I lived in Mt. Zion Ill ( just 5 minutes outside of Decatur ) for the first 10 years of my life, before my Dad found a job a better job in Virginia and moved the whole family to the East coast. Even then I knew we were Bears fans, even though my dad wasn't what you would call a diehard football fan. If a game was on, he'd watch it. If not, it wasn't a big loss.
I on the other hand kept watching any and every Bears game I could find. I watched the Bears beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl out here in Virginia, and I really think that made it official for me. I was going to bleed orange and blue forever.
At that age it's easy for kids to sway to another, more popular team. I could have easily been a Redskins fan since they are considered the home team out this way. Or I could have picked the Colts, Eagles, Ravens or a number of other teams that are closer than my beloved Bears. But- I stood the course and remained a Bears fan..... even thru some really ugly times.
I am now 34 years old and I still bleed orange and blue. I'm married now and have a 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son. My wife's family is all Steelers fans, and told me that my kids were going to be Steelers fans as well. Oh- they had no idea how badly I could bleed orange and blue.
My son's first word that he could spell and read? Easy.......B-E-A-R-S. I taught him that when he was two. I bought him a Bears football, and all I have to do is get it out and he'll line up behind me to get the hand off. I've since decked out his room in Bears stuff. He even has the original Bears helmet lamp that I had as a kid. As for my daughter, she'll sit there and watch a Bears game with Daddy, because she knows she'll get a big high five on any decent return or TD. I think they will both bleed orange and blue when they grow up.
My Father and I never talked much growing up. We just had some sort of invisible wedge that always seemed to be there. When his Father died, I saw him cry for the very first ( and only ) time in my life, but I decided it was easier to walk away from him rather than to give him comfort. When my children were born he had no problem stepping into the Grandpa role, and while we finally started to talk, our conversations were always strained and weak. We have since opened up up quite a bit to each other. I guess, I finally see my Dad as a friend as opposed to a parent. While our conversations remain forced at times, I love watching him take the same role in my childrens lives as his Father took in mine. We can now sit back and talk about the Bears as well as the kids. Last year I slapped a Bears sticker on his truck and even watched a game with him.....just the two of us.
I guess what I am saying is that the Bears are more than just a football team to me. They are a part of my life. They have brought my family together in a way that I couldn't have dreamed of. They have given me a connection to my children, and have helped me bridge a relationship to my own Father.
I don't care if we are 0-16 next year. I will always bleed orange and blue.