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The ‘Duck and Cover’ Cubs

7 August 2008 No Comment

Midwest kids are taught how to duck and cover from the time they go to pre-school. When the tornado sirens sound, hit the floor, cover your head and ball yourself up as small as possible. Chicago even tests those air raid sirens every first Tuesday of the month.

Monday’s Cubs game against the Astros was not what any fan expected. The first five innings were relatively peaceful. But, we watched as the skies darkened and opened up. It down poured for about 20 minutes and then, I heard a woman, on her cell phone, yell to our section that the news was projecting a tornado (at least, tornado strength winds) coming towards Wrigley. Within moments, the sirens went off and like an elementary school students, I was running for cover. So, was most of the upper deck.
Andrew and I have a general rule since 9-11. If there is danger, run and the other will follow. Sounds crazy but it is best to have a plan when you attend so many games. Case in point: At a Real Madrid match, E.T.A. (a violent separatist organization) called in a bomb threat on the stadium. Players were running from the field and fans in the luxury boxes were jumping out to escape the stadium. I was running at full speed and Andrew was chasing me. Even though we were in the rafters of an 80,000 person stadium, we were one of the first people out.
On this particular Monday, this reflex kicked-in and we made it to the concourse near the Sheffield Ave. exit. Of course, if you can’t duck and cover…what can you do? Well, I positioned myself next to the hotdog and beer vendor. There is a metal storage shed where they store all the wonder bread buns. What else could be safer than a metal shed and Wonder Bread? I envisioned a new “duck and cover”…locking myself into safety with the cushiony protection of piles of Wonder Bread on my head.
As the worst of the storm passed, you could see the 80 m.p.h. winds in the concourse. As it subsided, I saw a crowd of people looking upward and booing. It appeared that the walkway to the Visitors’ Locker room went directly above the crowd. Carlos Lee was peaking out, showing off his Championship Ring and periodically, holding a “WHITE SOX Rule” sign. Booing him and heckling unmentionables, entertained us for a while.
The staff eventually said the game was called so we decided to run back home. We ate dinner and realized that the umpires had not called the game. Soon, the Cubs resumed play, and we ran back over to the stadium expecting to get rejected due to Wrigley’s strict “no re-entry” policy. To our surprise, they were ripping tickets and letting fans back in the stadium.
We got back in the stadium and saw a bunch of dedicated Cubs fans still hanging in there. We even saw a Cubs Elvis – which was a first. Unfortunately, our calm after the storm soon became a calm before the storm. Lightning was striking around the stadium and I heard my headphones and radio crackling with a charge. Within moments, a bolt struck right near the stadium. We could see the strike right by home plate.

Again, we found ourselves ducking for cover for the second time in one night. Finally, the umpires called the game close to midnight. Of course, as with every sports fan, a little rain must fall. But, after fleeing the elements twice in one night, we were more than ready to call it quits.

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