Chicago: One Big Happy Family

In many ways, Chicagoans feel a closeness that’s rare for a metropolitan area of 10 million people. Many of them feel an intense closeness, as well, to the Chicago Cubs baseball team—a feeling shared by many devoted fans around the country.

For many years, it was a closeness that defied all logic…specifically, all logic saying that teams with such dedicated fan bases win World Series at least occasionally. Yet, locals kept coming to games, and their stadium, Wrigley Field, remained a favorite destination for visiting groups and individuals.

MoreIncorporate Sports into Your Events: A Smart Play

The Cubs were called “lovable losers” for so long that it almost seemed like their official name. When they finally won the 2016 World Series, it ended a period of heartbreak that lasted 108 years. Consider…

  • Two World Wars had taken place since the Cubs last won the World Series, in 1908.
  • One gigantic Depression had occurred.
  • The 1919 Black Sox Scandal—involving the other team in town, the White Sox—took place 11 years after the Cubs’ previous World Series victory.

Generations of diehard Cubs fans were born, lived and passed on without ever seeing a World Series victory. Sometimes, the team came close, giving rise to euphoric hopes that inevitably came crashing down in a sea of errors, wild pitches or just plain bad luck.

So, when the Cubs finally won the World Series three years ago, everyone on the streets of Greater Chicago that night was part of a “family” celebration. On that joyous night, strangers were family.

Even the dearly departed remain part of the Cubs family. After the victory, gravestones at local cemeteries were filled with notes such as “Grampa and Grandma, you can rest now. We finally did it.”

The Cubs have remained competitive since their World Series win, making them and their historic ballpark even more desirable attractions for meetings groups.

Read more about Chicago’s appeal to meeting groups in Steve Winston’s story, “Greater Chicago: Be a Foodie Your Way in a Midwestern Mecca” in the December issue of Smart Meetings.


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