Chicagoans have a few things to celebrate.
In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series since 1908, ending the longest championship drought in professional sports. It wasn’t an easy game, as the (formerly) Lovable Losers battled the Cleveland Indians through 10 grueling innings to capture the win. The good feelings brought on by that type of victory tend to stick around for a while.
Also, coincidentally, many Chicago residents are welcoming new members into their families this week.
Well, maybe not coincidentally.
As The Chicago Tribune reported, Jackie Young and her husband, Phil, are two of the many parents celebrating this August. Their new daughter, Ivy (a reference to the ivy that covers the brick walls of Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play home games), was conceived on Nov. 2—the same day as the decisive Game 7 of the World Series.
“She was a surprise,” Phil told the paper. “I don’t think you plan for a World Series baby.”
They’re not alone. Reporter Marwa Eltagouri consulted with doctors at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and found that the hospital experienced an unexpected surge of births between July 10 and 18. Although hospital officials say that they don’t have enough data to definitively link the uptick to the World Series victory, they aren’t ruling out that possibility.
“Whether it’s the natural ebb and flow of labor and delivery or the Cubs celebration, we can leave that up to the imagination,” said Dr. Melissa Dennis, vice chairwoman of obstetrics and gynecology at the hospital.
Some research shows that sports victories can, in fact, cause baby booms.
In 2009, researchers examined a baby boom in Catalonia, Spain, and traced the phenomenon back to Football Club Barcelona’s victory over Chelsea FC in soccer’s UEFA Champions League Final. In that case, Catalonian birth rate grew by 45 percent.
Reporters have dubbed children born during this boom “The Iniesta Generation,” a reference to soccer player Andrés Iniesta, who scored the winning goal.
The researchers, led by Jesus Montesinos, drew a few conclusions.
“One is that human emotions on a large scale can profoundly affect demographic swings in populations, that national or regional events can reduce the weight of reason and increase the weight of passion,” their paper reads.
“Validation of our results could contribute to a better understanding of human behaviour, improve healthcare planning, and even aid government policy makers in stimulating or reducing birth rates.”
A study from the University of Missouri-Columbia notes that economics influence fertility rates far more than other factors, so sports victories certainly aren’t the most important component of population growth—but they can, apparently, make a difference. Just ask Ivy’s parents.
“It was so dramatic in light of the history,” Phil Young said of the Cubs’ World Series victory. “There’s just a ton of weight on the game, so when it went our way, the celebration for everyone, everywhere, was real.”
“The fact that [Ivy] is at home now breathing and eating and acting like a normal baby, it’s miraculous,” he told The Chicago Tribune. “It kind of lines up with the drama and miracle that was the postseason.”