My favorite memory is probably shared by many fans, if for slightly different reasons.
I was raised in a household that was dedicated to college football. My father is an enthusiastic Iowa Hawkeyes fan and my mother is from Omaha, with a similar devotion to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. So in the 90s, when I was going to college, I was not really all that interested in the NFL. With a lifelong dedication to martial arts, I had a much better chance of giving you analysis of the then-new Ultimate Fighting Championships and the emerging concept of mixed martial arts than I did of offering even a general understanding of professional football teams.
That changed when I met the woman who would end up being my wife, who was from Illinois and had grown up on Bears and open-wheel (IndyCar) racing. She let me know that while I was dating her, I was going to be a Chicago Bears fan. My father had always admired Walter Payton on and off the field, and the tradition of Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary was fairly easy to sell to someone who enjoyed grappling arts. Still, her fandom was and is a big part of my Bears experience.
From the very first game of 2006, she loved watching Devin Hester returns. She loved the way he moved, she loved his focus, and she got a wicked sort of amusement from watching teams try and fail to neutralize him. Usually when she watched the Bears, she was nervous. When she was watching Hester, though, she was ecstatic.
Then came Super Bowl XLI. Her father, being a fan of all Indianapolis sports, was for the Colts. Before the game began, she told me she hoped the Colts would kick to Hester. Her father was sure that even if they did, the Colts would be able to stop Hester.
However the game turned out, seeing the look on my wife’s face when #23 returned the opening kickoff was a sight to see. Hearing the tone in her voice when she called her father to ask if he still thought the Colts would be able to stop Hester brings a smile to my face to this day. Watching my favorite person in the world see her favorite player set a Super Bowl record was a true pleasure.
What about you? What is your favorite memory of the Bears?