November 9, 2016

Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win! The Chicago Cubs just won the World Series for the first time since 1908… in game 7… in the 10th inning… after a rain delay, oh my! Emotions were high for players, fans, and even those who aren’t necessarily Cubs fans but could appreciate the moment.  And while men – especially pro athletes – aren’t often known for verbalizing their emotions, there were two shining examples of candor during the intensity of game 7.

First, caught candidly on national TV, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said what nearly every single person has felt during the most challenging moments of their lives:

I can’t control myself right now. I’m trying my best. I’m emotional. I’m an emotional wreck.

Rizzo was speaking to Cubs catcher/elder tribesman David Ross who was understanding and sympathetic, and told him to “continue to breathe.” Ross offered sage, honest advice for a young player standing on the precipice of one of the most monumental events in sports history.

Then, during the rain delay and following a shift in momentum toward the Cleveland Indians, Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward, pulled the players together for a team meeting that many credit for inspiring the team’s comeback and win.

I just had to remind them who they were. I just reminded everybody who we are, who these guys are, what we’ve overcome to get here. Win or lose, we never worry about that. … I’m proud of them. I say it all the time, but I’m proud of these guys. ~ Heyward, to FOX Sports

While Heyward’s speech hasn’t been made public, the players’ reactions convey the importance of his words:

That was the best thing for us. I mean, we all got together in the weight room, and, you know, we all supported each other. … Jason Heyward led the way. I mean, talking us up, getting us ready. ~ Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, to FOX Sports

We just got together — honestly, Jason Heyward called a meeting, all the players, and we rallied together, we rallied strong. We knew that we could do this. We know we keep fighting, we never quit, we always say it, and we pull together, and the boys believed, and we won. ~ Rizzo, to FOX Sports

Heyward, who hasn’t had a remarkable season as a player, may have just earned his spot in history because of his words – his candor about his team, and what they were capable of.