With the Chicago Bears entering the NFL Championship in the Super Bowl you may be wondering exactly how you can reach in and touch your inner bear. I am not making a gay reference there and this will not be an article about being that kind of bear. I am talking about being one of those giant hair beasts that lives in caves and apparently have some kind of affinity for picnic baskets. OK, maybe that still sounds a little gay.
The first thing you need to do is realize that the Chicago Bears have been around for a long time and was one of the first teams in the NFL. They used to play in Wrigley Field in Chicago, which is also where the Chicago Cubs play baseball. For my money this makes the Bears the only thing good to ever come out of the crumbling wreck, but that’s my opinion.
At one time there were also two football teams in Chicago. The Bears were playing in Wrigley Field on the north side and the Chicago Cardinals were playing football in Comiskey Park on the south side. The Cardinals even won a few championships and did very well until they decided to move. They moved first to St. Louis and played there for a long time before up and moving to Arizona one day and there they remain.
You should know that one of the greatest players in Chicago Bears history was a guy named Syd Luckman and he was a great quarterback. You should also be prepared to state repeatedly that there hasn’t been a great Chicago Bears quarterback since Syd played back in the 1940s.
If you want to be a better Bears fan then you should know that the Bears play their games in Soldier Field. You will note that the first word in that name is Solider. You will notice no letter “s” is there at the end of that word. Still, as a true Chicago fan you should immediately follow the rules of speaking like a Chicagoan and add an “s” to the end of that word. Thus, although the signs all say the Bears play in Soldier Field most Chicagoans insist they play at Soldiers field.
If you want to be a true Bear fan you should try to speak like a Chicagoan whenever possible. Once you have mastered adding the “s” to the Soldier Field name then you can start adding letters where there shouldn’t be any. The suburb of Palatine should be pronounced Palantine. The metal bars called rebar that are used to reinforce concrete should now be pronounced rebarb. You should add that letter “s” to the end of as many words as you see fit. For example the local grocery store chain should be pronounced “Jewels” instead of Jewel which is what it is actually called.
You should firmly believe that football should be played outside even when it is January and the wind is blowing directly off of Lake Michigan and no sane living thing would be anywhere near the lake. You should also be willing to take off your shirt and run bare-chested near this freezing place at a moments notice. If you want to paint words or letters on your chest please feel free to do so but this is certainly not necessary. You should also question the masculinity of any team that plays in a dome.
As a true Bears fan you should hate anything and everything that comes from the state of Wisconsin. If Wisconsin were to announce tomorrow that a collective of scientists, all born and raised in Wisconsin, had developed a cure for cancer, AIDS, Lumbago, and Lupus you should still find fault with it and say something derogatory about it. You should definitely hate anything and everything about the Green Bay Packers. In seasons when the Bears can barley win even one game and have no chance of making it into the playoffs you should say that it will all be just fine if the Bears just manage to beat the Packers at least once that season.
You should develop a fondness for beer and do so quickly. This will certainly help you when it comes to the part about removing your shirt and walking around bare-chested near the lake. You should drink too much of this and suddenly find walking around a stadium with your face painted and carrying a stuffed bear’s head very amusing.
Develop a taste for things cooked on a grill in a parking lot. The most popular food grilled on this place seems to be sausages. In fact you should have a deep love of sausage in general while trying to live in Chicago or pass yourself off as a Chicagoan for any reason.
Learn certain names and revere them. You may want to collect jerseys with these people’s names on them or build small shrines to them. The names are Butkus, Ditka, Sayers, Piccolo, Hampton, Singeltary, “Fridge,” McMichael, Butler, Payton and McMahon. In fact you should really memorize the entire lineup of the 1985 Bears. You should also memorize their pictures in case you ever run into any of them while wandering the streets of Chicago. You will want to buy them a drink or a meal.
You need to learn that being called a Grabowski is not an insult. This is what Ditka once called his players and he meant it as a compliment. It means hard working people who just go out their and do their job and don’t showboat and don’t make a big deal about it.
These days you will want to have at least one Brian Urlacher jersey in your closet and you should be prepared to wear it at any moment. Remember that he is number 54. Also, as of recent weeks, having the jersey for kicker Robbie Gould is suddenly acceptable as well.
You may want to learn the words to the Bears fight song. However, most people really only know the first few words. Once you get past those usually other people start singing anyway and you can mumble and mutter your way through the rest. Just remember it starts out with “Bear down, Chicago Bears.”
Once you have mastered these things you should be well on your way to becoming and ultimate Bears fan. Just remember the true fans are those who are there still freezing even in the years when they aren’t making an appearance in the Super Bowl. This is, no matter how many times we win, the city with the losing sports teams, after all.