I am not a Cubs fan, despite residing in their home state all my life. I’m not even a sports fan. While I can watch a game and appreciate the strategy and athleticism that goes into it, I can walk away completely detached. If I were to choose a team to root for, it’s most likely going to be whoever the underdog is in a particular game. And maybe that’s why the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series has me so choked up.
Because seriously, why am I crying just watching the highlights of Game 7 and hearing the crowd go wild? I didn’t watch a single game of the World Series or any other game this year for that matter. Because I DON’T CARE. But there’s something about their story that has made their victory feel especially meaningful. There’s also something about a bunch of dudes hugging and loving on each other that, well, tugs at my heart strings. As a spectator, I can feel what it’s like for them to have failed time and time and time and time again. And that to me is what makes the reward of their championship title all the more significant even to me, a non-Cubs/sports fan.
All good stories, the ones we internalize and cherish the most, include an underdog. It seems most people tend to identify with those individuals who have been on the bottom, but after copious defeats and perhaps even because of their recurrent struggle, rose to the top. And I have to wonder if that would ever be possible if they didn’t have at least someone in their corner who believed in them to cheer them on and defend their honor even when there is no success in sight.
The Cubs team has had a lot of people in their corner for many, many years despite having been on a losing streak for more than a century! So who would the Cubs be without their devotees? It is the ultimate test of loyalty when the support one receives is not contingent upon a particular outcome; when the worth and potential of a person or team is never diminished in the eyes of their votaries.
But today, the Cubbies and their tried-and-true fans are feeling vindicated after several decades of being hated on for being the dark horse of baseball. Today, their story gives hope to all underdogs everywhere that if we believe, we can achieve.