Although I’m dating myself, I’ll explain again that I became a Chicago Bears fan in 1979 when I was 8 years old. I played organized baseball, not football, as a grade schooler, but football was always my first sport.
I did follow both the Cubs and the White Sox during the summers, in the early 80′s. But probably because they were never in the postseason, I guess I just automatically switched baseball off by the time the Bears went to training camp. My father and uncle would take us to at least one game at Wrigley each summer, solidifying my background as a Cub fan, although I never had a problem with the Sox or wanted them to lose.
Watching the Cubs and going to a couple games in 1984 was special, watching them tank from game 3 of the playoffs on that season was not. So in 1985, coinciding with the greatest Bears season in history, I switched off baseball for 18 seasons. This was not so much to punish the Cubs for perennially sucking, but simply that my life was getting busier. Got swamped with high school, then college, then starting my career as the years moved on, and during those times I decided that if I couldn’t follow a team intensely, I couldn’t follow them. I could not keep track of baseball for 162 games, so I abandoned it.
Same with being in Chicago through six Bulls world championships. Not even to mention that basketball does absolutely nothing for me, I didn’t have time to follow a whole season of basketball. “I’d love a 81-game football season, though,” I used to say.
In 2004, though, I was ready for a summer sport again, and for the last 4 1/2 years I have again become almost as big a Cub fan as a Bears fan. (Actually, there’s no way I could ever become as much a fan of anything as I am a Bear fan, but still). I rarely miss watching or listening to any of the 162 games, and I’ve found that it really is a summer enhancer.
And yes-I’ve followed every bit of the mostly disappointing 4 1/2 Cubs seasons since the 2003 near-miss. From clamoring to find a bar in New York City that would show the first Nomar game in 2004 to thinking 2005 and 2006 were the years after seeing opening day victories, I’ve been there. So in 2008 it’s been fantastic to be a Cubs fan.
I was excited watching the Cubs sweep the Sox this last weekend. Cub fever has to be nearing its pitch. But you know what I realized Sunday, weather is beautiful, Cubs winning?
I miss the Bears.
What is profound about this, being that this is really no big news, is that it had actually been, by my calculation, 261 days since I’ve given a crap about the Bears. Of course I gave a crap about the Bears and attended every home game last year, but it was October 1, 2007 that I knew the season was over, and the rest of it would be like so many other Bears seasons, and less like the almost-magic of 2006.
The wins over Green Bay were nice, the overtime thriller over Denver OK, but I lost a lot of fever in 2007. And frankly, I don’t know if we’re headed in the right direction in 2008 either, with the Benson debacle proving the Bears still don’t know how to draft and all.
But I miss the Bears, and I’m excited for some football, starting in a month. Good to have that feeling back.