I may not have remembered where I was 40 years ago when man first lanced on the moon. And I can pretty much guarantee that by next week, I will have forgotten all the circumstances surrounding Michael Jackson’s death, regardless of the fact that I spent roughly 150 hours watching CNN’s coverage of it.
But I don’t think I will ever forget where I was when White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle threw his perfect game.
At first, of course, I was annoyed that I wasn’t there because I briefly considered covering the game today for ESPNChicago.com. I was scheduled to make a book talk tonight at a library in Chicago’s South suburbs, not all that far from U.S. Cellular Field, and I thought maybe I could make both.
But then today’s Chicago Sun-Times came out with a long confession from former Sox pitcher Jim Parque, who admitted taking performance-enhancing drugs, and I decided I could write from home and still make the speech.
So there I was, minding my own business and writing about Parque, when I dropped my friend and Tribune columnist Rick Morrissey one of my typical glib little e-mails. Rick was at the Sox game and dropped me a glib reply, mentioning that his column and thus, his afternoon, would soon be screwed up by the fact that Buehrle was in the seventh inning of a perfect game.
I understood completely. In the business, this is known as rooting for yourself. Rick had already filed a column on Jim Parque. Maybe he’d spruce it up a little. But he would not have to write an entirely new column as he would now have to do if Buehrle threw a perfect game.
I told him that now that he had officially jinxed Buehrle, his worries were over (in the business, this is known as the double-jinx as I was thus negating the first jinx by telling him his worries were over). I fully expect Rick to slug me in the arm next time he sees me.
Anyway, I thanked Rick for alerting me and immediately turned on the game. Glancing nervously at the clock, I tried to will the game to slow down so that my son Alec would get home from camp in time to catch at least some of it.
Having forced my children to become White Sox fans as soon as they were old enough to understand, Alec is now in love with the team and with Buehrle, in particular. I briefly debated whether it would be in good taste to call my friend who was driving carpool from camp and ask her to drive faster. But she and her family are Cubs fans and I figured she would be indifferent to my plea.
Thankfully, Alec made it as the ninth inning was starting and he was as excited as I was.
(Note: I’ve noticed since not working for the Tribune that I have regained my ability to occasionally scream at the TV and the games therein – both in anguish and glee. I’m not sure what to make of this but it worked for me today.)
The first batter of the inning hit a long line drive to centerfield and, exhibiting all of my best motherly qualities, I cursed loudly. But then Sox centerfielder Dewayne Wise made a leaping, perfect-game-saving, home run-robbing catch with a bobble and re-catch in between, and Alec and I shrieked, hugged (my idea) and high-fived (his).
The second batter struck out as we tried to pull ourselves together. And then came the final out – on a groundball to the shortstop — and Alec and I experienced a mother-son moment that I will never forget.
This was a hug that exhibited the deep and genuine love that can only truly be experienced when your quirky shortstop has kept his throw to first in the field of play.
Alec ran off to call friends and I ran off to bother Mark Buehrle’s family for another story before heading off to the library.
I am now writing this in the car – no worries, I’m not driving – on the way home. Two stories and a blog later, I am left fulfilled, stimulated and grateful.
I had a moment I know I will always remember. And a hug I will never forget.