By Patrick O’Connell, Intern

At the corner of Clark and Addison, a historic landmark resides. Symbolizing over a century of joy and passion, Wrigley Field is home to the beloved Chicago Cubs, whom I had the opportunity to work alongside as a groundskeeper for two summers prior to joining Culloton Strategies. Working on the grounds crew was unforgettable. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, not only because of how hard it is to be hired, but because of the sheer excitement and adrenaline rush of stepping onto that field in front of a sellout crowd.

Rain or shine, win or lose, July or October, the warmth of the stadium is felt through the fans that come back season after season. The reason? Wrigley Field stands for more than just statistics on paper or segments on ESPN; it stands for family tradition from generation to generation, and most importantly, communal kindness.

Beyond the bricks and ivy, Chicago Cubs Charities raises over $1.5 million each year, working to give hope and smiles to those in the community facing hardship and adversity. The Cubs organization created baseball programs such as the Inner City Youth Baseball Program and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) Cubs to help community members’ dreams come true.

The Inner City Youth Baseball Program gives children and teens the chance to rise above the violence they are met with on a daily basis in the community, allowing them the opportunity to be seen by baseball scouts and potentially attend college.

With the RIC Cubs, the Chicago Cubs provided this wheelchair softball team with its own field, just north of Wrigley Field, donated by the organization. It provides the RIC Cubs with its very own venue to compete in the National Wheelchair Softball Association.

Growing up off the corner of Waveland and Damen, I will always remember the impact that Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs had on my community. Spending countless games sitting next to my grandfather, before my feet were even able to reach the ground, the Friendly Confines provided the venue to bond with a personal hero.

Whether this is our year or maybe next year, the Chicago Cubs continue to inspire and bring joy to the lives of people both within the city and outside of it. Next time you step foot on the concourse, take in the aroma of ballpark hot dogs, the herds of fans waltzing to their seats, or even the crowd chatter and cheers in combination with the copious vendor bellows and PA announcements. Because above all, the Chicago Cubs are more than just a ballclub, they are the heart and soul of a diverse community-a Chicago family.