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82-Year-Old Mom And Her Daughter Get 1st Tattoos To Honor Cubs

By Kelly Bauer | October 27, 2016 4:18pm
 Babs Sechrest and Karen Donohoe got matching Cubs tattoos to honor the team.
Babs and Karen
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WRIGLEYVILLE — Barbara Sechrest has never gotten a tattoo before, but the 82-year-old promised her daughter years ago they'd get matching ink when, not if, the Cubs made it to the World Series.

Karen Donohoe, 47, and her mom, "Babs" Sechrest, made the deal in 2004: If the Cubs ever got to the World Series, they'd get matching tattoos to honor the team.

Now it's time to make good, and Babs and Karen headed to a Des Plaines tattoo parlor on Thursday. Karen was a bit nervous about the pain, but Babs, who got the OK from her doctor, could hardly wait, Karen said. The two got half-dollar-sized Cubs logos near their hearts.

Listen to Kelly Bauer talk about being there when they got their tattoos.

 Karen Donohoe, 47, and her mom, 82-year-old Barbara Sechrest, will get their first tattoos to honor the Cubs' success this year.
Cubs Tattoos
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And because there's no crying in baseball, Babs didn't shed a tear — in fact, she said her tattoo didn't hurt at all, and she joked about getting a "W" or Harry Caray glasses next.

Babs is also hoping she can add a "2016" under her logo if the team wins the World Series.

"I would like to see it just around my heart because that's where my heart's been my whole lifetime, is just waiting for them," Babs said. "I want to have it with me forever and ever and ever because I know I'm not going to live to see another one."

Most 82-year-olds don't get tattoos, Babs said, but it's just another way the Cubs fan is showing her dedication after a lifetime of trying to get to Wrigley Field as often as possible.

Karen Donohoe (left) and her mom, Barbara "Babs" Sechrest, have been able to walk around Wrigley Field, attend spring training and go to hundreds of games. [Courtesy Karen Donohoe]

Babs' own mother was a passionate Cubs fan, and she raised her 10 children to follow the team.

As a young woman, Babs would make sure she had every Tuesday off work so she could watch the boys in blue at Wrigley. Her and a friend spent one summer chasing the team around the country, and Babs and her husband bought a house close enough to Wrigley Field to walk their kids to games.

She's never been to Sox Park, and she hopes to never go.

At one point a few years ago, Babs had the chance to meet Cubs players, run the bases on Wrigley Field and touch the ivy-covered wall. She thought about taking some of the leaves, she said, but realized she couldn't disgrace the stadium like that.

"It was the most wonderful night of my life ...," Babs said. "It was just the thought of being able to walk on the grass and to touch everything and to go closer to see the dugout and just everything that they had.

"Other than my children and grandchildren, it was the best time of my life, really."

The Cubs have always had a special place in Karen's life, too: During her junior and senior years in high school, she missed 67 days of school so she could go to Cubs games. She still thinks about an afternoon in 1978 when her mom called her out of school and they picked up Hero's and went to Wrigley Field. That day, Babs taught Karen how to follow the game with old scorecards.

Another time, Karen, her husband and Babs were sitting in the first row behind the Cubs dugout and her husband caught a foul ball.

Barbara "Babs" Sechrest, 82, is a lifelong Cubs fan. She wears a Cubs hat covered with pins for good luck on game days. [Courtesy Karen Donohoe]

"... My mom's been saying for so many years all she wants to see is them go this far before she dies," Karen said. "I just thank these guys so much for playing like they really, truly love the game.

"It's the best team I've ever seen, the most inspiring team."

Babs had hoped to go to a World Series game at Wrigley Field, but the tickets were too expensive.

Instead, when the Cubs bring the World Series home on Friday — as Karen and Babs recover from their new tattoos — the family will host a big party. They've got relatives coming in from other states to watch Saturday's game, too.

Babs will put on her Ron Santo jersey and her lucky hat, dotted in pins from the team, and root for her Cubs.

"I'll stay home and watch it with my family and we'll all laugh, cry, hoop and holler," Babs said. "I've waited my whole life, and all I wanted was to see a [World] Series for them."

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