In Chicago sports, playing to win is a losing game
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When the Chicago Bears play their first NFL game of the season on Sunday, they will be trying to win.
That is worth celebrating. As a White Sox fan, I have spent this season watching my favorite baseball team trying to lose. Actually, I refused to watch. You see, the White Sox lost a lot of ballgames without trying over the previous 60 years I have been a fan.
When young pitcher Chris Sale was called up from the minor leagues, I dreamed he would someday become, well, Chris Sale. That was when the Sox were trying to win, and I didn’t realize the primary objective of developing a star was to trade him to another team for prospects.
Today, rookie Michael Kopech is hoping to become Chris Sale and play for a team like the Boston Red Sox, where Sale now pitches.
Although the White Sox are trying to lose, they accidentally started winning in recent weeks. I’m not surprised. As a fan of this ball club, you expect failure, even when you’re trying not to succeed. It’s sort of like being a member of the Democratic Party.
Many of my friends who are Sox fans are nearly as angry, frustrated and confused as Democrats these days.
One posted on social media how delighted he was that the Sox had recently defeated the Red Sox and New York Yankees, two of the winningest teams in baseball. To his amazement, his fellow fans ranted that the Sox were supposed to be losing in order to get a higher draft pick in the Major League draft lottery so they could win games in the future, not today.
My friend, a loyal Sox fan, was befuddled. He thought “true” fans were supposed to cheer for their team to win.
Well, as we all know, the truth is no longer the truth and losing is now winning.
The Chicago Cubs’ Theo Epstein created the new theory about losing that is now sweeping sports, and proved it by winning the World Series with a team that never could. You see, the Cubs had been losing for decades without trying to lose, which is not winning baseball.
That is not as easy as it sounds (did I just say that?)
The Chicago Bulls tried to lose and failed. Well, they lost, a lot, but not enough to get one of the top three college players in basketball’s NBA draft. As the Bulls started winning, fans got all excited, just like my friend the White Sox fan.
And when the season ended, the reality hit that the Bulls had really failed to lose. It was a terrible thing to see Bulls fans realize their team had failed to win a top player by losing.
The Chicago Bears are my kind of team.
Last year, as the Bears started the season, I knew they would stink. Yet, I believed they just might win, despite using a quarterback who couldn’t start for anyone else in the NFL. Maybe, I figured, the Bears could get to 8-8.
They didn’t. They finished 5-11.
But fans were happy. The Bears started their rookie quarterback, who had never accomplished anything, and that gave us hope for the future.
They were finally trying to win, even if they were incapable of it.
And now the Bears have signed Khalil Mack to the biggest contract ever signed by a defensive player in football history.
This reminds me of the year the Sox signed Albert Belle. With Frank Thomas already in the lineup, we had the two best hitters in all of baseball.
The Sox lost. Fans ended up booing Belle, who set single-season team records that stand to this day for home runs and runs batted in before leaving town after two years.
I feel good about the Bears. I am excited. It’s like the good old days, when sports teams lost without trying.
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