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Cubs fan delivers well-earned national anthem

Xidas rewarded after raising more than $18k for Special Olympics
MLB.com

CHICAGO -- Stefan Xidas' lifelong dream to sing the national anthem at a Cubs game came true on Monday night before the club's series opener against the Brewers.

Xidas, a 30-year-old Special Olympian with Down Syndrome, wrote to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts with a proposition. Xidas would get to sing the anthem before a game if he raised $5,000 for the Special Olympics Organization. As of Monday, his GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $18,000.

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CHICAGO -- Stefan Xidas' lifelong dream to sing the national anthem at a Cubs game came true on Monday night before the club's series opener against the Brewers.

Xidas, a 30-year-old Special Olympian with Down Syndrome, wrote to Cubs owner Tom Ricketts with a proposition. Xidas would get to sing the anthem before a game if he raised $5,000 for the Special Olympics Organization. As of Monday, his GoFundMe campaign had raised more than $18,000.

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"I'm feeling really, really awesome," Xidas said before singing. "I'm so excited. I just met the best Cubs players I have ever seen in my whole life."

About 10 minutes before first pitch, Xidas stepped to the microphone, took it all in and started to sing. When he was finished, the Wrigley Field crowd gave him a huge ovation, so loud that it was hard to hear him shout: "Go Cubs. Let's play ball!"

Tweet from @Cubs: What an honor to host Stefan Xidas at #WrigleyField! #EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/2r7v7pdkR4

This wasn't the first time Xidas has performed the national anthem at a Major League game. In 2005, he sang the anthem before a White Sox game at what was then U.S. Cellular Field -- now Guaranteed Rate Field. But being a Cubs fan, nothing could compare to singing at Wrigley.

"He's always said since then that he'd love to come here and do it," said Stan Xidas, Stefan's father. "Here we are. It's awesome."

Stan said there were over 100 friends and family members at Wrigley cheering Stefan on, all wearing red Cubs shirts with his name on the back.

"To be on the field, it just feels really awesome," Stefan said. "This is my shining moment right here."

Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.

Chicago Cubs