Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services is a national leader in exhibition services and event project management. Some of the exhibitions and events we service and handle are corporate parties. We admire parties that are well-planned and well-orchestrated, whether they are big parties, small parties, or midsize parties.
Among the best parties on earth are those that cities and metropolitan areas hold to honor and celebrate the championships of their professional sports teams. These parties can be quite big, attracting a million, or two million, even three million or more.
On Wednesday of last week, Halloween, New England honored and celebrated the Boston Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series. It did so with what is now – and has been since 2002 – a quintessential regional party: a “rolling rally” duck boat parade through the streets of Boston.
The “Sox” beat the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one in the best-of-seven-game series. Now, while, of course, the Willwork corporate headquarters is located in the Boston suburbs, we also have a busy and thriving Los Angeles operation. The recent World Series result was going to be, for Willwork employees and its contract laborers, occasion for smiles and moping no matter what team won.
And this year it was the Red Sox.
How many were on hand for the victory bash last week? Smart estimates place the number of revelers in the one-million range.
The inaugural Boston duck boat parade (which is, remember, also a rally) was held in 2002 to celebrate the New England Patriots franchise winning its first Super Bowl. About a million revelers attended the event.
It was the first of 11 duck boat parades in the city: five for the Patriots (2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017), four for the Red Sox (2004, 2007, 2013, 2018), and one each for the Boston Bruins (2011) and Boston Celtics (2008). It’s been a nice era for New England professional sports fans.
Of all the duck boat parades, the one that drew the largest attendance – three million – was the parade held for the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the team that ended the 86-year Red Sox championship drought. That’s a lot of people.
Then, again, it makes sense, the crowd size. Really. You wait that long … and over that five-decade wait, the Sox won four American League pennants, yet lost in seven games in all four World Series. (And we need not rehash Game 6 of the 1986 World Series which Boston, leading the New York Mets in the series, 3-2, had won – but then it hadn’t.)
The 2004 Red Sox parade scored the second biggest crowd to date for a sports championship party,
What party holds to the top spot in the category of highest attendance for a sports championship party?
What was the big deal about the Chicago Cubs win? Well, you see, Chicago loves its “Cubbies,” a franchise founded in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings. And, like the Red Sox, the Cubs play in a hallowed and iconic place – Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914. Only Fenway Park, which hosted its first game in 1912, is an older MLB park.
There is also the condition of millions of people holding affection for a long time for a team that didn’t win for a long time. The Chicago Cubs had not won a World Series for a long time.
Chicago’s seven-game World Series win over the Cleveland Indians ended the longest North American professional sports team championship drought in history: 108 years. In fact, prior to the 2016 season, the Cubs had not won a National League pennant in 71 years, which was an MLB pennant drought record.
People in the Chicago area wanted to party. A lot of people in the Chicago area wanted to party. And they did.
Curiously, if the Indians had won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, you could count that at least a million, maybe more, would have shown up for that championship parade. After all, on June 22, 2016, one million people showed up to fete the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers – a turnout that, according to Wikipedia, made the crowd the sixth largest sports celebration ever.
The Cleveland Indians have their own long streak of futility, not having won a World Series since 1948, which, as the 2016 “Fall Classic” began, was the second longest time in the MLB desert without a championship. (Although, prior to 2016, Cleveland’s most recent American League pennant win was 1997.) Played up in the press was the fact that the meeting of the Cubs and Indians in the World Series was a MLB record-setter for most combined number of years of a championship drought: 176.
Cleveland had known a long championship-barren era.
In fact, when the Cavaliers, and LeBron James, beat the Golden State Warriors heir 2016 title, it ended 52 consecutive years that Cleveland had not won a major professional championship – the NFL title that the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 (its fourth in the 15 years it had been in the league).
To get back to Chicago – actually the broader Chicago area – for a bit, we restate that it is a region and place that holds and nurtures a fervent following for its sports teams. A crowd of two million attended the rally/parade celebrating the Chicago Black Hawks winning the 2013 Stanley Cup.
And Willwork makes sure to mention here that our Chicago operation has long been highly successful, and enjoys strong and consistent growth.
Then, again, Willwork maintains offices in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Across the country, we work in cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.
It is likely that wherever is the next big celebration for a pro sports championship, Willwork has an office close by … as will be the case for the following celebration … and the one after that … and the … anyway, you know what we are saying.
America loves to win. America loves to party.
And here we reference the words written by journalist W.F. Deeds, in 1999, about the high level of intensity and fervor and joy that Americans displayed that year during the final stages, and in the aftermath of, the U.S. team beating the European squad in the Ryder Cup international golf tournament played at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.
Many on the other side of the Atlantic felt that the nature and character of the celebrating, of players and fans, was inappropriate and crass and over the top. But not Mr. Deedes, the former editor of the Telegraph newspaper of London. He wrote:
“I found myself feeling faintly jealous of America’s capacity for emotion. We shrug our shoulders a lot. They really care. They want to win. They hate to lose. And this carries them beyond a golf game at Brookline.”
Yes, America loves to win America loves to party.
And there will never be a shortage of Americans showing up to be a part of both.