By Darlene Gavron Stevens, LCPC
As a psychologist, I am fascinated not only by the Cubs fans’ determination but their resiliency from over a century of defeated hopes for the World Series title.
I have written about embracing and rebounding from failure, and the Cubs are proof that there is always a “next time.” Hope isn’t lost until the players (and fans) lose it. This one-of-a-kind team is ideally equipped to take it all during future games if they have the psychological wherewithal to persevere and act like winners.
Sports psychology is not my specialty, but I am a student of behavior, and have watched the Cubs’ late season with a clinical eye. The team has many young players, but they seem very maturely focused on getting the job of winning done. My clinical suggestion would be to re-focus on the basics. These young men have been playing since they were roughly 4 years old. They know what to do. Sometimes our emotions get in the way of performing at our highest level. We second guess, we freeze; it even occurs when our skills are sharply honed and we are eager to excel at our chosen craft.
My high school English teacher, Mary McCormick who encouraged me to become a professional writer, gave me a plaque for my graduation that said, “Be not afraid of greatness.”
As for the Cubs, I hope they heed the same advice. You’ve got this! This is your year, so embrace it. Get outside of your head, back in the joy of the game, and stay focused. You so earned this place at the World Series “table.” Have fun in a way that only a lifelong baseball player could understand. You have lost many times, but your team has rebounded from loss for over a century. Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, offers many chances (and games) to start the competition over. Fans are counting on you to put the “Want” and “Will” behind the “W” flags.
Even some White Sox fans like me, who are pro-Chicago and know the joy of a World Series win, are cheering you all the way. You can make history, and you will, if you believe it to be true.