I’ve decided today to defend the indefensible. Not cannibalism, infanticide or terrorism, no, nothing so pedestrian. The sin I shall apologize for is much more egregious and evil in the minds of many: Fair Weather Fandom. I am talking about the horrid belief that one can watch and root for two different teams, even two teams that oppose and hate one another, on different days or at the same time. My chief violation of the secular religion of sports fandom is this: I am both a Chicago Bears AND Green Bay Packers fan. I love both teams. I watch both with great enthusiasm and excitement. I wish for the impossible: for both teams to succeed.
I am a Bears fan by accident of geography and culture: my father was a die-hard fan of the ’85 championship team and its MVP the great (in his eyes all but holy) Walter Payton, who my dad still insists is the best football player of all time. I grew up watching Bears games in my Chicago suburbs home of Woodridge Illinois. Every Sunday was a day for pizza, chips, soda (beer as we grew older) and of course perpetual disappointment. When the Bears made it into the Superbowl off of their genius 2006 season only to lose to Payton Manning and his Colts…let’s just say there was a great period of mourning in our household. Such are the pains and joys of fandom though…which leads me to my other favorite team and the true beginning of my tale of evil
I am a Green Bay Packers fan by choice. I have admired their ability and brilliance as far back as the classic Superbowl XXXI MVP winning performance turned in by future hall-of-famer Brett Favre. I have been a Favre fan ever since watching him take apart the Patriots that winter, and I enjoyed watching his exploits all the way up to when he finally retired his cheesehead…let us not speak of his multiple “comebacks”. It is best to remember our heroes at their best and not at their crock-wearing penis flashing, Jets uniform wearing worst (the Jets…really… the Jets?). I am a fan of the brutal yet spectacularly effective style of play, the dynamic and iconic uniforms, and most of all the fact that they are the only major sports team owned by its fans! A publicly owned football team! THAT WINS! My Brett Favre #4 jersey is one of my prized items of clothing…I wear it whenever I watch the Pack play.
I now live in Dekalb county Illinois, almost half way between Packers Land and the Bears Domain. I can see either the Pack or the Monsters of the Midway play on a TV at a bar, sometimes the games are playing at the same time! My wife, who works at a supermarket bakery shop, sees Packers themed cakes and cookies fly off the shelf at almost the same rate as Bears product. If there were any part of the country that could be called a Mecca for the fair weather fan it would be the Illinois/Wisconsin border region.
And yet…I am hated, even despised by many for my duel loyalty. People give me the evil eye when they see me walking about in my Favre jersey and orange Bears cap. I am shunned by my peers when I cheer a Bears touchdown after flipping from a Packers victory I just enjoyed. My wife, my beautiful, innocent, teary-eyed wife…I see the shame in her face when she must tell her friends that “Yeah…my husband roots for both teams…” I just hope that she does not run off with a Vikings fan in retaliation…
But why do I commit this sin? Why am I a slave to both teams? BECAUSE IT IS SO MUCH GODDAMN FUN! Think of it: being able to be in the camp of both of the best and most storied teams in the NFL, in all of sports really. When the Bears suck (and this happens a lot) I have my Packers! When the Packers falter (this almost never happens) I have the Bears to pull for! I am able to experience two times the transcendent joy, and must endure twice the glorious despair. I can wear two types of awesomely colored and designed sports apparel (I believe that the Bears have the best NFL uniforms and insignia, and the Packers have the second best). And above all else…I just enjoy being a contrarian).
And today I am in the perfect Bears/Packers Fair Weather Fan position: In order for the Bears to make it into the playoffs the Bears must defeat the Lions and then the Packers must defeat the hated Vikings (The Bears just won so I am now rooting for the Pack to pull through for me!).
So I shall endure in my heretical belief. I shall persevere through the taunts and the vitriol. I shall remain what I am: A Fair Weather Fan. GO BEAR PACK!