29 August 2009

Question for Psychologists

I grew up a Cubs' fan, but having not lived in the Chicago area for many years, I haven't watched many games recently. So it was fun to watch a nationally televised Cubs vs. Mets game today, especially since the Cubs won. The fans in Wrigley Field were happy to clap and cheer the team upon the win.

But here is my question. Why aren't those fans rioting instead? Here is a team that is not only totally out of the race this year, but hasn't won the World Series in over a hundred years. One hundred years! It requires almost deliberate planning not to win in that many years. I don't know how the Cubs do it, but they somehow manage always to lose when they need to.

Why do Cubs fans put up with it? Indeed, not only put up with it, but actually continue to be fans! And when the rare occasion happens that the Cubs win, they cheer. How can anyone cheer for or support a team without any expectation whatsoever that they will win?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe that your question's strength increases only in proportion with the increasing age of the cubs fan. Every day new children mature into baseball "fandom" who have not only never suffered the pain of seeing their team lose consistently for 100 years +, but who carry with them the naive optimism and zealousness of the young baseball fan. If we assume that the tortured Cubs fan dies at the same rate as the initiation of new Cubs fans, there is always a large, ever shifting continuum of frustration. Now, the corollary to this is that as the seasons distance themselves from 1908, the Cubs' chances of winning statistically increase, albeit infinitesimally. Thus, despite the lingering pain of the seasoned Cubs fan, their statistical optimism should increase as well. The only Cubs fan who should, in theory, riot is he who knows for sure that the Cubs will never win in his lifetime, or, in theory, he who is sure he will die before two World Series have passed. Luckily, for the Cubs organization, these people are either too old to riot or already dead. The only fans that remain are those who are young, optimistic, and relieved of the past and those whose pain of losing is only counterbalanced by the ever-increasing statistical optimism.