Living in Chicago for the last two football seasons has been a much different experience for me. For this is the first time I have found myself in the minority of football fans…In Kaukauna, WI, I grew up 23 miles away from Lambeau field. My family sat in the same seats at Lambeau for 47 years, and many of my friends’ families still have their season tickets. During the football season, Fridays are not “casual” Fridays, rather “green and gold” Fridays. On Sundays, if for some reason you are not seated in your living room to watch your beloved PACK, driving down the street would suffice as you could literally watch the game as you passed each house.
I grew up with stories of Starr, Hornung, and Lombardi. For the first 23 years of my life, I was never far from another Packer loyalist. Then I moved to a city that starts with a C, ends with an O, and in the middle is “HICAG”…The small town is replaced with busy streets and sky scrapers, green and gold for blue and orange, and Starr, Hornung, Lombardi for Butkus, Payton, and Halas.
While walking down the aisle in the super market I no longer hear a friendly “GO PACK”…I hear a threatening “BEAR DOWN”. And when I get to the register the cashier tells me that he’s afraid my Packer themed debit card may break his machine. Some of these remarks are friendly, some not. Like the guy who tried to lecture me on how the Packers are horrible. But for the time being, I have the luxury of knowing that he and his Rashaan Salaam jersey are wrong.
However, this is not an attempt to hate on Chicago and the Bears. As a matter of fact, I have an appreciation for the Bears. My childhood friend would have never existed if his parents wouldn’t have met at an Evanston Super Bowl party in 86. So that counts for something.
These last two seasons have been unique. I have been able to experience one of sport’s greatest rivalries on the other side of the spectrum; to see how the other guys do it. And honestly, it’s somewhat similar. Some fans are cool and knowledgeable, others are idiots. Some sports talk hosts are good, others should have never been allowed on air. Fridays seem like a blue and orange day, and I can also walk down my street on the north side and see a Bears game pretty much snap for snap while kind of window-peeping into people’s houses. And best of all, on Sunday mornings, on the red line I can hear dad’s talking to their sons about what they’re going to experience for the first time on their way to Soldier Field. Explaining how a team can mean so much to a city and a family’s tradition. Much like my dad did for me on our way to Lambeau when I was little.
I’ve gotten used to being a Packer fan in Chicago. And although it’s a different experience, it’s been enjoyable. The fact that my Packers have won five straight have made the transition easier too. I just might have to make this Chicago thing long-term if it means the Packers keep this streak going! GO PACK!!!
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