Steve Bartman Obtains One Ring but Zero Reconciliation

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By Ross Adams

Steve Bartman didn’t deserve the hotdog of despair slathered in chance and circumstance he was force fed that night at Wrigley Field. He didn’t deserve the extra coating of ketchup fellow Cubs fans added to it through public shaming and even death threats.

He didn’t deserve the indigestion that followed- the catastrophic life change and years of hiding “underground” fearing for his safety. He just didn’t deserve it, and none of us can imagine what he went through. However, we’ve all eaten a hot dog we shouldn’t have, and if you’re reading this- congratulations, you’ve survived.

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Two days ago Steve Bartman received a World Series championship ring from the Chicago Cubs — another gesture in a now lengthy list of very decent overtures; from good Cubs fans, the organization, the city of Chicago and strangers from far and wide offering him opportunities for reconciliation.

The latest, a ring, provides the shiniest opportunity for redemption yet and it included an all too familiar impersonal news release that read more like the memoirs of a broken man than one who has actually healed through time.

The problem with successfully saying “you’re sorry” and the tragedy of “reconciliation,” is in order for those concepts to be carried out, you need both parties involved in a personal and sincere/heartfelt resolution.

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You won’t find that in a news release that was issued and edited by an attorney; sent out via email or fax.

My experience with tragedy, however, comes through speaking with countless families of murder victims. I am consistently shocked at the courage those fathers, daughters and loved ones show while talking to a reporter; a complete stranger.

After discovering the unimaginable, they pour their broken hearts out on a porch or outside a hospital The aunt of one victim told me a good reason why she decided to talk to me and other journalists.

It was like releasing all the pressure in a balloon she said, adding that once she started talking about her loss it all felt better. The emotional pressure spilled out through her pained words and grief.

Our conversation was never going to bring her loved one back. The heartache was real and it will last the rest of her life, but for a moment, talking with a reporter provided a form of catharsis.

Steve Bartman, alternatively, has never spoken to a media member about the incident. While the emotional pressure in his balloon has no doubt changed, make no mistake, if I told my boss Steve Bartman agreed to talk with us — HE WOULD CHOKE ON THE HOTDOG HE WAS EATING out of shock and interest.

It would be national, perhaps international news, but only because he’s never spoken about it before. Bartman’s emotional balloon still exists, and like it or not, he is still responsible for applying the pressure. Unlike the aunt who chose to talk with me, he choses to speak with no one. He chooses to remain in hiding.

He continues to willingly make himself a victim. He avoids meaningful reconciliation, and denies himself the cathartic release and healing that can come with the courageous act of meaningfully accepting an apology or reconciliation.

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That’s unfortunate for us all: Cubs fans, the Cubs organization and others who simply feel guilt about the situation. A news release isn’t bringing them meaningful peace. Steve Bartman was served up a sausage of unfortunate ingredients that night and became a victim, but his latest response suggests that he chooses, and it is totally his choice at this point, to remain a victim.

One day he may choose to speak with the media. One day he may chose to show his face. Following that day, I bet he’ll wonder why he didn’t do it sooner.

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