I was leaving the Tribune Tower on Tuesday afternoon as the Cubs were playing and heard a collective cheer from a nearby restaurant. I jumped in a taxi and the driver had the game blaring on the radio. And when I entered the building where I was going, security guards and others were huddled over their smartphones getting updates.
By the time I left, the Cubs had won the National League Division Series 3-1, beating the St. Louis Cardinals. Jubilant strangers were high-fiving one another and spreading the news: “We won! We won!”
I talked to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a blogger for Psychology Today. In 2011, she penned a piece on the psychology of sports fans and the phenomenon called “BIRGing,” from a 1970s study, regarding when fans “bask in the reflected glory” of their teams.
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