314/366 – Sports-ing Online

cxll4jrk_400x400Recently I talked about iconic moments online, and referred very briefly to the fact that my favorite sports team, the Cubs, finally won the World Series after 108 years of futility. The funny thing about this was, if it wasn’t for the internet, I probably wouldn’t have been as big of a fan or as curious about what’s going on with the team as I am now, and there’s plenty of reasons for that.

When I was growing up, the only people I could associate with regarding the Cubs were the people immediately around me, whether they were at games, or in my neighborhood, or among family. All of this changed when I got access to email and the internet, where there were ready-made gatherings and groups of people who weren’t in my area who I could talk sports with (and not just the Cubs). Whether it was in a big email thread or a discussion post on the first forays into forums, there was sports talk to be had, especially about my beloved, yet perennially futile, Cubs franchise.

As the internet’s ability to bring communities together evolved, so too did my ability to sports-talk and Cubs-talk with other people. Long-moved-away friends were able to cheer the team on from Facebook when I posted pictures from a game I attended. People who were also fans of the Cubs on Twitter and who saw the trending hashtags I posted supplied replies and heartfelt encouragement. Highlights and media and the ability to catch the game and the best moments of the season got a lot easier with the ability to both clip them out and view them online. And being able to share everything that I read and everything that I loved about the team got easier by a huge magnitude.

In the end, doing the sports thing online has gotten a lot easier, mostly because there’s an easier way to commiserate with fans and even players on social media, to forge a connection to others that, like a sports team binds you together in shared emotion, whether that is joy over winning or pain over losing. It’s much easier to be less of a casual fan and more of a hardcore follower, and even for a team like mine that took so long to climb the mountain, it’s a benefit that can’t be understated.

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