With Football season right around the corner I figured it would be most fitting to tell the tale of how I fell in love with Chicago Bears Football. First let’s start with a little history about myself. Im from Lauderdale Lakes, Florida born and raised. In my humble opinion there is no better place in the entire United States. If you are familiar with the state of Florida you will know that football is a religion there. Little boys have footballs placed in their cribs and from the time we are able to run our parents sent us out to play football in the streets of Florida where the temperature would reach 100 degrees easily on a summer’s day. Football is a way of life, football is king in Florida. From the time you are 3 or 4 years old you’re playing football. I could go on and on about football in Florida but that’s not what this blog is about. I just wanted to set the backdrop as to why I love football and my Chicago Bears.
Before I was a fan of the Chicago Bears football team I fell in love with the sport of football itself. Now Im about 4 about 5 years old and its time to pick a team to root for. So what made me commit treason, what made me become Benedict Arnold against my hometown team the Miami Dolphins…That’s a very easy answer. My father! My father is from the South Side of Chicago…95th and Halsted. He’s the very definition of what the south side Chicago is cool, soulful, and gritty but if you get out of line or don’t watch yourself it could become very hard, cruel, tough, gangster! If you know my father you would agree. But my dad loved sports. He was the first black man I ever met to love hockey. As I look back the only TV show I ever seen him turn the television to it was ESPN. Of course as a young boy I looked up to my father and wanted to be like him. He taught me everything about sports and being loyal to a team. Once you choose a team you can NEVER go back. So Sunday after Sunday watching the Chicago Bears on TV then finally seeing them win their first super bowl in 1985 I chose to become a Chicago Bears fan. But I was only five. I knew nothing about loyalty I didn’t know what I was really doing I was just rooting for the team because that’s who my dad rooted for and I wanted to be like him. I didn’t know years down the line people would call me a sale out or a trader for not liking the Dolphins. All I know is by cheering for the Chicago Bears I was being like my father and that made me happy. Still at this point I did not love the Chicago Bears Football.
To be honest here, I hated the Miami Dolphins before I loved the Chicago Bears. In 1985 I remember my dad taking my down to the Orange Bowl to see Dolphins vs. Bears. What stood out in my mind till this day wasn’t the fact that bears lost but how a group of Miami Dolphin fans tried to throw beer on me and my dad cause we were rooting for the Bears and we had our Bear shirts on. Little did they know who they were messing with. I saw my dad turn around to a group of about 8 Dolphin fans and threaten to kick all of their a**. I liked that. Then a couple more Bears fans in our section joined in and said they would help him do it. I liked that as well! To see 4 Bear fans punk about 8 to 10 dolphin fans that made say to myself “Bear fans don’t take any crap.”
But I still wasn’t in love. Then I finally make my first summer trip to Chicago. That trip is when I fell in love with the Chicago Bears football team. Chicago is the first big city I ever visited. As a f5 or 6 year old I was in complete awe riding around Lake Shore drive and Michigan avenue. To see all of the big buildings left me speechless. But there was one building that stood out to me. It didn’t fit in with the rest of the down town vibe. This building was regal, it looked important, it looked like a historic monument you would see in Washington D.C. with its large colonnades. So I turned to my grand father and said “Grand dad what’s that?” He made eye contact with me and said “Jay that’s where the Bears play. It’s called soldier field”. I was in awe. I never saw a stadium like this. The only football stadium I ever seen was The Orange Bowl. Needless to say the raggedy Orange Bowl didn’t look like Soldier field. To see a football stadium with large sky scrappers on one side and a huge lake on the other side I was left speechless. My grand dad took me to a pre season game later that week and to see Walter Payton, all of the Bears fans, the smell or Bratwursts, people cheering….That’s the moment I feel in Love with Chicago Bears Football. How could I ever go back? I was born into this. Then to meet the greatest running back of all time Walter Payton… he was so nice. He took a picture with my sister and I. Till this day I remember how strong and heavy his hands were as they sit on my frail 8 year old shoulders.
The only superstar I ever met for the Dolphins was Dan Marino and this arrogant jerk tried to spray water on me and my group of friends. Compare that to the experience I had with Walter Payton, How can I be a Dolphin fan? Don’t forget the near brawl my dad had in 1985.
The man I wanted to be like. The man who taught me how to be a man was a Bears fan. The treason wasn’t me becoming a Dolphins fan. The real treason would’ve been me disowning my dad and not rooting for the Bears. He did his part to introduce me to football and to introduce me to the Chicago Bears. My experiences within my first 9 to 10 years of life sealed the deal. From seeing soldier field for the first time, to meeting Walter Payton and how could I forget about The Super Bowl Shuffle? There’s no way I couldn’t root for this team.
So there you have it guys, my first Blog. There will be many more Blogs to come but I wanted my first blog to answer the question “Why do you root for the Bears?” I hope this may explain to you how I fell in love with Chicago Bears Football.