As college sorority sisters and former neighbors, Barb Tsutsumi of Arlington Heights, Kathy Volz of Elgin and Sherry Sichak of Naperville have been close friends for years. Their respective heartbreaks have only deepened those ties.
Tsutsumi's son, Dan, a Marine who finished two tours in Iraq, became quadriplegic in 2012 in a swimming accident at North Avenue Beach. Volz lost her husband, Pete, over the holidays in 2010 after he fell down the stairs and broke his neck. Her son Bob, a surgeon, died in 2015 after doctors found an aggressive tumor lodged between his heart and lungs. Sichak's son Paul, 33, overcame a childhood diagnosis of leukemia.
The women are rooting hard for the Chicago Cubs to get to the World Series. But hearing the term "heartbreak" to describe the loss of a close game has given them some pause.
"I hear that, 'What a heartbreaking loss, what a devastating loss.' But (the players) will wake up alive tomorrow. They're spending their careers playing a game they love," Tsutsumi says.
The three don't wish hardships on anyone, but "it's almost like there needs to be an awareness that this is not a heartbreak, but a disappointment," Tsutsumi says.
From the booth
After hearing the women's stories, I brought up the subject to Cubs play-by-play announcer Len Kasper.
"Sports have their own language and jargon, and the tricky thing is, the context matters. So in the context of a huge playoff game, I absolutely would use the word 'heartbreaker' even though I don't mean it literally in the life sense," he says. "A home run is a bomb. Not a real bomb, but it's a sports word. While the Cubs' playoff run has been amazing and full of highs and lows, we just need to remember that it's merely a diversion from real life."
Mass at the park
A 2002 Mundelein Seminary graduate -- who's now the vocations director for the Diocese of Joliet -- is gaining notoriety for holding Mass at Wrigley Field before Sunday home games. The Rev. Burke Masters, a Joliet native, played in the College World Series for Mississippi State University. His services are open to anyone who works at the ballpark. Last Sunday, Cubs catcher Miguel Montero, who'd hit a grand slam the night before, made an appearance.
Toasting, with relief
Schaumburg Business Association President Kaili Harding tells me the number of nominees in various award categories will be expanded on Friday at the 15th annual Toast of Schaumburg.
After months of planning for the event at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, organizers are breathing a sigh of relief that the Cubs aren't scheduled to play that day in the National League championship series. Harding says other nonprofit gala organizers have cited a "Cubs effect," where expected attendees make a last-minute decision to stay home and watch the game instead. More than 400 are expected at the Toast this year.
"Don't worry (Cubs) fans. I have begun an intervention," writes longtime Daily Herald subscriber Kevin Fitzpatrick of Lombard as he shared this snap of almost-2-year-old granddaughter Mya of Aurora petting a goat, a nod to the infamous curse put on the team by a tavern owner asked to leave Wrigley Field with his stinking pet goat. "Like me, Mya is a loyal White Sox fan, but she's been waiting her whole life for a World Series in Chicago," Fitzpatrick cracked. Let's hope this does the trick.
Mark your calendars
Next Monday, I'll be moderating an education funding forum by the Illinois Humanities Council, one of a number in a yearlong, statewide series about public education on the local level.
The 6:30 p.m. forum at Elgin High School, 1200 Maroon Drive, is free and open to the public, with the University of Illinois at Chicago's Pauline Lipman as the keynote speaker. For more information, visit www.ILhumanities.org/education.
Cease and desist
Lawyers for Democratic state Sen. Laura Murphy of Des Plaines are asking WGN-TV to stop running ads from Liberty Principles PAC, a political action committee run by radio host and Wheaton native Dan Proft. The ads describe Murphy as a friend of Democratic House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and say his campaign gave her more than $295,525. The lawyers say Murphy has never "received any financial contribution from Speaker Michael J. Madigan, his own candidate political committee or even any political committees affiliated with Speaker Madigan. The advertisement is simply a lie." A look at Murphy's most recent campaign finance filings shows no direct contributions from Madigan or the campaign funds he controls, though it shows contributions from other Democratic House members. Proft tells me he's standing by the ads. "We won't cease and desist telling the truth about Laura Murphy," he says.