Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Morning After (Packers - Bears) in Chico, CA.

A Mutual Groan by the Cheese heads encompassed the Graduate, a Sports Bar here in Chico, CA. after  Gould's 3 point winner.  You could see them shaking, some disgustingly getting up and pushing their chairs against the tables, knocking down glasses, grabbing purses, and thumping to the door.  Aaron Rodgers' hometown loyalists have nothing to celebrate.  Those of us with our Bears jerseys, were leaping in the air, high fives for anyone with the orange and blue regalia, even singing "Bear Down" in unison with beer mugs flying in the air (along with my diet coke).  It was awesome, period.

BEARS' FOOTBALL- Peppers' million $ plays,  take the rock out of the Packer's hands, and get it done with Robbie. Just as I said, period.  

Rewind 12 hours earlier:  9:00 am  All day long I  walked around with my Urlacher jersey.  At my work-out club, Kami,  at the front counter, said that she and her son were Bear fans, saying "Wow Janice, I love that shirt.  I want one.  My son and I love the Bears!" After my spin class, I'm walking out and saying hi to Jeff Stover (owner of the club) while he stands in front of his SF 49ers showcase of his uniform and pictures with Montana and Rice.  We've talked before about a game in 1986 with Richard Dent holding the 49ers on 4th and 1, as the  Bears win 10-9..  He smiles and and I wave.

12:00 Noon: at home, the guy who came to fix the bulls-eye break on my windshield, saw my  Orange and Blue jersey, smiled, and told me his wife would love me. She grew up in Chicago and can't get enough of the Bears. We Bear fans must be in all the nooks and crannies here in Aaron Rodgers' hometown.  Wow - gotta get this message out somewhere, and have a huge tailgate BBQ at MY house with our 32 " screen TV - for those of us who remember Walter,  Brad Muster, Sayers - and all great Bears' tight ends and running backs we're not seeing right now. 

1:00 pm:  I try to work and grade my graduate students' papers, but know I'm not sane enough at this point to ethically determine if  these students  have correctly diagnosed their clients with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress,  or pure ADHD.  Anyone watching me before this game would definitely see how Hyper and Distracted I am - period!

Fast Forward to post game celebrations - nothing like it.  I drive home and watch every Bears' post-game analysis on ESPN, NFL Network, and our own Chicago Comcast.  No wonder Buehrle lost v. Red Sox:  he too was distracted by Chicago Sports fans' intensity just 5 miles to the south.  And for just a few days, I'm loving the Cubbies doing well v. the Padres.  Living in Northern California has me going for the Giants to win the NL West.  I have just one recommendation for Pat Boyle's final comment:  he said "no one at the table here thought the Bears would win"  Well Pat - this southsidesportschick predicted this win 24 hrs. earlier in  Sunday's Blog # 2.  Peppers and Gould - just read it, please.

The morning after:  I talk on 670 The Score with Mully and Hanley.  I educate them on the importance of being a Bears fan in Chico, CA.  Love it.  Love Chicago Sports.  Every morning after.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Second City Blues

Monday night:  Bears  over the Packers by 3:  Robbie Gould will be Gold.  Sounds good, huh?

So why is this south side chick so blue?  Because I live in Aaron Rodgers home town:  Chico, California. It's the Green Bay Packers' Second City.    It sucks - really bad. Awful.  Depressing. Disgusting.

Ever since the NFL 2005 draft, when Aaron Rodgers dropped down to be the 24th draft pick (everyone in Chico, including his family/ friends,  had him written in as the SF 49ers new QB), I've had it quite tough as a life-long, die-hard Chicago Bears'-Monsters- of-the-Midway identity, come every September.  Can you imagine this?  Try, just try, for one moment. 

The lawns are filled with yellow and green banners, the sports bars have Rodgers' interviews blazing loudly on their speakers.  I can't go anywhere without cheeseheads sprouting on every corner, beginning every September.   Packs of them, walking the streets, taking over the malls,  jogging in the parks, Packer banners laced all over the schools. Yellow and green, yellow and green - what kind of color combination is that anyway?  I mean, ugly is ugly, no?  Have you EVER gone into a home with yellow and green as the room "motif", unless you're in Green Bay, Wisconsin? 
I still wear my Urlacher jersey, strutting my Bears' colors proudly.  I can handle the nasty stares.  I can handle the cat-calls (not the kind I got as a teenager on 87th & Jeffery in front of C.V.S, the largest vocational school in the country).   I can manage people laughing at me, jabs at Cutler's interceptions in last year's game. I can ignore the drivers rolling  down their windows, throwing me a fist as they pass my car, seeing my bumper stickers and Chicago sports paraphanalia with a Blackhawks 2010 trailer hitch, a WMAQ Sox 670 bumper sticker, a Chicago Bulls reference, and of course, my Chicago Bears' license plate frame. 

I go into Trader Joe's with my Bears cap on my curly haired head.  The check-out guys, who are trained to ask, "So how is your day going, ma'am?,"  stop in mid-sentence as they look at me.  It's as if you're watching a Twilight Zone scene - with the background "freezing," while you, the main character, looks around and wonders,  I'm doing just fine, thank you. Your problem, not mine!"  I smile, bag my groceries, talk some baseball about the SF Giants (always a good conversation right now),  thank them for the free coffee and snacks, and wish my TJ friends a great day. 

Do you get it yet? Any empathy for me?  No?  Not even for a moment?  Every minute, every day, Chicagoans can talk with your co-workers about our 2-0 Bears.  You get to listen to AM 670, AM 680, AM 1000 on your radios.  You get to listen to Mully and Hanley, Doug and Ed, Waddle and Silvy - on your commute to work, shopping at Jewel, & picking up the kids.  You chat excitedly with neighbors watering gardens, mowing lawns, washing your cars, walking your dogs, sitting on your stoops, playing catch in the streets.  Da Bears! We're baaaaaaack!

You can TIVO fast foward over the lead stories on your 10:00 p.m. news Channels 2, 5, 7, and 9, about whether Rahm will run for mayor, or Jesse's alledged corruption charges & personal life decisions.   You can go to 20 minutes after the hour, sit back, listen to your sports, & revel in Martz's & Tice's offensive play adjustments in the middle of a game! Wow! What a concept!

I'm stuck with walking into my work out club, with the buzz every year (since 2005) on "when the hell is Favre gonna stop being so self-absorbed, and so narcissistic, and let our Aaron get his shot?"  I can't believe what I'm hearing.  Really?  Honey, this is Favre.   I hate him as much as you do, but way longer than you have.  And believe me, my reasons are more neurologically encoded than you'll EVER know.  The WORST call was when Favre stepped over the line of scrimmage with no time left on the clock,  and threw for the winning TD at the end of the game in Soldier Field. That's when we all knew the refs were  starry-eyed over this Mississippi- drawl small town kid. And now we have Aaron. Oy. 

Fast foward this Monday, 9/27, at 10:00 am.   Green and yellow cars already swerving from the right lane to left, with Miller Brew well hidden in water bottles under the front seats.  People driving right down Highway 43 from Green Bay through Milwaukee, to Hwy 41.  This roadway becomes I-94 east, even though we're going south (didn't anyone in the Dept. of Defense, circa  1955, know what direction to send those army tanks, should the Russians invade via Alaska?  I guess no one could see Russia from Alaska 55 years ago -we certainly can't blame it on global warming).

At this point, I wouldn't be surprised to see Braylon Edwards in one of those cars.  Only Russ Feingold would insist that he be stopped on their highways.  Ron Johnson would cheer him on.  Really now, New Yorkers don't care how their celebrity sports' figures get to the park.  Or get anywhere.  They will always forgive Jeter's fake-being-hit antics or Alex Rodriguez lying to Katie Couric on their 60 minute interview regarding steroid use.

So, back to the cheese head drivers.  "Hey guys, we're at Soldier Field.  Wait a minute.  What are all these fish doing here?  Wow - they really know how to rebuild the lobby in their new football stadium.   We should go follow the crowds to the game.  Oh, let me drink my water , I'm SO thirsty.  Wow - they have a dinosauer in this next lobby, to greet us before the game.  Is this cool or what?  Hey, what about that tail-gating?  Where did we park anyway?" 

Monday night football.  Vince Lombardi v. George Halas. I expect our Chicago Blue to find some reason, any reason, to pat down those cheesie heads and find something, anything, to keep them out of OUR Soldier Field, for at least the first 5 minutes of the game.  I expect NO one to be wearing Wrangler Jeans anymore - boycott them and go back to wearing your Levi or GAP jeans.  I expect Aaron Rodgers to have the same hair stylist as Tom Brady, or ask Gisele for permission to copy Brady's haircut.  I expect Urlacher and Co. to sack the Green Bay QB, no matter what face is under the helmet (Peppers has to come on board here).

I expect this south side sports chick to saunter into Chico's biggest sports bar, 5pm Monday night, & find her Bear buddies in our designated corner. I expect to be taunted by Aaron Rodger's Second City's fans - the entire game.  I expect my husband to still be working at his computer. I expect my sons to be watching the game with mutual friends in their respective east coast cities.  I expect my entire family and friends in  Chicago to be texting me with every play. I expect the oldest NFL rivalry to make ESPN sponsors very happy.   I expect Sid Luckman to be smiling from his grave.  Why is this night different from all other nights?   Martz instead of Turner, period. So,  I expect to tune out my Second City Blues, even if Chico's Sports bar does not serve 4 cups of wine.

Bears by 3.  Robbie, you're my man.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman Pre-Game Report on Bears / Cowboys 9-19-10

Joe:  Good afternoon sports fans.  Troy and I thank you for joining us today from Dallas, where the Chicago Bears face the Cowboys in a game that begins with only one surprise:  the record of both clubs beginning week 2 of the 2010 football season.  

Troy:  Yes Joe.  Everyone here, in this billion dollar stadium, with its luxury suites for all the oilmen and tax-evading citizens, expected to be 1 - 0 for their opening game.  Instead, they disappointed even those whose BP stock plummeted over the last 3 months, by a sub-par performance against their division rivals, the Washington Redskins.  Finally, DC sports fans had something to cheer about, especially after the Washington Capitals blew a lead in what shocked most hockey fans, especially Russian ones.

Joe:  I know Troy.  Most around the league picked the young, GQ Tony Romo over the elder statesman, Donovan McNabb, in the season opener.  Instead, even Rush Limbaugh's racist slur could not contain the new Redskins' QB, whose patience and experience throughout the game surprised many, especially those still in Philadelphia who are now pinning their hopes on a football player whose crime was just getting caught.  Doug Williams must be so proud of the way McNabb is playing.

Troy: Well, Joe. I'd watch my words for all those animal-lovers at this point, but let's get back to the basics.  Cowboy fans can only relish putting the ball in the end zone multiple times today, against a defense which could not defend what everyone knew was a touchdown in the closing seconds of last week's Bears game.  Those in Chicago were also quite shocked, really, that between Mike Martz and Lovie Smith, neither one had their head in the game when they single-covered the best player, Calvin Johnson, on the Detroit Lions.  

Joe:  What WERE they thinking up north?  I mean, really, not since letting Mike Brown go, have they had any success in defending the end zone. We won't even go into letting another Brown go - Alex, that is.   And what WAS that call by Lovie, with 4th and 1?  Really, he would call that play anytime?  How dumb was that?  Seems as if Lovie and Obama are drinking from the same kool-aid. Being calm and collected is a trait with those leaders up there in Chicago.

Troy:  Joe, Joe, let's stay focused on the business at hand today - football. Let's give credit to where it's due. Urlacher brought the defense up to par, and their much maligned offensive line did a nice job in protecting Cutler.  Thankfully for Bear fans, they had another day with just 4 turnovers.  Many in Chicago were hoping that Jonathan Toews presence with Lord Stanley would rub off some lady luck - and it certainly did.  And I'm not talking about Ines Sainz either, for any of you who are following this. 

Joe:  Yes Troy.  It seems as if the officials were still star-struck with the 2010 Hockey Champs when they couldn't even call a TD for the Lions at the end of the game.  What is it with being in Chicago?    It reminds me of when I had the boring responsibility of covering the White Sox in 2005.   I mean, really, the White Sox?  How did the Red Sox, World Series 2004 Champions,  get defeated in a 3 game sweep by just pitching and defense?  And AJ?  How ridiculous was that call by the home plate umpire in game 2 v. the Angels.  He struck out, period.  Done. Are all sports refs mesmerized by the fans in Chicago?  And no one even knew who Obama, Rahm, or Axelrod were at the time - and now look:  ruining our country and appointing women to the Supreme Court?  Can we just have that picture of Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson on the screen?  That's what Cowboy fans really want to see. 

Troy:  Joe,  I know you're trying to play to the base here, but if I may:  word has it that you never liked the White Sox, and always seemed to rarely note their great playing and 4 complete games by their outstanding pitching staff.   What about giving a little credit to Mark Buehrle, in one of his finest performances vs. the Angels that night, and Joe Crede hitting the game winning RBI in the 9th?  As I recall, you continued to come back to AJ's strike out during the entire World Series games against the Houston Astros at Enron Field, oh, I mean, Minute Maid Park.   Are we showing a little southern cooking here? 

Joe:  Troy, of all people, I'd think you would be more appreciative to Texas and its fans, who gave you your career.  But in any case, I'd say the Cowboys are aiming to prove that the Southern football teams will beat the Northern ones on any given Sunday.  Look at the Super Bowl of last year.  I mean, New Orleans certainly made us proud.  

Troy:  But Joe, as I see it, Texans can spend one billion dollars on a new football stadium, but when it came to helping their neighbors in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, where were they then?  No wonder their state government meets every 2 years, instead of yearly.  They're too drunk on all their money and beer to even care about anyone but themselves.  Mollie Ivens is rolling over in her grave at this point.  Gratitude?  I guess I'd have to say that I can take you down as a football analyst any day of the week. Rupert Murdoch and his FOX Sports Network are just into their money making, period.  He, and Rush, and Beck, are probably sitting in one of these luxury suites as we speak, with the Bush family, of course, laughing all the way to every bank they own  - and oil well, whether by land or by sea.  

Joe:  Troy, it's my turn to bring you back into the game here.  So,  before we go to our sponsors, I would like to add that the analysts all look to DeMarcus Ware to cut the Bears offensive line in half today.  Chicago simply has no answer to the best defensive lineman in the league. 

Troy:  While I happen to agree with you,  I can't help notice how all these years Chicago's sports teams have dominated their Texan counterparts:  The Bulls, The White Sox, and the Blackhawks.  While I know that the Cowboy fans were happy to see Cutler leave Denver, I assume they're itchin' to take him and the Bears down today.  Well, as Chris Berman says:  That's why they play the games!

Joe:  Thank you Troy for that comment.  But one last question:  why haven't you mentioned the Chicago Cubs here?

Troy:  Honestly Joe, what would you have me say about an organization that chooses to put a yellow plastic noodle statue in front of their stadium?

Joe:  You've got a point there, at least something we can agree upon. And now to our game day sponsors:  BP and Toyota.