By: Rachel Buck
Sports Information Assistant
When you get a phone call from your grandma at an early hour of the day, thoughts usually jump to the worst-case scenario. However, I received one of those calls this weekend, and it turned out to be a great thing.
Saturday morning my grandma Krause called me at 8:30 a.m. (note: she is in Wisconsin so it was 7:30 a.m. there) to see if I watched the Milwaukee Brewers game last night because Randy Wolf pitched a complete-game shutout. I had to break it to her that I didn’t watch the game, but I did receive updates as it was happening. She talked a little longer about how he struggled in the seventh inning and she didn’t know if he’d make it, then went on to tell me to read the game recap and give her a call back. But she made sure to warn me to call before the game started that night because she wanted to watch the great pitching match-up (it was Gallardo and Lincecum).
After I hung up the phone and had a little laugh, I really started to think…is that where my love of sports comes from? My dad is a sports fan but he’s not fanatical. It’s safe to say that in my home growing up my mom and I had more interest in how our teams were doing than my dad and brother. But even at that point, my mom wasn’t a super-follower of sports…she knew the players, but not the details.
So if it didn’t come from my parents, I drew a new conclusion…maybe my grandmothers are a driving force behind my passion.
It’s absolutely funny to me that it is my grandmothers, not my grandfathers, that love sports, but this is a very true statement. Sure, my grandpa Krause loved watching the Brewers every night and looked forward to me getting him a Brewers media guide to read while watching the games, but it was my grandmother who made sure that both of them were finished eating each night in time to watch the games. It’s not only that, but she KNOWS the players (sometimes better than me) and she is 88 years old! She’ll call me and ask where a certain player is because she doesn’t see him in the bullpen, she’ll question why someone’s bat isn’t doing as well as it should, she even gets upset watching the game when a pitcher implodes *cough, Dave Bush, cough*. And even though the Brewers basically wrapped up their season mid-August she still watches the games in September with the same fervor as she did in April.
And my g-ma Buck is also a huge Brewers and sports fan. While g-ma K always had a game on television, g-ma B gave me the love of listening to sports on the radio. Living on the farm in the country, we didn’t have access to cable television and satellite dishes (for most of my youth) were still those ginormous things that looked like you were trying to communicate with aliens in a far-away galaxy, so we never had one. Her (and my) love for the Brewers came from listening to Bob Uecker on the radio.
Now, I love Uke…ask anyone who knows me. The three months he was gone this season recovering from heart surgery were the three emptiest baseball months of my life…I’ve never known Brewers baseball without him. I have access to MLB.TV online, so when I watch Brewers games I’ll have the video on but mute the television commentators and put on Uke. It may be a couple seconds behind, but his delivery and stories are what make the listening great. People can quote his lines from “Major League” all day, but you really haven’t experienced Uke until you’ve listened to him do Brewers games.
But I digress…I have fond memories of growing up, going to the farm to do chores, and when everything was done I would head into the farmhouse to say hi to grandma and see if she had baked anything new that day (she is an AMAZING baker). And if it was a summer night, odds are the game was on and I would sit at the kitchen table with her, listening and discussing the game. Now, she has finally upgraded from the four-channel bunny-ear television system to a satellite dish and HD television so she can watch games, but occasionally you can still walk into the house, sit at the kitchen table and listen to a Brewers game with her. She travels to Milwaukee at least twice a year to attend a game, and just like g-ma K, she also loves the Packers and other big Sconnie sports (which raises another question…how did I come to follow the Bears?!).
My mom thinks this passion skipped a generation, just like the love of jewelry and knick-knacks missed her and went to me. I don’t know if we’ll ever solve the mystery, but one thing is for sure: I love my grandmothers, Eleanor and Ruth, and love that they share a passion for sports with me.