BY MELISSA HARPER, GOOD SPORTS CEO
At Good Sports, we have the opportunity to work with professionals who have reached the pinnacle of their field. Recently, I sat down with the President of the reigning World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, Crane Kenney, who also serves on our Chicago Advisory Board.
We talked baseball. We talked championships. We talked childhood memories from the pool, and the role sports have and continue to play in his success. Four themes resonated throughout.
The Power of Sports
The most surprising aspect of the World Series? According to Crane, it wasn’t what happened inside the club, but the wider impact that cascaded out from the long-awaited win. Hundreds of stories made their way to the front office; tales of the World Series games bringing families together that had been fractured, inspiring people to travel to Chicago who had been unable to do so for years, and creating a shared focus among groups for which there was often no common ground.
“All the stories were around people, family, community, love for this team, love for this ballpark and love for our city,” said Crane. “The win created a moment where everybody could let that out – it was the most remarkable thing for me.”
The Impact of Sports
We often measure a team based on wins and losses, however, there is something more central to the success of a team. Crane recalls the idea of “team” growing in importance during middle and high school sports. At that stage, he started to learn the key lessons that only a team could teach: how to win and lose gracefully, how to be accountable to your teammates and to yourself every day, and how to pursue a collective goal over your personal agenda.
“All those life lessons we learned on the playing field are the life lessons that make you successful as a person, as a father, as a husband, and everything else,” said Crane. “And so for me, the sports field, maybe more than any other place in my life, taught me lessons that have carried me to the place I am today.”
Play for Each Other
Shortly after the World Series win, Crane was watching his daughter’s high school basketball game. It was a blowout, so her coach sent in all of the reserve players. Immediately, the starters began cheering and celebrating the success of the girls who hadn’t had the opportunity to step on the court as many times that season.
At that moment, the parallels between his daughter’s basketball team and the World Series winning Cubs struck. The common thread? Both teams played more for each other than they did for themselves.
“If you looked at the dugout rail, every time we were playing, the team was on the rail cheering for their teammates,” said Crane. “As I was watching my girls play, I was thinking about this club that just won the World Series and how they played for each other and celebrated the other person’s success more than they celebrated their own success. It may be one of the most important elements that team had.”
Because of Sports
At Good Sports, we encourage people to tell their Because of Sports story. What happened in Crane’s life Because of Sports?
It all started his freshman year of high school when his coach was asked about a swimming record for the 100-yard backstroke, a record that had been upheld since the 1960s. The coach said it was a one-time performance and that record was unlikely to ever be broken. As the 100-yard backstroke was his best event, Crane decided to take that record on. It was then that he learned how to set and tackle a goal.
He charted a path from where he was as a freshman to the goal – and then broke it his junior year of high school. Once accomplished, Crane looked forward to setting his next goal. While his swimming record has been broken many times since, his mentality in regards to championship has only gotten stronger. Because of Sports Crane and the Chicago Cubs have broken the biggest record of all.
Special thanks to Crane Kenney, President of the Chicago Cubs, and Good Sports Chicago Advisory Board Member for taking the time to share his thoughts and allowing me to give you all a glimpse of his story.