The feeling you get when your team finally succeeds
Trevor Harding poses with his son in Toronto in this family photo.
Emerson Brito, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, October 9, 2015 1:14PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 9, 2015 9:05PM EDT
Calgary resident Trevor Harding follows his Toronto Blue Jays around the continent. This year, he’s travelled to Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Anaheim, Calif. to get a look at his favorite baseball team. Yet being a fan of a team that has constantly disappointed its fan base hasn’t been easy for him.
“It’s been long suffering and difficult to keep the faith,” said Harding. “I just became numb to the losing eventually.”
For those who don’t know, the Blue Jays failed to reach the postseason for 22 years. Now that the Blue Jays are in the playoffs, Harding has only one word to describe how he feels about his team: “Euphoric.”
And Harding isn’t alone.
Dr. Paul Bernhardt, an Associate Psychology Professor with Frostburg State University in Maryland, says for many fans, their favourite team is an “emblem of who I am and where I’m from.”
In that light, Bernhardt said cheering for a winning team symbolizes a connection to success. When our team wins, Burnhardt says we’re more likely to wear their colours and boast of their achievements.
“When our team’s winning we say ‘we won,’ but when they’re losing we say ‘they’re losers,’” Bernhardt said.
Eric Simons, author of “The Secret Lives of Sports Fans: The Science of Sports Obsession”, also sees fandom as a means of self-expression.
“By saying I’m a fan, you’re saying something about yourself,” said Simons.
Kansas City experienced a similar embrace of their baseball team last year, when the Royals went 29 years without making it to the postseason until they made it to game seven of the World Series last season. Just like Blue Jays fans, Royals fans got caught up in the excitement.
“Nearly three decades of frustration all came out at once into a joyous party,” said Pete Grathoff, who helps cover the Royals for the Kansas City Star. “Everybody was caught up in it,” Grathoff said of the postseason run that made the team the talk of the town.
Harding can relate, as he’s already determined to be a part of the Blue Jays’ post season run. He even flew to Toronto from Calgary to catch Game 1 against the Texas Rangers.
“I’m completely obsessed,” he said. Harding joked: “I might lose my wife, my kids… I can’t stop watching.”
That’s what you should expect from a fan that gets to see the team he loves achieve some success for the first time in over two decades.