For many of us the enthusiasm and loyalty that we share on behalf of our local professional sports teams can be a big part of who we are, and how we socialize with others. While I personally have never been a “super fan” – one that watches every game or attends multiple games per year, I do very much enjoy watching our Chicago teams and rooting for them to win. I especially like football – and the Bears, although admittedly it has been painful the last few years! I enjoy watching the Bulls, and both the Cubs and White Sox too.
And then there are the Blackhawks! This past year was pretty inspiring, on many levels. While I have never been a real strong hockey fan, I would periodically watch games and definitely keep track of how the home team was doing. Over the last several years this became even more exciting to do, considering they had won the Stanley Cup twice since 2010, and they were projected to win again this year. Over the course of the year I found myself watching more hockey than I had in probably the past 10 years – and actually got to understand what was happening most of the time.
What also made this year so interesting, was the enthusiasm that spread throughout our company. We have a few very loyal fans and the talk about the team throughout the year became a good way for all of us to bond – a reason for us to socialize on a personal basis, and not just talk about work! When the playoffs began this discussion increased more, and it was genuinely fun to not only share highlights of the past games, but to project ahead for the next ones. When the Hawks did finally put away Tampa Bay in game six of the finals and won the Cup again, it was especially exciting and a reason for all of us to celebrate.
What I also came to appreciate throughout the success of the Hawks this year, is an appreciation of how they were genuinely a focused team. There was very little about the individual stars, and more about how they all supported each other, even after one of them might not have had such a good game. There was no doubt, that the end goal was to win the Cup! And speaking of the Stanley Cup, I find it very interesting about all of the history associated with this trophy and how each team gets to embrace the honor of winning it by being able to take the Cup to events and even travel with it to their home towns over the course of the offseason. I am not aware of any other sport that has this tradition, and it truly is a fantastic way for teams to engage with all of their fans and supporters.
Another huge inspiration from this victory was the celebration that took place within Chicago after the victory. It was estimated that 2 million people attended the parade and rally – with people lining up at Soldier Field for the presentation as early as 5 am! Compare this to the 400,000 that showed up for the Golden State Warriors parade after winning the NBA championship, and you can see what it means to be a Blackhawks fan. The loyalty and support were fantastic, and this was duly noted by all of the players, coaches and team owner, Rocky Wirtz, who went out of their way to express thanks to all of their fans – many times over even.
I found all of this to be very refreshing and genuine, which is not often found now days in professional sports. All too often it is about the superstars and all the money that they make, or the individual records that they set. To truly get inspired and learn from our sports heroes, it takes teamwork and the right attitude. I tip my hat to the Chicago Blackhawks and hope that they can do it again next year!
What sports teams are you a fan of, and why is it that they inspire you?