An anniversary of sorts

On Oct. 3, 1998, the Chicago Cubs were preparing to play the Atlanta Braves in Game 3 of the National League Division Series in Chicago.
I, the diehard Cubs fan that I am, was at Macedonia United Methodist Church in Winchester, Va., very far from a television and very close to taking my place at the front of the church.
It was a Saturday afternoon. Strange time to be in a church?
Not if you’re getting married.
And I was.
At the hotel earlier in the morning, after my second trip to the Waffle House that was mere steps outside the front door, my best friend Mike, who would later stand with me as one of my three groomsmen, discussed the possibilities ahead of us.
The Cubs, down 2-0 in the best-of-three series that got off to a bad start after having to play the San Francisco Giants in a one-game playoff to win the wild card, had their pitching rotation all out of whack. It was so bad that Mark Clark started Game 1 of the playoffs for a Cubs team that has not won a World Series since 1908.
As if there weren’t more important things on our minds, we kicked around our strategies. The game was scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and the wedding was at 1 p.m., plenty of time to work the game in. But Mike had a 6-hour drive ahead of him following the reception in the days before XM Radio.
I had… well, I had a wedding night with a lovely new bride.
It all worked out. Mike got home in time to see the Cubs eliminated from the playoffs.
I got to see the first three innings of the game in our suite at a swanky hotel in Northern Virginia. And I’m still married.
To this day, I still don’t know how it happened that, before dinner, the new wife and I settled in to watch a few innings of playoff baseball. But looking back, there’s little doubt that I snagged one heckuva gal. And while it may seem incredibly shallow, it’s one of my favorite memories from that day. It just indicates exactly how lucky I am.
And so here I am, nine years later, and the Cubs are back in the playoffs. This time, Game 1 started at 10 p.m., and I had to work.
But that angel — she’s put up with me for nine years now, so she has to be sent from Heaven — was home after her own long day, still happy to be with me.

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