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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

Facing Eternity as a Sox Fan?

Hal's Back!

I have no idea how many readers this online column has or whether you even noticed, but this is my first column in about six weeks.  I figure I owe the three of you who care an explanation, after which I will tie it into something related to the White Sox.

I submitted my last column here on December 22, a gift list for Sox players and management.  Two days later I woke up very ill with stomach problems.  I tried taking just about everything on the market to relieve my discomfort but nothing work.  I spent most of the day Christmas Eve sleeping.  By late afternoon, I couldn't stand it any longer, I called my doctor who told me that I was to go to the emergency room immediately.

After an ambulance ride and the fun of having a tube stuck up my nose to go into my stomach, I was admitted.  I spent Christmas in the hospital and underwent all kinds of tests the next day.  It was then that I was told that I had a blockage in my small intestines, possibly due to adhesions.  A surgeon was assigned, and I had abdominal surgery on December 27.  When I came to, my first thought was how long I'd be stuck in the hospital.  I was told most people get out in four or five days.  I might just get to go home on New Year's Day.

Unfortunately my body was on a different timetable than most people's.   An attempt was made to remove the tube on New Year's Eve.  By the next day they were shoving the damn thing back up my nose, and for the next several days, I was X-rayed every morning to see if there was any action going  on down there. 

Finally by January 8, things had gotten pretty much back to normal.  The tube was removed for good, and I actually put something in my mouth other than crushed ice for the first time in fifteen days.

I came home on January 9 and spent two weeks recovering, waiting to see the surgeon for a follow-up visit on the 24th.  By that time I was really antsy.  I wanted to get back to work and to resume this column  once I got caught up with semester grades at work.  Then I saw the doctor.

There was this little puffy thing at the top of my incision.  I knew it didn't look quite right, but I had no idea what it was.  It turned out to be a pocket of fluid, which the doctor had to drain by cutting open the incision.  I'm told that the resulting wound was about four inches long, three inches wide and two inches deep.  The treatment to let it heal is to pack it daily with gauze soaked in a saline solution.

Needless to say, I wasn't ready to go back to work after the anesthetic wore off.  I finally returned to work February 4.  I'm told the wound is
healing nicely.

So how am I going to tie this in to the Sox?  Well, it's very simple.  This was my first hospitalization since I had a tonsilectomy at age seven.  It made me think that this is the start of the inevitable deterioration process that occurs as one begins to age.  I started thinking about how much promise the White Sox have offered me and how little I've gotten in return.

I've been a fan since two years before that tonsilectomy.  In that time the Sox have managed to win one pennant.  ONE!  Since then I've lost a great grandmother, the three grandparents who were alive at the time, my father, and both of my wife's parents.  My son is 22 years old.  He has never seen the Sox make it beyond the first round of playoffs.  He doesn't even remember 1983.

So what have the Sox done in all that time?  They've rebuilt.  Constantly.  They've made ill-advised trades and free-agent signings that instead of putting them closer to their supposed goal, invariably move them at least one step farther away.

So I've been thinking.  If I'm lucky, I'll have another thirty or thirty-five years left on this planet.  I asked myself while I was lying in that hospital bed with a tube up my nose whether I'd ever see another pennant in that time.  And sadly, the only answer I could come up with is "No."  The way this team is run, when we do manage to win the odd division championship, the commitment will not be made to go after anything beyond that. 

I've concluded my life as a White Sox fan will be a succession of rebuilding processes culminating in an occasional division championship followed by three-and-out in the first round of the playoffs.  It's just one more reason to curse Bill Veeck for buying the Sox in 1959.  Chuck Comiskey is still around.  Had he been running the club for the past 43 years, it would be the Sox who were the darlings of Chicago, not the "lovable losers."  Comiskey had a winning mentality.  That's more than I can say for the sorry excuses for owners we've had since then.

So I've resigned myself to cursing my fate for the rest of my life.  If only my great great great grandfather David Vickery hadn't moved to Illinois from New York, I might be a Yankee fan and had expectations of seeing many more World Championships in what's left of my life.

Kenny Lofton?  Do you really think he'll make the difference?

Editor's Note:  Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old.  For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL.  Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, their son Jeff, and Buster T. Beagle.

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