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Oddly, last fall’s

baseball playoffs

impressed on me

the importance of

something I’ve never

put much stock in:

family traditions.

During the month of October and into early

November, I suppose I was one of the most

identifiable people on campus. I wore my

vintage Chicago Cubs jacket and cap every

day. My Cubs were in the playoffs and then

went on to win the World Series for the first

time in over 100 years. One CIU student,

Malcolm Campbell who is from Chicago, even

made a special trip to my office just so we

could revel in the good vibes together.

Oddly, last fall’s baseball playoffs impressed

on me the importance of something I’ve never

put much stock in: family traditions.

I remember many years ago listening to a

show about the family on Christian radio. The

importance of developing

family traditions was the

topic. I thought, with all the

challenges the American

family faces, this is the best

they can do for a topic?

Then came last fall. But let

me back up a bit.

I grew up in Michigan City,

Indiana, about 50 miles

across Lake Michigan from

Chicago. My four sisters and

I were raised to be Chicago Cub fans. In those

days WGN television and radio in Chicago

aired every Cubs game. So, when the baseball

season came, even my mother, a housewife,

would substitute all her favorite TV game

shows with Cubs baseball. When I coaxed my

sisters, all older than me, to play whiffle ball in

the back yard, I imagined I was Cub superstar

Ron Santo.

In those days, the Cubs were losing — a lot.

But that didn’t matter.

“Stick with them Cubs,” my dad would

enthusiastically yell to the neighbors after a

rare Cubs win.

Fast forward 50 years. Last October, my adult

son Ryan, also a lifelong Cubs fan, though

raised in the South, joined me and another

Cubs fan – a transplant from Iowa – to watch

the playoffs and World Series. When Ryan

was growing up, we made trips back to the

Midwest giving him opportunity to cheer for

the Cubs alongside father and grandfather in

Wrigley Field, just like I did as a kid.

Throughout the playoffs, my sisters were

calling my mobile phone and texting me. The

family tradition and 21st century technology

was uniting us again, though 850 miles apart.

Then came the dramatic Game 7 of the World

Series. It was full of excitement and agony. My

son nervously kept removing and putting back

on a ratty-looking old Cubs cap. I was too

involved with the game to ask where it came

from. When that last out

finally came making the Cubs

world champions, we took a

celebratory photo in front of

the TV – and Ryan is wearing

that old cap.

As we made our way to our

cars in my friend’s quiet

neighborhood after 1 a.m.

(I had to contain myself real

hard not to yell, “Cubs, win.

Cubs win”) I finally joked with

Ryan, “So you decided to

wear the oldest Cubs cap you could find?”

“This belonged to Grandpa,” he replied. “It

was the only thing I wanted out of his house

after he died.” That was when Ryan was 12

years old. Dad lived to be 78, but of course,

never saw a Cubs championship.

This was about more than baseball and the

Cubs. It was about a family tradition. Just one

of those little building blocks that makes, and

helps keep a family – a family.

“Stick with them Cubs!” We did.

Bob Holmes

CIU Today


That’s me with CIU student

Malcolm Campbell, a senior

from Chicago and a fellow

Cubs fan. Malcom shares the

love of baseball with his mom,

also a lifelong Cubs fan.

“It’s always been a family

thing,” Malcolm said. “She

sent me text messages

during the playoffs, ‘You

watching the Cubs tonight?’

She got out her Cubs gear

and Sammy Sosa jersey.

The Cubs logo is special

because it represents where

I am from, where my family is

from, and is a big part of who

I am.

“You got to root, root,

root for the home team,”

Malcolm added, reciting the

lyrics from “Take Me Out to

the Ballgame.”

The Importance of Family Tradition



CIU Today

Spring 2017