Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Weren't You A Bears Fan?

I still hear it from my friends back home in Chicagoland. "Traitor!", "Blasphemer!", "Fair weather fan!". I grew up there (and Detroit) and lived across the street from Chicago Bears Cornerback, Virgil Ivers for a few years while I was in high school. Through him, I had the pleasure of meeting Walter Payton, Noah Jackson, and Alan Page. Back then professional athletes were still role models and all four were friendly and likable. After I got out of the Navy, I met Mike Singletary and he was a giant Teddy Bear. So even though I wasn't a football fan, I became a Bears fan.

About four years ago I started to pay attention to NFL games and discovered that football was indeed Battle Chess; far more than brute force, speed, and a quarterback with a cannon arm. After a year and a half of watching the Bears sabotage themselves, trade and release their best players, hire crappy coaches, and give up in the first quarter, I'd had enough. I don't get paid to be a fan and loyalty is a two-way street. 

Going down with the ship isn't a suicide pact. It's an archaic Naval tradition based on honor and honorable men. I bet they didn't come up with it themselves. Most likely the ship owners said you'll wish you were dead if you sink or ship and come back without it. We anthropomorphize ships, just like we do football teams. I'm not indentured to the Dutch East India Trading Company and I'm not willing to drown trying to raise a ship intent on sinking itself.
Unquestionable team loyalty is called statism. One group of folks who loved their uniforms and masters were called Nazis. They sucked the fun out of everything for everyone. They didn't get paid well to be fans either.

Blind loyalty to a place or country is called Nationalism. Everyone knows that just because you were born in Cleveland doesn't mean they have the best football team. Maybe once (maybe), but not today. Do you want to love football or the past? Do you think most of the Chicago Bears are from the Chicago Area?
Aaron Rodgers brought the game back to life for me. He is not only an amazingly skilled athlete, but a leader and a man of character. Watching him quarterback is a joy. He never quits, doesn't have major hissy fits, and doesn't blame everyone else. When the Bears cut their two best remaining players, running back, Matt Forte, and kicker, Robbie Gould, my emotional attachment ended.

I choose to love the game. I have a primary team I root for. I like other teams and players and sometimes two teams I like a lot play each other. I root for both of them and cheer when a great play is made by either side. I have hats for a half dozen teams that I like.

It's not that I am disloyal, I'm very much the opposite. I'm not a martyr, nor am I brain dead. My objective as a football fan is to enjoy the game. Team owners, coaches, and managers affect the game as much as the players. When they don't care, I cut my losses.
Would you rehire a plumber, year after year, who flooded your house with excrement and urine every time he was called?

The 1985 Chicago Bears will always be "my" team. Today I find a team that helps me to enjoy the game whether they are an underdog or Superbowl Champions. If they play with heart, I will cheer them on.

Rock Cowles
December 21, 2016

#NFL #GoPackGo #BearDown #GreenBayPackers #ChicagoBears #AaronRodgers #JJWatt #WalterPayton #MatthewStafford #OdellBeckhamJr #JoeFlacco 

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