Everybody's pal Kyle Cominek was a kindred spirit. He loved sports, sports history, and little pieces of cardboard. He lightened up the atmosphere each and every Sunday at the Fred Copp sports card shows in suburban Chicago. I've known Kyle for years. He has been coming out with his dad Randy to the shows for what seems like forever. Kyle liked Thurman Munson, Ron Santo, William Perry and Brian Piccolo. He had many questions about these players and I was always happy to answer them. He usually had a sandwich bag of change and would purchase a Brian Urlacher or a William Perry for a quarter. Occasionally, this old miser would give him some cards because I knew he was a kindred spirit.
When I didn't see Kyle much this summer, I wondered where he was. I was informed recently that he had a series of surgeries. I last saw Kyle at the September 22, 2013, card show at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale. His energy was down. That tremendous spark he gives the room was dampened. He had many opportunities to razz Beanie Don, his favorite target, yet didn't do so once. It was a quiet day for Kyle and in turn a quiet day for the show.
Kyle had great wit and I thoroughly enjoyed when he would chide Beanie Don over some fictitious crime. It was funny. It made everybody laugh. He was always happy. He possessed an innocence and enthusiasm I wish I could have bottled and sold.
I was in Orland for a show over the last weekend of September. Kyle and Randy live in the Western Suburbs, they never make the long drive southeast to Orland. This past weekend, Sunday, October 7, I was set up at the Schaumburg show, a usual stop for Kyle and Randy. Midway through the day, Ted, one of the dealers, wondered out loud where Kyle was. I wondered too. This morning on the Fred Copp Baseball Card Shows Facebook page, Ted posted the news that Kyle had died. Kyle had another surgery on Sunday and didn't make it through. Visitation was today.
I went to the funeral home after work. While there is usually nothing pleasurable about a wake, when I walked into the room filled with baseball cards, photos of Kyle, dozens of sports jerseys draped over chairs, and seeing the members of Kyle's family all clad in White Sox, Bears or Blackhawks jerseys, I was pleased. What an incredibly neat way to honor and celebrate Kyle.
The Fred Copp shows won't be the same without Kyle. None the old codgers that sit behind the dealer tables have much energy, myself included. Most customers are buried in binders or boxes of cards trying to find that gem. No spark there. Man, I'm going to miss that guy! Thanks Kyle for being you!!
I bet Kyle's chatting it up with Thurman Munson just about now. He's probably telling Thurman a joke about Beanie Don. I wish I could hear it and laugh too. I appreciate all my kindred spirits. I appreciated Kyle.