In Chicago, the wait has been going on longer than most could have predicted. Since they last won the National League Division Series, the world has changed. It has seen the invention of the credit card, microwave, and mobile phone. It has passed through the Vietnam War, the life of Alan Rickman, and the succesful fight for independence of India from the British Empire.
They feel that their time has finally come. Their previous World Series appearance may have been in 1945, but you have to look way, way back to 1908 when they could last call themselves ‘World Series Champions’.
That is not to say that they are the only team to experience a title drought. In fact, the Cleveland Indians (who the Cubs will face off against in this year’s grand showdown) can boast a winless run stretching back to 1948, which is no mean feat in itself.
It is an unprecedented length of time for two teams to go without success, with Cleveland as a city only seeing its fortunes rise in the last year. Before the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Finals in June of this year it had been 52 years since the city had last seen any one of its professional teams win a major sporting title – that is a whole lot of heartbreak.
It is not only American teams failing to perform on the biggest stage, as Newcastle United fans can attest to. The Magpies are yet to win a major trophy since 1969 and despite many moments of, perhaps unwarranted, optimism, the drought looks set to continue for the time being.
On an international stage, British football is experiencing quite the dry spell. Although England’s 1966 World Cup win is still cherished by fans, players, and pundits alike, it remains a lone bright spot in a history chequered with disappointment and false dawns.
Not that the rest of the UK has fared much better. None have come close to winning a World Cup, while Scotland have dramatically failed to make the main draw of any international tournament for the last 18 years.
None of this really compares though with Somerset County Cricket Club who have successfully managed to navigate a whole century without ever capturing an elusive County Championship. After being admitted into the competition in 1891 they are yet to ever hold the silverware in their hands, while Gloucestershire have only ever won ‘unofficial’ crowns which few consider legitimate, the last coming in 1874.
Droughts are a natural part of the sporting landscape but they are hard for the fans to endure. However, endure they must. After all, winning would get boring after a while…right?
Image courtesy of Peter Merholz