSalvo who was wise far beyond his years, I would not have been there that day to experience my first Cubs game.
I have lost track of my childhood friends since we moved to Wisconsin back in 1980. However, my guess is that Mike DiSalvo is the CEO of some Fortune 500 company, and that he regularly gives out Cub tickets to schools to be used by the brave young boys and girls of the Safety Patrol.
Michael T. Powers, Copyright © 2000
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Michael T. Powers, the founder of HeartTouchers.com and Heart4Teens.com, is the youth pastor at Faith Community Church in Janesville, WI. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi and proud father of two rambunctious boys: Caleb & Connor. In his spare time he loves coaching the JV Lady Cougars basketball team in Clinton, Wisconsin.
He is also an author with stories in 20 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. To preview his books or to join the thousands of world wide readers on his inspirational e-mail lists, visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com
Most importantly, Michael believes that life is not about religion, but about a relationship -- a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Thought For The Day:
"No matter what a man's past may have been, his future is spotless." --John R. Rice
Verse for the Day:
"...forgetting those thngs which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before."--Phillipians 3:13
Kid's Thought for the Day:
"Lunch tastes better out of a Batman lunchbox, than out of a brown paper bag."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"Some parents bring up their children solely on thunder and lightning. But thunder and lightning never yet made anything grow."
Coach's Thought For The Day
"It takes less time to do a thing right then it takes to explain why you did it wrong."
Writer's Thought For The Day:
"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it." --William Styron
Deep Thought For The Day:
When I was a kid, we walked 10 miles to school every day, sometimes in the rain or snow. Man, did we feel foolish when we found out there was a bus.
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MICHAEL T. POWERS
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
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I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL
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