What Winning Really Means

Yesterday, I led a workshop in large part about identities and what framework or lens we use with which we view the world, last night I realized how deeply being a Chicagoan, Cubs fan and survivor of the collapse of 1969 really meant to me. I remember my dad yelling in frustration at the television at our beloved Chicago Cubs who were in the middle of yet another whatever, blown save, blown game, blown playoff, he would be so frustrated and I would think, “what is the point?” What was the point of getting angry at the Chicago Cubs? Getting angry at the Chicago Cubs loosing, is a little like buying a ticket for the lottery and going out and getting a new car sure that you soon will have money for the payments.

As I look at what defines winning these days, I can’t help but notice that every time one of the Cubs got a hit they looked over to their teammates in the dugout and acknowledged them. There are no individual efforts on this team, younger players and older veterans, playing with joyful abandon, understanding the meaning they have for a fans that for years have come out for the beauty of the day, the friendliness of the confines and the hope that comes with each first pitch.

There was a wave of joy that exploded last night. I experienced it through fans and friends all over the world experiencing what feels like a once in a lifetime moment of joy. We need reminders of the possibility of hope, joy and love being rewarded in such a cynical world. We need reminders that there is more to life than political despair and endless conflict.

I cried last night not for the simple joy of a hometown sports team moving on in the playoffs, I wept because I still want to believe in hope and connection, that joy can fill collective hearts, and that we are still moved by the fun of the game. That is the point. We need to remember that in this world the possible always exists. Through all of the darkness, through all of the despair, through all of the acrimony, through all of our difference, there is always next year, and even when it seems like next year may never come, guess what, it just arrived.

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