For a Chicago-born life-long Bears' fan, living in Aaron
Rodgers home town of Chico,
CA., could be...... ...(you fill in the
blank). Right. That bad. And
even worse. I'm not talkin' just awful or painful, I'm saying every
four-letter word that my family and friends know I'm capable of saying. And
that barely covers it.
My younger son went to school with Rodgers, but it was only when he was drafted by our much - despised rivals, that our shock and anger set in. Every Sunday, during football season, would be tainted! 1/2 our friends would be gone, done, out the door. Not welcome within 500 yards of my HD - TV. Conversations would drip with sarcasm. Emotions would rise high, mixed at times with fury and delight.
Imagine cheese heads walking the streets, with green & yellow goop dripping
from every sports bar window. Wrap your
mind around folks giving you the evil eye, seeing you with your Urlacher Jersey
on. Close your eyes and wander into Best
Buy or Costco: their flat-screen TV's
are showing replays of the Packers - Falcons game, with their hometown honey
wrapping that championship belt around his waist.
All these thoughts went round and round, giving me a huge
headache on my flight back to Chico Tuesday morning, 1:00 am.
Only 36 hours before, I was in the midst of nirvana: Soldier Field, Jim Cornelison, 5 TD's, joined by my sons, and my elder son's
girlfriend (Canadian born, first - time NFL game, indoctrinated in the only way
she should be), pumping our fists when the snow started falling at high noon -
what more could I want?
Still, nothing was going to stop me from wearing my navy blue
and orange #54 all week long here. Anywhere.
Everywhere. On bicycle. Windows rolled down in the car. Walking downtown, on campus, in the park, on
my street. Nobody could say or do
anything that I had not heard or seen before. I'm tough. I can dish it to
anyone. Try me.
BUT: SURPRISE! SURPRISE!
There have been more people than
you'd ever imagine - who told me how much they LOVED seeing my shirt!
#1. Georgie-Anne, our
mail carrier. "Wow - did you know I was from Chicago?
My grandfather worked in the slaughter-houses, and my uncle owned the
tavern where all the guys who worked in the slaughter-houses would go after
work, every day."
Janice: "What was the
name of the tavern?"
Georgie-Anne: "My Dad died, but I'll ask my Mom. She is
still a huge Bears fan, and we can't wait for the game Sunday. Go BEARS!"
#2. Trader Joe's checker
guy, as he looks up and sees my jersey.
He starts to strut with wide shoulders.
"Hey, great shirt. Keep standin'
tall, and walk like this!"
Janice: "Wow, how did
you become a Bears' fan?"
Trader Joe's checker guy: "I always loved their style of
football. Great defense, in the
trenches, and their Coach Lovie Smith is awesome. Go BEARS!"
#3. Cami, front desk
woman who checks people in at our local work out club: "Janice, I love your shirt - keep wearing
Janice: Cami, I'm in
enemy territory, with everyone here at the Sports Club belonging to the Aaron
Rodgers family and fan club."
Cami: "No way, you'd
be surprised. Remember how I told you
I've always been a Bears' fan? We're
raising our kid to love them. Go BEARS!"
#4. Jeff Stover,
owner of the Chico Sports Club, and ex-SF 49er on Super Bowl teams:
"Wow - where did you get that jersey?"
Janice: " Hey Jeff, remember when we chatted about 5 years
ago, how Richard Dent and the Bears beat your 49er's 10-9 on a Monday night
game, back in the day? I've had this
shirt about 10 years now."
Jeff: "Yeah - my wife
wants one. She's been asking me to get one for her, for years now. She's been a Bears fan all her life."
Janice: "How'd that
happen, with you playing for the 49ers?"
Jeff: "Got me - she's
just always loved the Bears!"
#5. Regina, counter person at Kinko's: "Hey, love your shirt, girl."
Janice: " Yeah, I'm
from the South Side - Are you a Bears fan?"
" Oh God, I was born on the south side. Whereabouts?"
and Jeffrey near CVS."
"No way - ½ my family is on the south side, the rest on the west side. I go
back every few years. My brother is here
right now visiting me."
Janice: "What's his
name? Are you watching the game on
Are you kidding me? He's talkin'
about nothing else all week. GO BEARS is
all he's saying."
#6. Dustin, Kinko's
Manager comes strolling by. "I love
this. I'm a Bears fan too."
Janice: "Were you born there?"
Dustin: "No, I'm from
Tennessee. But there was no way I'd root for the Browns
or the Bengals. I hated the Browns owner and the Bengals never did anything for
me. And New Orleans was just too far away."
Janice: "What about
the Titans and Jeff Fischer?"
Dustin: "The Titans
didn't exist then. It was the Bears; the
way they play, what they stand for, you know, like hard working folks. They've always been my team. GO BEARS!"
#7. My Pharmacist: He looks at me from behind the glass-sealed
window, as I'm picking up my medicine.
He point to my shirt and gives me a big smile. He 'mouths" GO BEARS! from his window.
So folks: IMAGINE! There's
more of us in the trenches than one can ever know,
175 miles northeast of San Francisco,
hometown of the Packer's QB. Let this be
a lesson to all: Time to Strut your
stuff, Bears fans! We're
everywhere. And I'm lovin' all of you for putting that big smile
back on my face here.
This South Side Sports Chick is callin' it like it is: The Bears' Diaspora is for real!