The Cubs win the World Series and Anthony Rizzo reminds us that it’s okay to be an emotional wreck sometimes
Lest you’ve been living under a rock or have shunned all social media for the past 12 hours, you’ve probably heard that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night with an 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians, ending the longest drought in American sports. They did so in typical Cubs fashion – with lots of nail-biting and tension right up to the end, including extra innings and a rain delay. Given that the Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908, and there are more than a few superstitions about the team being cursed, baseball fan or not, today we are all Cubs fans.
As if the Cubs win last night wasn’t magical enough for its come-from-behind story of redemption, it was the tiny moments in the game that really captured our hearts – like this one when Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo admits to feeling like an emotional basket case. With the Cubs leading in the fifth inning, Anthony Rizzo put his arm around veteran David Ross and said, “I can’t control myself right now. I’m trying my best.”
Ross, who’s affectionately known as Grandpa Rossy because he’s several years older than many of his teammates, is that wise and Zen friend we all need when we’re about ready to lose it. “It’s understandably so, buddy,” Ross said.
“I’m emotional,” Rizzo admited. “I’m an emotional wreck.”
“Just continue to breathe,” Ross said. “That’s all you can do, buddy.”
“I’m in a glass case of emotion right now.”
Not only is Rizzo’s admission all kinds of awesome because he quoted Ron Burgundy and spoke for all of us right about now (whether we’re an emotional wreck about baseball or the election or parenting), but also because he showed our children that it’s okay to feel and express emotions. Kids are often given mixed messages about how to express their emotions. Girls and women are told they are too emotional, boys are sometimes told to “man up,” and grown men are expected to hide their feelings. Which is why Rizzo’s open admission that – surprise! – he actually feels emotions is a breath of fresh air. And, although simplistic, Ross’s wise advice to “just continue to breathe” is what we all need to hear right about now when many of us are feeling stressed out, fed up and anxious as hell.
In the world of sports where, despite prowess on the field, athletes sometimes make questionable choices off the field, Rizzo and Ross are the heroes we want our kids to see. Just a few weeks ago, in game 4 of the NLCS, Rizzo was heard on a mic apologizing to an umpire – a rarity in the cut-throat, high-stakes world of professional sports. Rizzo thought a pitch was a base-on ball and started to walk to first base — a move that drives umpires absolutely mad. The ump called him back to the plate and Rizzo was, obviously and understandably, pissed. But instead of holding a grudge, at Rizzo’s next at bat, he is heard saying, “My fault on that.”
“Your fault for what, brother?” the umpire said. Rizzo stammered an apology, and the umpire Ángel Hernández assured him it was all good. “Come on. You’re good, bro. You’re awesome with us. No, no worries. You’re competing. I understand. Don’t worry. You know what’s best of it? You come back and tell me that. That’s how good of a guy you are.”
Good guy, indeed. In fact, can we give Rizzo his Class Act Athlete medal now?
Regardless of whether you follow baseball or hail from Chicago, we’re all Cubs fans today. Not just because the curse has been broken and all is right in the world, but because there are solid role models like Rizzo and Ross who show our kids that being a good athlete isn’t nearly as important as whether we are a good human.
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