Rooting for the Underdog

I am a Cubs fan. If you follow baseball, you know that means I’m pretty excited this week. I’m also worried and skeptical, which again, if you follow baseball, you probably understand. If you aren’t a baseball fan, all you need to know is that it’s been 106 years since the Cubs won the World Series.

photoI picked up this lifelong addiction to this heartbreaking team when I was very young. My grandmother, who was also a lifelong Cubs fan, would take me to games and let me stay up late watching double headers whenever I came to visit. I have fond memories of drinking coke floats at 11 o’clock at night watching baseball games with her. For a six-year-old kid, that was a pretty exciting night.

Despite the fact that I don’t watch as many games as I used to, I am still a fan. They are my team, no matter what. For me, they are a reminder of the relationship I had with my grandmother, and will always connect me to her, many years after her passing. Even now, every time I watch a game I still get that excited feeling of a six-year-old being allowed to stay up late.

My decades of rooting for an underdog team have left me with a deep love for these loveable loser teams. And as I watch the teams get whittled down to the final four, I’m excited to see so many teams that aren’t playoff regulars within Major League Baseball playing the post-season. While I hope my team is the champion, I think I will manage a good amount of excitement for almost any of the remaining teams.

It’s fun to root for an underdog sports team, but when it comes to more serious matters of life, it becomes important to root for those who seem to have less of a chance of succeeding, like our Leaven kids. Their families are economically disadvantaged, and many of them have fallen behind their peers in education, opportunities, nutrition and more. Without help, many are statistically likely to be lost to crime, gangs, drugs or prison.

But not our Leaven kids – they are winners! Thanks to a community of supporters, these hard-working  students, families and communities are making a comeback. Leaven kids are succeeding in school, and their communities are becoming safer places to live. They are becoming strong citizens and have good role models to aspire to, right here in our community.

We’re so thankful that friends like you are rooting for our Leaven kids and helping us mentor and tutor  them so they can be winners. Because of your support, these kids are beating the odds, and together we are helping kids and communities rise.

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