Common Ground: Cubs and Cardinals

It’s been called one of the most bitter rivalries in Major League Baseball.  The Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals have been battling it out since the dawn of the 20th century.  It is not uncommon to find fans of both teams all over this great country.  But we narrowed it down to two people who have other things at stake.  Like the peace within their own family.



John Garrigan (66) and Jennifer Stotler (46) are bound together by the bond of Father and Daughter.  But when it comes to baseball, the family ties sit the bench.  John grew up on Cubs’ baseball and instilled the love of the game into his children.  Jennifer, a beneficiary of that love, transitioned her loyalty to the Cardinals when the Cubs traded Mark Grace back in the late 90’s.  Living in St. Louis has given her a love for that community and its beloved baseball team.  This puts the two at odds come every Spring when the season begins.  Although the two like to torment each other over statistics and winning streaks, it never amounts to more than a few eye rolls and under-the-breath-mutters.

John got to celebrate the Cubs’ big series win this October.  The smile on his face when he talked about it told me everything I needed to know about what that night looked like in his home.



Baseball is the greatest American sport.  But family is our greatest national treasure.



Jennifer Stotler


IMG_6936BWcropped                                   John Garrigan

Common Ground – Snapshots of Everyday America’s Silent Majority

Robyn & Emily

common ground

                   Robyn Drew, age 59                                               Emily Cary, age 40


I often wish I could be a part of the classrooms that belong to Mrs. Drew and Mrs. Cary.  Love of students   plus   Love of subjects   equals    Learning

Point of Connection:  Robyn and Emily met when they both took 4th grade positions at a Nashville elementary school.  Their bond solidified when Emily’s father and father-in-law both passed away in a short span of time.

Same:  their devotion to students and learning make them an effective duo in the classroom.

Different:  age, skin color, mothers of differing age children.  Robyn will tell you Emily is the organized, detail-oriented part of this yin-yang that keeps her big-picture self together.

Finding value in each other:  Emily values and draws on Robyn’s wisdom while Robyn counts on Emily’s youthful spirit to brighten the hard moments.

Finding laughter:  you can decide which one is sarcastic and which one has the dry sense of humor.  But I’m going to point-blank tell you it was Emily who turned Robyn on to hip-hop music.

common ground


Stronger BECAUSE of our differences.




Work on Common Ground Photo Project Begins

Sam and Sophie

                                                                      Sophie, age 9     Sam, age 10

Point of Connection:  Sam and Sophie met in the First grade in a Nashville, TN school where they shared the same classroom.  Originally Sam thought Sophie looked a lot like a bully he had endured in kindergarten.  To his great surprise, Sophie turned out to be his next best friend.

Same:  love of pizza, math and recess

Different:  gender, skin color and freckles

Favorite thing to do together:  secret handshake, wrestle

Advice to grown ups on friendship:  don’t argue over silly things.  It doesn’t matter what the outside of a person looks like.  Look for the good in people.