FLY THE W

A Chicago Tradition, Rich Paschall, Sunday Night Blog


If you watched the National League baseball playoff games, or the World Series, you may have noticed many Chicago Cubs fans with white flags.  No, they were not trying to signal surrender.  The flags have a large blue “W” in the center, signifying a Win for our local heroes.  With a little clever marketing and the help of social media, #FlytheW  began to appear everywhere.  Cubs fans were buying up these flags for their houses, their cars and to take to the ballpark.  While it was only a minor thing in recent years, it has exploded into a giant marketing gimmick this year.

By JayCoop - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

By JayCoop – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

It is not something new to the guys who run the old mechanical scoreboard in center field.  Yes, the big metal board is still out there and an iconic part of the ballpark.  No modern digital board can replace it, although we have added those during the recent outfield renovation.

Soon after the old scoreboard was finished in 1937, the team adopted the practice of flying a flag after the game to signal whether the team won or not.  A blue flag with a white “L” would signify a loss.  There were important reasons for these flags.

Before the era of hand held devices with sports apps, before even the transistor radio, a main way for fans to learn the outcome of the game, was to look up at the scoreboard.  If you did not catch the game on the radio or find the score in the afternoon papers, the Daily News or the Chicago American, you could see the result flying from above Wrigley Field.  Before television, and before the internet, you might want to know what color flag was raised after the game of the day (no night games for us until 1988).

I am not sure exactly when I was lucky enough to own a transistor radio, but before that it could be hard for us to run down the result of the game.  We lived close enough to the park to ride our bikes to the field to see the flags.  People going home on the Howard-Englewood “L” train (now the Red Line) could look west from the Addison stop to see if the team had a victory.  It was important way to spread the news to the North Siders.Cubs L flag

For most years of my young life we were more likely to find the “L” flying over the park.  Whether we were in the park or just hanging around outside, it was a rare day when we saw the white flag go up.  With every blue flag came the belief that tomorrow, or at least next year, we would begin to see the “W” more often.

Via Ron Cogswell

Via Ron Cogswell

If the need to signal the neighborhood with the outcome of the game has long passed, the tradition of flying the flag remains.  When the game is over, all the little pennants with the National League team names on them are taken down and the “L” or the “W” rises.  On double header days, you might find both flying at the end of the games.  Double headers, of course, are now a rare occasion.

This year we have been treated to many Wins in the “Friendly Confines,” as former MVP Ernie Banks used to call the park.  Local flag makers had trouble keeping up with the surprising demand for W flags big and small.  We have taken a long standing practice at the park and turned it a national phenomenon for our national pastime.

Cubs Win

Cubs Win, Cubs Win, Cubs Win.  Holy Cow!

Longtime Chicago broadcaster Harry Caray (11 years with the White Sox, 16 years with the Cubs), hoped to see that “W” over a World Series.  He did not live to see it, but he promised us it would happen.  He died at the age of 83 or around that (another story) and saw many flags fly over the park, but not the most important one.  A statue of Caray is now outside the park.

Some years, he was much more popular than the “loveable losers” the Cubs had on the field.  It seemed unfair he missed out, so a long time sponsor arranged for the flag and Harry to make to Cleveland for the final call.  You can fly the “W” now, Harry.  We finally made it.

KISS OF FIRE – GEORGIA GIBBS – 1952

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Funny how the language of love is all about fire.

Your former relationships are “old flames.” If you love someone, but have not declared yourself, you are “carrying a torch.” When a relationship gets tired and the chemistry is gone, we say “the fire has gone out.” A powerful yearning for someone is a “burning passion.”

I had this song on a 45 rpm vinyl record. I don’t remember what was on the flip side. I was five. I memorized the words and have been howling it ever since. If I’m in the right mood, I will still howl this to Garry. It makes his hearing aids produce feedback.

I particularly like when she sings: “If I’m a slave, then it’s a slave I want to be. DON’T PITY ME. DON’T PITY ME!”

KISS OF FIRE

I touch your lips and all at once the sparks go flying
Those devil lips that know so well the art of lying
And though I see the danger, still the flame grows higher
I know I must surrender to your kiss of fire

Just like a torch, you set the soul within me burning
I must go on along this road of no returning
And though it burns me and it turns me into ashes
My whole world crashes without your kiss of fire

I can’t resist you, what good is there in trying
What good is there denying you’re all that I desire
Since first I kissed you my heart was yours completely
If I’m a slave, then it’s a slave I want to be
Don’t pity me, don’t pity me

Give me your lips, the lips you only let me borrow
Love me tonight and let the devil take tomorrow
I know that I must have your kiss although it dooms me
Though it consumes me, your kiss of fire
Since first I kissed you my heart was yours completely
If I’m a slave, then it’s a slave I want to be
Don’t pity me, don’t pity me

Give me your lips, the lips you only let me borrow
Love me tonight and let the devil take tomorrow
I know that I must have your kiss although it dooms me
Though it consumes me, your kiss of fire….

And just for the fun of it, this is Hugh Laurie’s (yes, Dr. House) version:

This is absolutely the most wonderful, passionate, totally over-the-top love song ever recorded.  Have a great weekend!

FLAMES | THE DAILY POST

A TINY CHURCH WITH A BIG HISTORY

WordPress WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: TINY

It’s a tiny church hidden behind houses in Amherst. If you don’t know to look, you would never find it. About the size of my living room and dining room combined, the cross on top is a bit crooked. Such a small church, such a proud history.

Goodwin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - 1910

Goodwin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – 1910

The Goodwin Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is a historic church on Woodside Avenue in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Built in 1910, the church is on a narrow lane in an otherwise residential neighborhood. It is about 25 feet by 50 feet, in the Craftsman style popular at the time of its construction. It remains essentially the same since being built.

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The church is named for Moses Goodwin, a local resident and parishioner. It was the second building for the African-American congregation that occupies it. The first — built in 1869 on a nearby lot — was demolished in 1917. It continues to be a social and religious center for Amherst’s African-American community.

Zion Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

DOORWAYS AND ENTRANCES – THE FUN PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Entrances and Doors


And now, for a few pictures that have nothing to do with the election except that some of them were taken on Election Day.

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The blue door house in the middle of town. Election Day 2016.

An entryway and door in one of the rather pricey areas of Beacon Hill. Okay, they are all pricey. Some are just breathtakingly expensive. Others? Just a couple of million dollars with a likely discount for cash.

An entryway and door in one of the rather pricey areas of Beacon Hill. Okay, they are all pricey. Some are just breathtakingly expensive. Others? Just a few million dollars — but probably they’ll give a cash discount.

The door of the Baptist Church on the north end of town.

The door of the Baptist Church on the north end of town.

cee's fun foto chall