Last night, the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. The media celebrates the Cinderella “From Worst to First” baseball story; the players celebrate the fans and the city; and the Team Manager, John Farrell, celebrates the players.
The Boston Marathon bombing was tragic and terrifying, yet the story that has unfolded as the Red Sox moved toward the pennant was anything but. Winning a world championship in America’s game with a motley crew of bearded dudes and players who hail from Aruba, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Japan, and all over the US sounds both incredible and a bit like Opening Day at Big Spring.
When it comes to describing the way the team worked together, the word that we keep hearing is “chemistry.” I would argue that it should be “community.” That is what these men have, and they have it because—from day one of spring training—they pushed themselves to be the best team they could be. That is why they were incredibly fun to watch both during the season and in post-season play. One could tell that they truly enjoyed each other. From the beard pulling to the varied personnel executing key hits to the hilarious head butting on first base to their individual passion for the game, these men created community through tradition, ritual, irreverence, hard work, and their collective desire to support one another. It was this community which carried them through mishaps, errors, and challenges into first place in the American League…and now, into history as the 2013 World Series champions.
Why, as a nation, are we so enamored? Why do we love this 95-years-in-the-making story so much?
Because, at our cores, we understand that community and a sense of belonging makes us more responsible and caring. Because we understand that supporting one another when times are tough, or tragic, is more important than our individual day-to-day stressors. Because we understand that community can, and should, include people from all over the world who are invested in a common purpose. Because we need to see grit and quality character modeled regularly so we can internalize and realize our own authentic selves. Because we love the inside jokes, the fun, the joy, and the playfulness of people who don’t take themselves too seriously and simply love the game. Because we appreciate giving, respectful, model leaders who have the class to recognize and applaud the fierce strength of their opponents before the press corps can ask a single question about their victory. Because we want to see perseverance, effort, trust and unselfish teamwork be rewarded. And all of this because we want to root for the underdog.
At one point in our lives, each of us was an underdog. And many of us were, and are, fortunate enough to have a community of unique individuals that celebrated our mundane, sublime, monumental and ridiculous accomplishments. We often find ourselves at our most “underdog” moments when we feel powerless, voiceless, unmoored and lost. For some, that might have been in middle school, for others—right now. Yet, when we found—or find– “our people” “our community” “our place”—suddenly we had and have the support to be more confident, strong and directed.
Community. That is both the lesson and legacy of the 2013 Boston Red Sox and the realized vision of Laura and Sandy Sanborn: when we can come together, connect face-to-face, overcome obstacles and simply play…amazing things will happen.
Congratulations, Boston. Thanks for modeling one heck-of-a-fun sense of community.
Disclaimer: The opinions (and overt team support) expressed in this blog post belong to the author who wrote the blog post and don’t necessarily reflect the views (or preferred team/teams) of the organization and its members. (We love you, too, St. Louis)