Respect from/for the Cubs - CONTEST ENTRY
I am a retired US Army soldier who now works for the government, which means I still get deployed, just for more money. I have been a Cubs fan for 45 years now and although we haven't had a championship season since I have been alive; we have had championship calibre players. I am not talking just about season award winners (Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year, or even Hall of Famers), I am talking about Cubs players who actually have a heart.
People who come to my mind immediately are those who have or had great charities such as: Ryan Dempster, Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee. But over my military and government careers I have built a greater respect for other players who have been very accommodating to deployed TTMers. I left the United States for my first time in 1988, where I was sent to serve a 3 year tour in Germany. I was only in country for a week when the USO announced that a couple baseball players were coming to visit troops over the Thanksgiving weekend. The first to come over and visit was a gentleman named Ferguson Jenkins!!!!! I was so excited, he took a picture with me and signed a baseball I purchased at the base PX (store). That day was when I started collecting autographs of Chicago Cubs.
As some of you may know, when a soldier is deployed to a combat zone he/she is authorized to send mail for FREE (under 16 ounces). During my numerous deployments to combat zones (Operation Desert Shield/Storm, OIF, OEF) I have sent out numerous requests, most of them directly to Wrigley Field. My success rate has been outstanding with current and former Cubs players. But, what really astonishes me about the returns is not the fact that my success rate has been so high, but the numerous amounts of letters from the players thanking me for my service so that they can play the game that we love.
I deployed to Afghanistan on 21 Aug 2012. My wife, 2 boys, and I had tickets to the Cubs-Dbacks game on 13 Aug 2012. So we drove from Washington DC to Chicago on the 11th. We showed up for the game early (as me anf the boys always try to obtain autographs before the game). We were standing by the dugout when my son was yelling out to Steve Clevenger that I was leaving the next week for Afghanistan; Steve stopped in his tracks, turned around and came over to talk with my son. He asked how he felt about it and did some small talk with him. Steve then came over to me and shook my hand and wished me good luck and signed everything we had for him. This to me, was one of the most respectful things that has stood out to me.
All of my responses from Chicago Cubs players can be viewed at the website listed in my signature.