Whenever someone asks where I get my love of sports, my answer comes quickly:Â My dad.Â He’s the one who handed me a catcher’s mitt instead of a Barbie doll, who taught me my first words -Â “Go, Cubs!” -Â who got me to count and spell using a scorecard.
My dad took us everywhere with him – Soldier Field, Wrigley, Comiskey, and the teeth-rattling, cacophonous wonder that was Chicago Stadium for both the Blackhawks and the Bulls.
Well, that’s the family lore, anyway.Â And yes, of course, he did do all those things wonderfully.
But behind him, supporting him, and guiding him the whole way, was my mom.
My mom was a genuine force of nature, the original Tiger Mother. Tough, demanding, unyielding, with unseen powers born ofÂ Greek myth.Â That woman could simply, silently, raise an eyebrow and you’dÂ stop dead in your tracks.Â Not just me and my brother, mind you.Â Any kid within 100 yards of her.Â Â I and all others my age would learn to dread the eyebrow and do much to avoid it.