Although I'm a few days late blogging on a subject no one could stop talking about Sunday and Monday, I thought I would let the loss of the NFC Championship by the Chicago Bears to the Green Bays Packers sink in before emotions got the best of me. And so, on the night before Hump Day after my husband has moved on from the sadness of his favorite team's loss to his brand new video game, I would like to share my thoughts on a decades old bitter rivalry.
Growing up in a family of nerds and musicians, football (and really sports in general) was of lowest priority in our household. Mom thinks it's stupid and Dad falls asleep during the games, so I grew up unable to care less about football. Then I met my husband and his family, aka People Who Love Football. So over the past 5 years we've been together, I have slowly developed an enthusiasm for the sport and watching games. A double bonus is that, even though he was raised in Wisconsin, Hubby is a die hard Bears fan along with his mother and siblings, and so I could cheer on my Chicago team happily with him. My father-in-law, born & raised in WI, is a die hard Packer fan but everyone gets along just fine. Everything was all peaches and cream... and then we moved to Wisconsin.
People in the Dairy State take their football SERIOUSLY. You don't quite understand unless you live up here during football season. If you tell anyone you're from Chicago they immediately comment on you being a Bears fan... all year round. Men, women, children-- all nuts for the Packers. Sometimes it's just plain scary. These people are complete football nerds, quoting stats, giving backgrounds on players, discussing past games and championships. If Brett Favre enters Wisconsin on anything but Viking business, he will be shot on sight. Kidding.
Now, although I'm a football newbie, I consider myself a loyal Bears fan as I love Chicago sports, but my life does not revolve around the Bears. By all means cheer on your team, but what does it say when domestic violence in the state increases when the Packers lose? When the Bears lost this past Sunday, the most upsetting aspect for many fans wasn't that they aren't NFC Champions or headed to the Super Bowl (though that would've been nice); it was that they didn't pound the Packers into the ground. Bitter much? But why is that? Why do fans of opposing teams such as the Bears & Vikings hate the Packers so much a victory against them is savored more than going to the Super Bowl?
Please don't yell at me, but I must be honest: the Green Bay Packers as a team are great. They are skilled players that work together both offensively and defensively to win games. In other words, they play as a TEAM. That's an issue I've noticed with the Bears being unable to work together on their offense. Sunday's game was a great example of both team's strengths-- it was close and exciting to watch-- but ultimately the Packers earned that win. Which I'm okay to admit. It's not like they creamed us.
Yet all the cheering after the Packers' win was actually jeering from the fans. Instead of celebrating a win with dignity and excitement, Packer fans shouted "the Bears still suck." This is why people hate the Packers and want the team pulverized-- the negative, hateful poison coming from fans. Of course, every team has fanatic fans that spew venom at the opposing side (Bears included), but the Packer fans have a reputation. And PFs, before you start puffing yourselves up and declaring how this shows your loyalty and toughness, know this: it's not tough. It's annoying and could get your ass kicked. Not by me, of course, but there are some people who just can't take it after a while. Also, I am aware not all Packer fans are this way, it's just an observation after living here for 2 football seasons, going to a game against the Bears, and encountering them on Facebook.
Overall, I appreciate and encourage the enthusiasm from fans and get into the games myself. But there's no need to attack each other. The Bears don't suck. The Packers don't suck. And it doesn't matter who wins at the end of the day because players all get paid millions more than I ever will. Everyone's a winner.