Archive for the 'Bears' Category

Bear Down, New York Giants

Monday, February 4th, 2008

In October my brother Aric threw an issue of Sports Illustrated at me. “Read the first letter to the editor,” he said. “That’s why I hate Boston.” It was in response to the previous issue that had placed Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon on the cover. The letter was from a Boston fan complaining that Sports Illustrated had jinxed the Red Sox by placing Papelbon on the cover. It concluded with, “Haven’t we [Boston sports fans] been through enough?”

In truth, the main reason that Aric hates Boston sports is jealousy. The Red Sox went on to win another World Series, the Celtics have the best record in the NBA, and the Patriots had won three previous Super Bowls. Jealousy is expected. But now they’re complaining about their suffering? What, exactly, has Boston been through except for world championships in 2002, 2005, and two in 2004.

Meanwhile, in that span, the Bears imploded, the Bulls fell apart, and the Cubs, well, Cubbed. If Boston fans want something to whine about they should try rooting for our teams… or at least Cleveland’s.

Then, when the Patriots finished the regular season 16 and 0 — the only team ever to do so  — it got personal. The two great bastions of glory in Chicago sports are Michael Jordon and the 1985 Chicago Bears. In just about every poll, the ’85 Bears are considered the greatest football team ever. It would be hard to argue that the 18-1 Bears were better than a 19-0 Patriots team. (I’m not saying it couldn’t be done. I’m just saying it would be hard.)

But the Patriots didn’t go 19 and 0.

When Eli Manning eluded a wave of tackles and connected with David Tyree, who miraculously caught the ball on his helmet, I don’t think there was anyone happier than Aric. And when New England’s grumpy, classless, cheater of a coach stormed off the field, there were high fives in Chicago.

I’d Guess No

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Last weekend I was watching the Bears game with my brothers as I often do.  After so many disappointing games this season there’s not much left to talk about.  I mean, how many times can someone criticize Cedric Benson?   As Rex Grossman fumbled his way to another Bears loss, my brother Brian tried to spark some conversation:

Brian: Do you think the coaches take showers after the games?

Thank You Charles Tillman

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I was at the Bartman game. My dad somehow managed to find bleacher tickets for himself, my brothers, and I. There’s a very clear picture in my head of my brother Brian holding five fingers in the air… one for each out the Cubs needed to move on to the World Series.

My brothers at game 6 of the NLCS in 2003 with high expectations.

We all know what happened next.

I wish I took a picture afterwards, but I was too depressed. The four of us trudged down Sheffield to my brother’s apartment, too miserable to get on the train. We joined thousands of others, dazed, silently wandering in the middle of the street. Every once in a while someone would vocalize their frustrations by shouting: “Dammit,” “8 runs,” or a simple Santo-esque “No!!” It was surreal and awful. Many have compared it to a funeral. In my experience, funerals are happier.

Seventh Inning Stretch — 3 to 0, Cubs — 15 minutes to meltdown.

A week later, looking to vent my frustrations, I sold my ticket stub on eBay with “Worst Game Ever” scrawled on the bottom. It was bought for $22 by someone in Indiana. (I refused to ship to Florida.)

As the Cubs embarrassed themselves against the Diamondbacks this weekend, I felt numb. I was disappointed but not depressed. For some reason I didn’t have very high expectations — maybe because this year’s collection of overpaid underachievers didn’t inspire me much — but I think Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS had something to do with it. That night changed me. I’ve lost my naive childish thrill. To quote Steve Goodman (again) “What do you expect when you raise up a young boy’s hopes and then crush them like so many empty beer cups year after year after year after year after year…” As the playoffs began this year, my dad said he wasn’t sure what made him happier: seeing the Cubs make the playoffs or seeing the Mets collapse. He still holds a grudge from 1969. These things stay with you.

“Worst Game Ever”


I hope someday I can feel that way about the Cubs again. They have some likable young players and 100 years is a nice round number. In the meantime, here’s hoping the back page of the Sun Times has some good news after a pretty depressing couple of weeks. Watching Charles Tillman literally wrestle a win from the arms of the Green Bay Packers was a pretty good start. Thanks Peanut, Chicago needed that.