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.