A trophy can’t rebuild a house.
A championship ring can’t replace a lost loved one.
A victory parade can’t feed hungry children.
So how can the Astros World Series win help a city still recovering from the most devastating flood event in U.S. history?
While a sporting event, or any form of entertainment, can never replace what we lost during the storm, as our community spirit is proving, it can provide an emotional outlet for all the pent-up stress, anxiety, frustration and anger stemming from coping with an event of such a massive scale.
Fortunately, for many fans, watching the journey from the “Dis-Astros” of 2011-14 to World Series Champions in 2017 is giving countless Houstonians a much-needed release.
“We needed this,” Astros fan Joe Frank said in an interview with a New York Times writer after the Astros 5-1 victory in Game 7 Wednesday night.
Instead of joining the celebration of his fellow fans, Frank said he moved to the side, breaking down in tears, his voice cracking with emotion.
Dr. Asim Shah, the vice chair for community psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, described in an interview with a Houston newspaper how a fan’s emotional attachment to a team can have a significant effect on their psyche:
“We know that, when fans are emotionally invested in a team, winning increases testosterone, and, in turn, that increases dopamine,” Shah said. “Dopamine hits the reward center in the brain, and, when that happens, you feel better about yourself. Your self-esteem actually improves.”
With much of the city still stands with damage, thousands of Astros fans reportedly watched the games on TVs powered by portable generators, in homes where the wet sheetrock is still missing and the bare wall studs still visible, eating and drinking from coolers without refrigeration.
As they cheered and celebrated, their spirits rose, and they found the confidence to face one more challenging day.
Just like their team, everyone in the Bayou City proved they are truly “Houston Strong.”