Chicago Bears fans, your days are numbered. The countdown is running out. If Mayor Emanuel’s proposed Lucas Museum of Narrative Art survives legal challenge, the parking lots surrounding Soldier Field will be dozed and your time-honored tailgating tradition as you know it will be gone.
Like the Morlocks in the H.G. Wells novel, “The Time Machine,” Bears fans will reside underground. In parking lots beneath the surface.
Mayor Emanuel insists that he will take care of Chicago Bears fans. But, as one fan aptly put it, “You can’t tailgate underground.”
As Chicago sports fans, we cherish our customs and traditions. We love the game but we also treasure the moments that make us “one” with the larger fan community. This epic search for fan “oneness” – this sports nirvana – is more than guzzling beer, wolfing down sausages, or other tailgate-related revelry. Surrounded by family and friends, we swap stories. We relive the glories of the 1985 Super Bowl season. We pine for Ditka. We argue about Cutler. We bond.
For many of us, it is part of our Chicago identity and it should not be denied. Our sports fan traditions should also not be dissed and disrespected by Mayor Emanuel and the city’s cultural elite.
Sadly, that is what is happening.
Take, for example, the comments made by Kate Grossman, deputy editorial page editor for the Chicago Sun-Times.
See the full video here.
Appearing on Natasha Korecki’s Internet show, “Off Message,“ Grossman gushed over the proposed Lucas Storage Shed on the Lake. She lavished Emanuel with praise for his swift action in sealing this supposedly great deal for Chicago. (Psst, this should make us all magically forget Chicago’s pension crisis, the murder rate, Rahm’s red light violations, and his CNN forgery.)
But wait until you get a load of Grossman’s sports fan dis:
“Neil [Steinberg], you have to remember, what’s there right now [by Soldier Field] is a parking lot…. The fact of the matter is – I drive by there all the time. It is an UGLY parking lot. I HATE football! I DON’T CARE if people are going to lose their tailgating. They are going to add 10 acres of parkland – I think it is going to be an improvement… The Field Museum was started by another rich guy who had a lot of chotchkies in his basement,” Grossman said.
Wow. Well, Ms. Grossman, I have a few choice words for you too.
First, it’s not all about you or whether you hate football or your pent-up disdain for thousands of Chicago Bears fans.
Would you say the same about Cubs fans? White Sox fans? Bulls fans? Blackhawks fans? Will you say the same about the soon-to-be parade of tourists dressed as Stormtroopers or Princess Leias in that slave girl get-up?
Ms. Grossman should apologize to the fans.
It’s also not all about giving George Lucas a tax-free place to store his junk on prime Chicago lakefront property – property that is supposed to be protected from further development.
And it’s not all about Rahm Emanuel’s re-election campaign either.
This is about the real people of Chicago. This is our land. Not yours. Not Mayor Emanuel’s. And it’s not George Lucas’ land either.
Mayor Emanuel has compared the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts to Chicago’s other great cultural institutions – the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. These authentic museums have been in existence for more than 75 years.
Will the Chicagoans of the future even know Lucas’ name? Will the Star Wars franchise exist in 100 years? What will happen then?
This isn’t a museum. It is a warehouse. By the Lake.
What has Mayor Emanuel just gotten us into? This isn’t a win for Chicago. This is a loss.
Real Chicagoans and sports fans need to speak up on this proposed museum now before its too late.
The Force isn’t with them; it’s with us.