In 1956, the Bears played the Giants in a championship game. They got beat. Bad. 47-7. My father in law - a young Jewish kid from Brooklyn at the time - heard the game on the radio and thought "This team needs me."
And, 56 years of fanaticism ensued - a fanatic in such a way that he kicked his family out of the house during the '85 Superbowl.
And it continues. He pointed out to the tour guide yesterday at Soldier Field that the tour guide failed to mention something pertinent about Walter Payton. Something about missing only one game in his career. I didn't hear it all because I couldn't keep up with him. He was following right behind the tour guide the whole time. On his 70th birthday, not missing a beat.
It's a little ironic that a few years ago, his son - my husband - was transferred to Chicago of all places. Despite being a Bears fanatic, Steve Ronay had never actually been here until yesterday.
After the tour of Soldier Field, we went to Ditka's of course. And, maybe there's a patron saint of fans somewhere who, knowing it was Steve's birthday, made this happen -
My husband: Hi, checking in. Four under Ronay. ... Is the coach here by any chance?
Husband turns around: There he is!
And, there he was. Walking down the steps. Right on cue.
Da Coach and Da Pops in Law
In the spirit of Roses, here's to 56 years of fandom - a long time! ... and perfect timing.
Thank you for reading Stop and Blog the Roses. Follow me on Twitter @fernronay.