Saturday, March 06, 2010

In Honor of Spring Training

I love finding a connection between work and baseball. A Chicago Tribune article last summer alerted me to the latest in eternal resting places. We all know I'm not a Cubs fan but I have to give props to Beyond the Vines for creating "eternal luxury skyboxes for Cubs fans." The 24-foot-long brick monument, located at Bohemian National Cemetery, is designed to look like the ivy wall at Wrigley and holds 280 niches, aka eternal skyboxes, and the MLB-approved urns have the Cubs logo on them.

We White Sox fans might not have our own version of Beyond the Vines but I think this story is even better. My good friend Brooke was blessed to be born into a family of die-hard White Sox fans. Her dad Tom never missed a home opener until he died during our sophomore year of college, a little more than a month before the 2000 season was to begin. That's when I started going to the home openers with the family, in his honor. The White Sox organization sent a special letter to Brooke's mom acknowledging the loss of a super fan and also paid tribute with a message on the scoreboard during the 4th inning. Fast forward to 2005. After congratulating ourselves on having partial season tickets for an incredible year of baseball playing, Brooke and I tried our hardest to get tickets to the World Series but didn't get through on Ticketmaster and neither of us could afford the scalpers' prices. However, her uncle managed to be invited by a friend. Before Game 1 started, he surreptitiously spread a little bit of Tom's ashes on the field for good luck. And what do you know? We won that game and continued on to sweep the World Series! (Note: In general, it's a good idea to ask permission before spreading ashes on private property or in public places; if you don't have it in writing, it could be considered a misdemeanor. White Sox officials were notified about Brooke's uncle's actions when the Chicago Sun ran a World Series-related article. As I recall they didn't seem too stressed about it but they also didn't want a mass spreading of cremated remains either. Other interesting places people spread ashes.)

You might want to shake your head and say, "only in Chicago" but, actually, the Phillies' urn was the first to be designed. People have been tying their final arrangements to their baseball (or football or basketball or...) allegiance for years. It only makes sense that someone would capitalize on this service. Do you know of any other sports-related memorial stories?

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