Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Chicago Cubs: World Series Champions (Again) At Last!

(This blog was originally posted on November 3, 2016)

Image courtesy of Microsoft

The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in the tenth inning of the seventh game of the 2016 World Series to take the title in one of the hardest fought titles I have ever seen. Like so many other people who are not necessarily Cubs fans, I was curious to see how the team would fare. Despite the team’s best efforts over the years to clinch another World Series title, the infamous “Billy Goat curse” had haunted the ball club since their last World Series appearance in 1945. The last time they won a World Series was 108 years ago, in 1908. Why should this year be any different?

Needless to say, my interest in how this team would fare had less to do with being a fan of baseball compared to how they would deal with the pressure of such high-octane competition and a particular subconscious mental script. A curse like the one bestowed on the Chicago Cubs all those years ago is particularly insidious because its effectiveness is derived from people’s belief in it. Apparently, a local bar owner named Bill “Billy Goat” Sianis promised that the team would stop winning games because he wasn’t allowed to bring his pet goat in to watch Game 4 of the World Series at Wrigley Field. (The goat reportedly had a ticket, too.) The curse seemed to have worked because the Cubs didn’t make it back into these championship games until this year. Generations of baseball fans and even baseball players that compose this and other baseball clubs may or may not believe/believed in the curse. And regardless of their belief in it, the very idea of a curse was certainly a convenient explanation (defense mechanism) for why the team couldn’t win, let alone get into, another World Series. 

My question is this: Was that curse really so powerful and effective to undermine the post-season success of this team all these years? Other teams have had long “droughts” between winning and even entering the World Series, and they don’t carry the burden of a curse to explain/excuse their post-season performances. 

The fact that such a negative proclamation even existed likely helped to undermine fans’ and even the players’ own confidence and belief in the Cubs ability to win a championship. If you don’t believe me, consider how much better teams/athletes generally fare when they have a home-field advantage. Just like in Jack Norworth’s iconic song, “Take Me out to the Ball Game,” local fans generally do “root, root, root for the home team.” The positive energy that comes from an excited, supportive crowd cheering, whistling and chanting for their home team cannot be dismissed; athletes truly seem buoyed by the home advantage. Similarly, the negative energy and disdain this crowd projects when the visiting team scores or prevents the local heroes from scoring or ultimately winning, is palpable. (I will address that phenomenon in a future essay.) Of course, this is exactly what the Chicago Cubs did last night.

As I reflect on the excitement and, yes, anxiety-inducing action that took place during the 2016 World Series Games, I do not doubt the power the curse might have had over the team and their fans over the years. Their belief systems and the negative chatter/subconscious mental scripts that fueled and reinforced those beliefs were obviously very powerful. But let’s turn this scenario around for a moment. What if it had simply taken all these years for a World Series-caliber Chicago Cubs team to come into being? 

Now that we all know this baseball team is capable of winning a world championship, hopefully the athletes, future team members, coaches, club owners and fans can store this memory and experience as a new subconscious “known.” The Chicago Cubs played fabulous baseball this season and the cooperation and talent of each player proved once and for all that this is a championship team. I think these past seven (game) days prove that their curse is finally, officially lifted/exorcised/over. So, no more excuses….just play world championship-caliber baseball!

Sara R. Fogan, C.Ht. is a certified hypnotherapist based in Southern California. She graduated with honors from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in 2005. For more information about Calminsense Hypnotherapy® and to set up an appointment, please visit http://www.calminsensehypnotherapy.com/.
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