It was hot. Not your average sunny hot day in the city, rather one that reminded me of my time in the Middle East living on the Arabian Sea. The air was still as death on the field and I could hear one Cubs employee say to another, “The temperature is 105 in the bullpen.” I’m talking face melting hot. Not a cloud in the sky to bring relief or comfort, or a rainbow for that matter. So, we brought our own! Out at Wrigley was such a great success this year. Although I struggled with the heat it didn’t stop over 500 people from celebrating MTM’s event. Half of those in attendance braved the heat at Wrigley field and enjoyed the All-American ambiance while the other half enjoyed the view from a rooftop that sported a rainbow flag. It was apparent that the pride was strong at Wrigley that day.
We stood proudly atop the on deck circle waiting for the winner of the Out at Wrigley first pitch contest to give it his best. Sean Donnell made us proud with a first pitch that put Obama’s first pitches to shame. “I was nervous, but it was fun,” says Donnell. “Last time I thought a pitch of mine was that important I was playing at age 12.” Out at Wrigley also sponsored a contest to choose who would sing the national anthem. After weeks of fierce competition the winner, Kayla Brown was chosen. “On a scale of 1 to 10 of nervousness…I was at an 11,” Brown said immediately after finishing. Brown’s voice was amazing, sending shivers down my spine. Brown is no stranger to the microphone. She sings for a band called Darling Disarm. “This is a huge step up from our small town bar gigs!” Brown clenched her chest and exclaimed, “I thought it was as if I was about to have a heart attack!” She went on to tell me how amazing it was to sing in front of her grandparents, family, and friends some who came all the way from Champaign.
As pregame ended we made our way to the stands where we could see many in attendance wearing the Out at Wrigley T-shirts. As luck would have it they were all in a cooler shaded area where a breeze was evident. The smiles on everyone’s faces were contagious and we could see the party had begun even before the first pitch.
I have to say thanks to MTM for creating the event. The Chicago Cubs support and appreciate all their fans. One of the owners, Laura Ricketts said, “The Cubs realize how many LGBT fans we have. We are in a neighborhood with a large LGBT population and we love our neighbors!” Keep an eye open for next year’s Out at Wrigley event if you missed it this year. It’s a game not to miss!!!! Who knows! Maybe it’ll be you throwing out the first pitch!!!
We then raced as fast as we could to a few hot spots to where the ladies would be gathered for the women’s World Cup final! The United States was facing underdog team Japan. It was 1999 that the US last won and everyone was ready for the US to pull it off again with favorite Germany out of the running. We first headed to Crew where we found not an empty seat. Women were huddled shoulder to shoulder around the tables and at the bar, often in silence. With a zero- zero score anticipation was heavy and the focus on the game was intense!
We asked a number of women where they were when the US last won. One spectator said, “I was at my grandparents for their wedding anniversary. It was great! But, when Brandi Chastain took her shirt off after the winning penalty kick I became very confused. I didn’t know if I wanted to be her or be “with” her!” One thing was for sure, EVERYONE could tell me where they were, who they were with and exactly what they were doing that day.
We headed to out to DS Tequila to watch the second half. When we walked in the place was packed with women cheering and chanting for the US. I was happy to see so many fans out sporting the red, white, and blue. Ironically, I was meeting up with the same friend I was with when the women won it the summer of ’99. We were coaching a U-12 select team at the time and were at a tourney. I can remember being huddle around the one TV at the concession stand with every hopeful little girl and father alike. DS had that same angst about it that the concession stand did so many years back. Unfortunately, the results were not the same. As Hope Solo let each free kick by her you could feel the heaviness of the hearts in the room grow. Eventually, the game came to a close with silence overwhelming the bar, mouths gaping open, and a near tearful expression was on every woman’s face. That was until one brave soul took the moment by surprise and began chanting “USA! USA!” The rest of the room joined half heartedly and as tears went in beers the day forged on.
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About The Athlesbian
Meg was born and raised in Chicago where she became an avid sports fan the moment she laid her eyes on her first ball. She has a knack for picking up any sport quickly as most four sport high school athletes would. Meghan played two sports in college and spent her post college years playing women’s pro football, capturing a national title, before having to quit due to injury. She still plays numerous sports in rec leagues around the city and boasts at a recent team tryout knocked out 51 consecutive push-ups in a minute. Always willing to try something new she just played in her first rugby match. Meghan currently works as a fire-medic and is finishing her Master’s degree from University of Chicago, and no, unfortunately, its not in sports reporting!