Monday, October 17, 2011

Cardinals and Zombies and Snakes -- Oh, my!

Yesterday was strange, surprising --- and memorable.

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals clinched their 18th National League pennant and are headed for the World Series. Back in August, with the end of the season in sight, sports reporters, fans, and other ball teams pronounced the Cardinals’ season finished.

An opposing player from one team talked about burying the team in the ground and covering them with dirt.

Because the Red Birds refused to die, someone in the media dubbed them the “Zombie” Cardinals. Bats came to life. The bullpen woke up. Heroes emerged. Last night, amid champagne and celebration, third-baseman David Freese was awarded the trophy for Most Valuable Player in the National League series. A hometown hero was crowned!

Yesterday afternoon I witnessed another local hero emerge on a different field. His heroics took place in rural St. Charles --- on a soccer field surrounded by dry and dusty acres of recently plowed corn fields.

While my granddaughter’s soccer team warmed up before their game, I noticed commotion on an adjacent field. The game had stopped. Refs stood on the sidelines. Teenage girls from both teams huddled around midfield. People stood and stared at a man zigzagging near a goal post. I heard a few squeals as a soccer dad – with a Cardinals’ baseball cap on his head and a large plastic cup in one hand – chased a critter that had invaded his daughter's soccer field.

Soccer Dad bent down then quickly stood and backed up. Up and down. Thrust and parry. Back and forth. He maneuvered into position as he tried to capture something on the ground with his cup.

At first I thought the critter was a wounded bird unable to fly away. Then I caught a glimpse of slimy skin glinting off the midday sun when the critter hopped. A bullfrog? If so, it was a long and skinny frog. With a final thrust, Soccer Dad stopped the critter with his cup then lifted his catch by its neck. The captured creature shimmied and shook.

A snake. A black snake. A long black snake.

With fans applauding, Soccer Dad carried the wiggling reptile at arm’s length and deposited it in the closest, recently plowed corn field. Soccer Dad returned, victorious, brushing his hands on his jeans as the crowd whooped and cheered. The game restarted. A hero emerged, this one unnamed and unknown except to family and friends.

Yep. Yesterday had the ingredients that stories and memories are made of --- drama, tension, conflict, surprises, heroes, villains, adoring crowds, the victorious and the vanquished, and for St. Louis sports fans --- a happy ending.


  1. The snake part of your day has me wiggling!!! YIkes...I don't like them at all!

  2. Hi Claudia,
    Same here. Snakes make me cringe. Spiders too.

  3. You sucked me in with zombies...:-)

    (I seriously thought you were going to say that a Cards Fan/Soccer Dad was dressed as a Zombie and zigzagging around the field with a snake. Now that I think about it, the Cards fans all have an excuse to walk around for the next week or so like Zombies. That's pretty awesome. :-)

  4. Hi Cathy,

    I heard somewhere Zombies are the new squirrel.

    And I was determined not to mention that crazy rally squirrel in my post about the Cardinals.

    Oh, I read you were going to a conference last weekend. Hope it went well.



  5. What a great title, and what a warmhearted post, Donna. (And by the way, I now know why you are too "shy" to read at critique groups. You want to get everybody revved up, slobbering and slathering to read your stories, forcing them to buy the books so they can read your stuff. You can't fool me anymore...I'm onto you! ;)

  6. Black snakes are our friends. Kudos to the nonviolent hero!

  7. Hi Val,
    Even though I don't like to see black snakes, I know how valuable they are to keep away other critters.

  8. Wonderful story and wonderfully told!

  9. Donna, what a wonderful post. You hooked me with the title. This guy was a hero!
    Go Cards.

  10. Cards = YAY!
    Snakes = Ewww!
    Hero = Yay!

  11. It's always fun when a team makes a comeback. Hope they do well! :)

  12. Hi Tammy,
    Thanks. You are so kind.

    Hi Linda,
    Thanks. He was a hero . . . and Go Cards!

    Hi Becky,

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks. It would be great!

  13. That was quite a fascinating day! I don't know which story I enjoyed the most. Congratulations to the Cardinals and the dad.

  14. Hi Janet,
    Thanks. It was a great day!


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