By now you know the Astros won the first World Series title in franchise history. It came months after Hurricane Harvey devastated the city. It’s a boost for the region and capped a dramatic seven-game series against the LA Dodgers.
You also might know the Astros are “my team” and that World Series reminded me how awesome and agonizing it is to be fan.
I watch a lot of sports. I pull for a lot of teams. But as a sports broadcaster, I disconnect from most of the emotion. Yes, I want the team I’m covering like the Mariners or the Seahawks to win, but at the end of the day I have a job to do regardless of the outcome.
It was different watching the Astros in the World Series.
The Astros are the team I grew up cheering for as a kid. My brother and I played baseball in the backyard, pretending to be Astros players. My parents took us to games in the Astrodome. Every morning during the baseball season I checked the newspaper to study the box score and memorize the stats of my favorite players. Most nights I fell asleep listening to Astros games on the AM/FM radio hidden under my pillow. Ken Caminiti (pictured left) was my favorite player.
I was a yell-at-the-TV-and-high-five-my-husband type of fan during the World Series. Here’s what I noticed:
- A lot of people initiated conversations with me because most of my friends and colleagues know I’m an Astros fan.
- Even though I could talk about the actual game/players/outcomes, most of the “baseball” conversations were actually about growing up in Houston and my family.
- I was not always as gracious with my words as I should have been. Emotions got the best of me a few times while watching at home and I had to remind myself, “Jennifer, the way you talk about a game, player or outcome says a lot about who you are as a person.”
- It’s really cool to know people are cheering with you. Whether it was watching the celebration on TV, seeing the pictures from Houston, calling my brother right after the game or raising a glass with my girlfriends. It’s powerful being part of a community.
The experience of being a real fan again, reminded me that sports is a powerful connector that opens doors, provides personal branding opportunities and fosters relationships.
I would stand by that statement win or lose.
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