Cubs prove that "curses; can be broken, and that is a lesson for all of us

  • Written by Claudia Parker


In game seven of the World Series on Nov 2 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, the Cubs battled the Indians valiantly and won the series 4-3. It’s estimated that 40 million viewers watched the tumultuous, rollercoaster, win unfold.  

“Mom, I’ve never seen you interested in watching baseball,” stated my 9-year-old daughter, Donae.

“Are you kidding me?” I yapped with eyes glued to the television and heart pumping. It was the eighth inning, with the Cubs leading 6-4, and here comes Rajai Davis tying the game with a two-run home run off pitcher Aroldis Chapman. “My interest isn’t necessarily in baseball. I’m interested in watching history as it develops!”

And oh yes, history was made all right. Those Cubbies proved they could overcome in the 10th inning when they took home the World Series title they’ve sought for 108 years. Their win was so monumental, local news reported five million fans from all over the United States poured into Chicago streets and into Grant Park smothering the grass for the celebration. It’s now considered the seventh-largest gathering in human history.

It took a lot of grit, but with the right players, skill, tenacity and faith-filled fans, the dreadful curse was finally overturned. That was some kind of curse and as the legend is told, all it took was the spoken words of one angry fan.

For those unfamiliar with the story, a man by the name of William (Billy) Sianis had a pet goat named Murphy whom he brought to Wrigley Field for game four as the Cubs played the Detroit Tigers in the 1945 World Series.

Apparently, several fans complained about Murphy’s odor and petitioned that he be removed from the ballpark. While Sianis’ exact words are unknown, it’s been recounted throughout the years that he vowed with assurance the Cubs would never see another World Series title again. Imagine that -- all with the utterance of the tongue.

And so it was so for 71 years!

Mr. Sianis passed away in October of 1970. However, it’s been stated that he allegedly regretted his curse and attempted to break it to no avail.

How many times have we said something we’ve regretted and thought we could fix it with an apology only to find we’ve done irreversible damage?

Proverbs 18:21 tells us that, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

It’s not only irresponsible to spout off at the mouth, it’s dangerous. There’s far more at risk than losing baseball games. There are people walking around like the living dead, unable to move passed the hurtful things that have been spoken over them. And the offenders in some cases justify themselves with comments like, “Well, the truth hurts,” or “I’m just telling it like it is…”

If I were you, I would proceed with caution. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Yes, Matthew 7:2 has sobered up my slur of the tongue of various occasions. Sometimes we have to self-reflect when people come against us and ask, “Are they sowing negative seed or am I reaping the harvest of mine?”

As we enter into the holiday season, let's make it our mission to speak life over people. Let's help to lift the curse of someone’s low self-esteem, depression and anxiety with words of kindness, affirmation, encouragement and love. I believe you will reap bountifully, as the Lord your God will set you above and not beneath and cause His blessings to overtake you. One of my favorite acronyms is … Think!

Before you speak, consider the following.

T – is it true?

H – is it helpful?

I – is it inspiring?

N – is it necessary?

K – is it kind?

Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter.

Next year is here for World Series champion Cubs

  • Written by Joe Boyle


The Chicago Cubs are the World Series champions. That is worth repeating. The Cubs are indeed the World Series champs.

No more goats, college of coaches, black cats, outfielder Larry Biitner losing a fly ball in his cap, Gatorade-drenched gloves, or a poor, tortured fan going for a foul ball. No more curses or other folklore to explain another losing season. “Cubbie occurrences” have given way to a World Series trophy.

The Cubs defeated the American League champion Cleveland Indians in seven games, capped by a thrilling and often heart-stopping 8-7 triumph in 10 innings. The celebration took place on Nov. 2 at Cleveland's Progressive Field. Cub fans were nervous when the Indians had taken a 3-1 game lead in the series with a 7-2 win in game four at Wrigley Field.

But the Chicago Cubs, favored by many sportswriters to the win the National League title and the World Series, did what teams do that win 103 regular season games. They reached back for something extra. They battled and fought and won three straight games over Cleveland.

The result was the end of a 108-year drought. Cub fans had just gotten used to winning a National League title for the first time in 71 years. The World Series championship is the culmination of a great season and the end of years of frustrations for Cub fans.

The Chicago Cubs are indeed World Series champs. This is no joke. The wait is over and the celebrations can continue.

I watched the series with great interest. Being a White Sox fan, I could watch the World Series objectively. I'm a Sox fan but I'm a baseball fan. I watch the playoffs and World Series every year. This was quite exciting. Game seven was as thrilling as it gets and compares to the 1991 Minnesota Twins 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in 10 innings of that finale.

So I think we all can salute what the Cubs did this year. I salute the long-suffering Cub fans, like my brother-in-law who was born 71 years ago, which was the last time the Cubs won a National League championship before losing to Detroit in seven games in that Word Series.

I salute the fans who stuck with this team when the upper deck was closed off for many games during the 1960s because of low attendance. I salute the fans who cheered the Cubs during the magical 1969 season only to face the first of many disappointments as the Amazin' Mets raced past them and went on to win a World Series.

The fans who stuck with those lackluster Cub teams of the 1970s deserve to celebrate. This World Series was for them. Some of the younger fans are ecstatic, but they did not have to go through those many lean years.

So this World Series is for those Cubs who are no longer here, like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Milt Pappas. This World Series is also for Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger and Randy Hundley.

And Cub fans from the 1960s can also point to second baseman Kenny Hubbs. The Rookie of the Year in 1962, Hubbs was a close friend of Santo. He died in a plane crash on Feb. 15, 1964 at the age of 22. This World Series title is for all of them along with the fans.

Watching the World Series win and the parade brought back memories for me from 11 years ago. I heard some of the same stories from people have been waiting for years and resigned to the fact it may never happen. Sons and daughters showed up at Wrigley Field or in Cleveland for the final game to represent their fathers, mothers, relatives or friends who have since died and not able to witness a Cubs World Series championship.

Visits to local cemeteries had headstones covered with Cub memorabilia. That was a similar scene from 11 years ago where White Sox pennants and trinkets can be found along graves like Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

I’m glad the Cubs won. I have nothing against the Indians. They were an outstanding team who won the American League championship without their best player, outfielder Michael Brantley, and two starting pitchers.

But this was the Cubs year. This Cub team is growing into a powerhouse. And in a couple of years when Theo Epstein and the Ricketts family create their own network, this National League team will be raking in millions and millions. They should be a contender for years to come.

Cub fans will have to get used to that. They are no longer loveable losers or the underdogs. The Cubs are World Series champions. It may still take a while to get used to that.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


For fabulous food, my vote goes to Chicago

  • Written by Joe Boyle

As we wind down to the presidential election, a few things occurred to me about polls. I mention polls because we cannot escape them. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a substantial lead in various polls the last month. But a recent Washington Post poll indicated that the race is nearly deadlocked.

So, what gives? I have found that some of these polls are little fickle. They tend to be immediate and respond to recent news events. In the case of the race between Clinton and reality TV star Donald Trump, that means just about every day there are new headlines. Clinton had taken a surmountable lead after reports that Trump had groped various women and had been making disparaging remarks about them as well.

Clinton began to rise in the polls after those reports until this past week. The FBI has indicated they are reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails. It has something to do with disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is also the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, the top aide for Clinton. FBI director James Comey said Friday that there might be more unread emails from Clinton, or about Clinton, in regards to Weiner, who can’t seem to stop from texting messages and sending lurid cellphone photos of himself to women and girls.

I don’t oppose polls. They provide a barometer of what people are thinking about at a given time.

Last month, we received information about World Food Day, which was Oct. 16. The personal-finance website WalletHub took a survey of the “Best and Worst Foodie Cities.” The criteria for some of these polls or surveys are somewhat vague. Perhaps I should become more knowledgeable about these lists. For instance, I did not know Oct. 16 was World Food Day.

But in terms of food, I would believe Chicago would rank right up there with the best. I think most Chicagoans, even Cubs and White Sox fans, would agree that the food in restaurants and fast food chains would be near the top.

WalletHub compared the 150 most populated cities across 21 key metrics, ranging from “cost of groceries” to “affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants” to “number of food festivals per capita” for their list.

According to WalletHub, Orlando ranks first, followed by Portland, Ore.; Miami, Tampa and San Francisco. Looking over the top five, I could see San Francisco in there. I’m not sure why Orlando is at the top. Disney World is there and other themed amusement parks are there. Maybe the quality of food for the amount you pay is a bargain.

So I look over the list from six to 10 expecting to see Chicago in there. But to my surprise, it is nowhere to be seen. The rest of the top 10 includes Cincinnati, St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Richmond, Va. I’ve been to Cincinnati and don’t recall being knocked out by the quality of the food or their prices. St. Louis has a range of quality restaurants. I won’t argue with that.

But so far I have not seen Chicago. For that matter, I have not seen Los Angeles, New York City and Boston. Turns out I have to keep going deeper into this list. Boston shows up at 51st. The food I had in Boston was very good. Maybe it is down on the list because of expense. Los Angeles shows up as 53rd on the WalletHub list. Right after LA is New York City at 54th. Again, I try to reason that the food in their restaurants is too pricy.

But I still have not seen Chicago. I have to continue to go through the list and there it is, at 70th. How can this be? Chicago has expensive restaurants, but it also has reasonably-priced items at restaurants in the city and the suburbs. All you have to do is go through the southwest suburbs and most residents can find a restaurant they like that doesn’t dig too deep into their pocketbook.

Bakersfield, Calif., for instance, ranks higher than Chicago at 56th on the list. And in the case of pizza, name another American city that has better quality pizza than Chicago? I’ve gone to other cities and towns and I’m disappointed in the quality of pizza. I’ve always said that even our more marginal pizzas are superior to what I’ve eaten elsewhere.

I guess it could be worse. We could live in Aurora, Ill., which ranks 145th. North Las Vegas is last on the WalletHub list at 150th.

According to WalletHub, Orlando has the most restaurants per 100,000 residents. But they don’t point out the quality of the restaurants or the overall prices. That’s great that Orlando has a lot of restaurants in comparison to their population, but I believe Chicago can match that.

These polls just show latest fads and trends. Like the presidential election, people will decide what is best. Just pass me a thin slice or a deep dish pizza. I don’t need a poll or survey to tell me that Chicago food ranks with the best.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .




Faith is rewarded beyond the summer bash

  • Written by Claudia Parker



My track record has proven that my faith can manifest almost anything I desire. I’ve tested this theory from the supernatural (prayer changes things) to the superficial. A couple of tangible items my faith has relinquished include acquiring ownership of a vacation timeshare for $99 valued at $30,000 and a $45,000 Buick Enclave that I won on a TV show.

I also exercise my faith for trivial items, such as concert tickets. Every time my eyes lock on one of those radio station mobiles, I’ve been known to walk away with something free in my palm. I always believe I’m going to win and as a result, I usually do. But, in June of 2014, things didn’t look like they were going in my favor.

Chicago’s Pop chart FM station 96.3, also known as B96, had a mobile at the Walgreens on the corner of 87th and Kedzie Avenue. It was swarming with people attempting to win a pair of Summer Bash concert tickets. I figured whatever prize I gained could take care of the expenses for a much needed child-free evening out for me and my husband, Don.

I hurriedly scribbled my info onto the entry ticket. I had a smolder face as I placed it inside the fishbowl. It was just before 2 p.m., the last drawing of the day. This 20-something dude in skinny jeans was yelling out contest rules. “The form must be filled out in its entirety with accurate information,” he snapped. He was a radio station disc jockey with a drill sergeant personality. Once all entries were obtained, he started announcing winners. I moved to the front, certain I’d be called. Three pair of tickets were awarded and I wasn’t one of them.

So it seemed!

I thought, “That can’t be right. I always win.” Dumbfounded by the upset, I just stood there. The crowd quickly dissipated. Those that remained were the B96 employees and the rightful winners of the drawing. I didn’t leave because I couldn’t accept that my name hadn’t been called. My reputation was on the line, I had assured Don I’d be home with something good.

As I stared disappointedly as the winners collected their prizes, my attention turned to Mr. skinny-jeans. “The address on your contest entry doesn’t match your driver’s license,” he scolded. “Your entry is disqualified.” He then turned to those of us still present and pulled another name from the fishbowl.

Yep -- my name! I was the only eligible contestant because the others present had already won and were filling out prize claim forms. The concert took place at Toyota Park on June, 14, 2014 and included Jennifer Lopez (J. Lo) , Pitt Bull, Austin Mahone, Jason Derulo, Iggy Azalea, Little Mix, Chelle Rae, Icona Pop and G.R.L.

Don and I had no idea who 80 percent of the lineup even was. It wasn’t an ideal date for a couple in their 40s. We were surrounded by screaming teenagers who wept at the sight of some of the acts. We cried too, from laughing hysterically. We got into a groove when J. Lo came on stage though, finally someone from our era. “Next time I’ll be more specific in the criteria I desire when I put my faith in motion,” I told Don.

He and I have been together for 18 years and married for 14. Throughout the years he’s seen God move various times in our lives as a result of my faith. He said, “Your faith gives you special powers, now you just need to hone it and start believing we’re going to be millionaires.”

I have bigger things to believe in God for than money. I have faith that my daughter, Rhonda-Rene, who has a severe language disorder called apraxia, will one day speak effortlessly. I have faith that my siblings, whom I lost connection with after the passing of our mother, and I will reunite and re-establish the closeness we once shared. I have faith that my memoir, “Becoming a Mother While Losing My Own,” will gain international success and perhaps even grace the silver screen.

And while it may appear to many that I’m standing dumbfounded, refusing to accept the reality before me, I will remain immovable in my faith just like I did on the corner of 87th and Kedzie. As long as I don’t move, I will hear the voice of authority call my name and reward me with what I’ve been waiting for.

Claudia Parker is an Evergreen Park mother, author and runner whose columns appear in The Reporter.


Businesses make profit and customers get good night's sleep

  • Written by Joe Boyle

The presidential nominees have discussed the state of the national economy – that is when they take a break from calling for a jail sentence for one candidate while the other is accused of not being fit for office.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, expected conditions over the next six months should improve. However, that as offset by significantly weaker inventories and hard-to-fill job openings.

Conditions in Illinois typically reflect national trends, said Kim Clarke-Maisch, state director of NFIB. She said there is room for improvement.

One way of looking at it is that “we improved from awful to bad,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB president and CEO. “The bottom line is that small business owners are deeply uncertain about the future, and that is affecting their decisions.”

The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism dipped 0.03 points in September for the second consecutive month. Increased inventories fell seven points while hard-to-fill job openings plunged six points, landing at 24 percent. Six of the 10 indexes dropped, washing away the rise in expected business conditions.

Small businesses won’t be hiring or building inventories, according to Bill Dunkelberg, the NFIB chief economist. The top issues for small business owners will not be addressed this year, he said. And he points to that heated presidential election as one reason way.

“The presidential election is so divisive that it offers little promise of a bipartisan effort to deal with any of these important issues,” said Dunkelberg.

We have come a long way from the Great Recession, but I agree with the NFIB officials. The legislators in Washington, D.C. are so polarized, Illinois included, that little gets done. Compromise has become a dirty word. The finger-pointing in this presidential campaign has dampened the mood of small business.

But I wonder if there are some businesses that are prospering despite the political climate. And one look at some local suburbs indicates to me that there is one item that is registering high sales. All you have to consider is what most of us want – a good night’s sleep.

All you have to do is drive along some main arteries and strip malls and you see them. Mattress stores seem to be everywhere. I was driving along 95th Street in Oak Lawn and saw about four or five in just over a mile. Ken Murphy, the CEO of Mattress Firm, agrees that Chicago has probably too many stores. But the reason you see so many mattress stores is because of a series of acquisitions by Mattress Firm. In the best markets, Houston-based Mattress Firm aims to have a store for about every 50,000 people. Right now, that company exceeds that limit.

But my main question is why? Some duplicate or unprofitable stores will be closing but not right away. I actually confirmed that belief with an employee at a Mattress Firm. This person has been told that stores will be closing within the next year. Most closures will come as store leases end.

It just seems odd that an item that used to be purchased let’s say every decade or so has become so plentiful, and in many cases, profitable. Roughly 9,000 specialty bed and mattress stores in the U.S. generated about $11.5 billion in revenue in 2015, according to a report last year from market research firm IbisWorld.

But again, why is there so many?

A new mattress was an easy purchase to delay during the recession. That resulted in more demand as the economy slightly improved. Industry analysts also said an increase in bedbug infestations may have been the reason for a hike in sales. Mattresses are a high-margin product because stores do not need that many employees. Each location does not have to sell a huge number of mattresses to break even, according to industry analysts.

These mattress stores are profitable for the owners. I don’t know how well the employees do. One facility I went to had a young woman working evenings. I noticed there was not a rush of people coming in. After talking to her, I learned she was the store manager. Of course, she was the only employee. She explained that if a couple of people come in and purchase a mattress, it was a good day for her.

I guess the bottom line is that these mattress stores will continue to be profitable for the employers. I’m not so sure about the employees over time. But I’m all for a new mattress. The economy may be uncertain but we might as well get a good night’s sleep.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .