Fellow Bears fans, readers and followers of this wonderful weebsite,
sitting here, in my living room, in my Justin Fields shirt, I am finally taking the time to start writing this piece to introduce myself here. It's taken me years to take this step, but I'm glad the moment's finally arrived. It's with some aloffness I'm doing this, I'm not one that's looking for the spotlight. It's just what this Bears-fever (thankfully not related to anything that's going on in this pandemic-crazy world, but equally as contageous) does with me, I'm happy and buoyous, and I'd like to somehow share this with you all.
For many years now, I have been following quite actively the sports that is American Football. Living in Belgium, that is not the easy or obvious thing to do. This country is soccer and cycling crazy. In my younger years, I've been a soccer-fanatic as well. I've played it and followed it passionately for many years. That was, untill I left home and started serving. It was then that my interests started shifting. Meeting new people got me on this crazy road of American sports. First it was a bit of baseball, but quickly it was American Football that tickled me. This sports was crazy. Physically gifted men played a game that was so brute, yet so pure and beautiful. It's a game that takes forever, in European terms, but it's worth every second I watch. I rapidly educated myself in the rules and the 32 teams that existed, hereby helped by a colleague that shared this big passion. We ventured into the, at that moment, great unknown.
He decided to become a Cincinnati Bengals fan. To this day, he still passionately is. I took quite a bit more time to settle on my team. There are so many and I have no ties to an American city that could facilitate my choice. For close to fifteen years now, I've been on and off bandwagons of all kinds. Yes, I've been on the Bears bandwagon before as well, for quite a bit of time to be fair, but they lost me again somehow. It's not an easy thing, be a Bears fan, but that's not something I should educate you all on. In fact, there's not many teams that are easy to root for. Most have their fair share of issues and troubles along their history. But 'easy' is not something I'm looking for. I've been searching for the 'real deal'. I wanted to have that right feeling when writing this piece.
Having spent so much time trying different fan bases, I learned a lot about most teams. I learned a lot about, amongst other things, their history, best players, owners, but also the cities they reside in. That's where CHicago has always had an advantage in my opinion. Being a beautiful city on Lake Michigan, I always had a soft spot for the Windy City. Slowly, I also developped a passion for 'cold weather football', though that may not be a thing anymore in the future with domes becoming the norm for the new football temples. Nonetheless, Soldier Field (for as long as it's home to the Bears), definitely ticks that box. Having watched the Fog Bowl had me all pumped-up.
History is another aspect I absolutely value in a team. There are many teams with a longstanding and great history in the League, but hardly any has one like the Monsters of the Midway. Players like Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, Sid Luckman, Gale Sayers, Walter Payton, Dick Butkus, Brian Urlacher, along with emblematic figures like George 'Papa Bear' Halas and Mike Ditka, have helped shape this franchise into one of the most iconic sports teams and brands in the world.
I've had many influences and people trying to lure me into rooting for their team over the years. Some, I've considered, others were never on my mind. Teams like the Ravens, Patriots, 49ers, Raiders, Chargers, Texans, Cardinals, Broncos, Colts or Browns were never on my mind. Another team I never considered, despite the 'Belgian link' with its founder, is the team from that tiny town in Wisconsin. As long as I've followed the NFL, they've had that horrible guy (character wise) at QB that gave me some sort of disdain towards them. That feeling will never go away and besides, green and yellow is a horrible combination anyway.
I've given it all its time, there was no rush or hurry to it, not anymore. Closing in on my mid-thirties, being married to a beautiful wife and having bought a house, one starts to approach things differently, more rationally and slower. The love for the Bears has over time slowly been developping. It's been there all along, it just needed for me to have a sip of other bandwagons, only to come back home to it to be fully convinced it will be here to stay. It is the feeling I have been searching for all these years. This year's Draft had me all excited about htis season and though I had no particular rooting interest to start with, I've watched every Bears game so far. It's not been great thus far, but there is some sort of hope and excitement, an anticipation about the development of Fields into the Franchise QB they've been looking for for so long now. The feeling is completely different from 2017, when I was following the Bears up close as well, with the arrival of Mitch Trubisky. I'll always remain something of a Trubisky fan, mainly due to his character, work ethic and the fact Nagy completely mismanaged him, but I'm definitely ready for the Fields era to unroll. A lot of work needs to be done and I'll never root against this team (even if that means Nagy might stay on for another season), but hope is big surrounding the future of this franchise now and I love it.
Being a passive follower of this site for a long time, I can only concur to the fact that there's a huge amount of passion and knowledge gathered here. This is one of the best Bears content related sites around, if not the very best (in my opinion that is). Having finally joined now, it is my hope to be allowed into your circle, to become part of this Bears family and to spent the rest of my life in it. I anticipate some possible suspicion, but I'd want to assure you I have nothing but the best intentions. I'm hooked on the Bears, I'm hooked on Chicago, I'm ready to start my adventure with you people. Let's hope it leads to the ultimate, a Super Bowl. Should you have any advice on other websites or podcasts to follow, your advice is always welcome!
I've taken on the other Chicago franchises as well, the Cubs (had to choose, baby Bears), Blackhawks (Toews and Kane), Bulls (up and coming), Fire (new head coach), Sky (championship this year!) and Red Stars (2nd best in the league this year). College-wise, I'm torn between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Illinois Fighting Illini, but leaning towards the Cats, though they had a horrendous season.
Give me a Bear Down!