Super Bowl Champions. The undefeated Pack. Aaron Rodgers. The infamous Lambeau Leap. Growing up in Wisconsin these words are synonymous with winning. What better place is there for a young sports fan to grow up and idolize his local heroes? However, for me that was never the case. See, I’m a Bears fan, and since birth, the Green Bay Packers have been the sworn enemy.
But it’s not all my fault. My dad was born and raised in the great state of Illinois and has stayed faithful to his hometown Bears, Cubs, and Bulls all his life. As the next male in line it was my duty to inherit this sense of devotion to Chicago sports. Little did I realize the lifelong battle for which my father was preparing me.
You need to understand that it has not all been torture. Without a doubt the Bulls have had the more dominant basketball team in the past two decades, and although the Cubs are going on 104 years without a World Series title, they have admittedly had their shining moments. Yet it is in the realm of football that the true struggle has been staged.
I was born in the fall of 1993 and by that time Brett Favre was already into his second season at the helm of the Packers. He would not miss a game for the next fourteen years after that. Enter Aaron Rodgers. I remember rejoicing that finally the Packers would now have to endure the continual challenge of putting a quality quarterback out on the field. But there was no drop off in durability or talent. In fact Rodgers has outplayed Favre in nearly every aspect of the game. Meanwhile, since my birth the Bears have gone through nineteen different quarterbacks. Yes, you heard that right, nineteen. I have grown up with nightmares of the slant pass to Donald Driver. I have been plagued by reoccurring visions of Charles Woodson picking off my quarterback and taking it back to the house. I have cursed at the T.V. at the unbelievable elusiveness of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers never seem to have a weakness. Which is all good and well except that I have to go day in and day out hearing about the inferiority of MY team. I have endured ridicule, abuse, and mockery for my personal loyalty to Chicago sports. Yet I continue to persevere. After all, the state motto of Illinois might as well be, “There is always next year!”
Yet, with the Pack now standing with a record of 12-0 and the Bears fading fast without their two best players, it seems like once again I will be doomed to watch the Packers prosper in the playoffs and the Bears floundering in the regular season. Now it would be obvious to say that I am just ranting about the agony of my team’s failures, but that is simply not the case. I am used to it after all these years, and I have learned to accept that here in Wisconsin there is only one team. To the citizens of this state little else matters as long as the Green Bay Packers are winning.