As a long-suffering Bears fan, it’s become a semi-tradition to dust off the gem above every September as kick-off nears.
Maybe it’s to try to hype myself up like a haka dance.
Maybe it’s to steel myself.
Maybe it’s so I just don’t check out entirely in order to do something more productive, or at least far less infuriating, than watching yet another Bears season.
I glance at IG stories with a hint of envy. There’s my homie on top of a Malibu hiking trail overlooking the Pacific. There’s my other friend training for a marathon and MMA. Another smoking a blunt at a BBQ. There’s that chick sipping mimosas poolside.
And here I am in my mancave, screaming at the pirated, pixelated Bears, venting online to some internet Fight Club support group.
And yet I keep doing it. Season after season, year after year.
My step-dad, a hard working earnest man, always asks me with a shit-eating grin, “You ready for a new season?” It comes complete with a mixture of pity and admiration. Then it just trails off in his drawl, “I dunno how you do it” and he’s off to work on his 57 Studebaker.
Honestly, I never used to think about it. It just became habit – like being stuck in a bad marriage. Aristotle once observed that most don’t even recognize the best time of their lives until much later and the same can apply to the worst times.
Ironically, it wasn’t even until the Cubs FINALLY won the World Series that emotions I never even knew existed stirred up. See, I was jubilant, like many, but my elation was infused with a languid sorrow. I thought about my uncle, who loved the Cubs since Ernie Banks, not being able to rejoice in their once-in-a-century triumph because he died some years ago. And he was not alone.
I think now about how passionate Doug Buffone expressed all our outrage, contempt and frustration after every game. I envision the spittle flying as his face reddened with righteous indignation. Then he died. Trestman was the last Bears’ incarnation he witnessed before leaving this earth. Imagine that.
Do I want to be like that? Like my uncle, Buffone, and countless others, expending my psychic energy on a team that has been incompetent since The Breakfast Club, The Goonies, and Commando were in theaters; since Sussidio, View to a Kill, and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go were on the radio?
MB retreating to surfing and a Jacuzzi sounds more and more appealing.
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Then I cast myself as a Brit, stoically shuffling to the Underground, resigned and rebellious, acknowledging reality but not entirely accepting nor submitting, being both cautious yet optimistic.
The act itself is a reaffirmation of belief, a defiance to not surrender to the dark cynicism that rattles in every heart.
And as such, out of some ridiculous sense of loyalty, or sheer stupid stubbornness, I will once more march into another Bears’ season with all the bitching, yelling, bemoaning, rooting, cheering, whooping, booing, throwing of random objects, scaring of pets. All the ecstasy and agony which that entails.
Maybe one Sunday my circle will catch me in an IG story on top of a hill overlooking the Pacific, smiling and basking beneath a breeze, sunburnt forehead and shimmering beard….but not this season.
If this shitty year has taught me anything it’s never take anything for granted. Not a concert, not a haircut, and not a seemingly trivial sport. NOTHING. I’m putting on my Sweetness, Jimmy Mac, Butkus, Peanut gear…prepping for Bears’ ball.
Gentlemen, once more into the breach.
Let’s roll. Bear Down!
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