5 Ways to be an (Uh-Oh) Wisconsin Football Fan in Chicago

YOU + CHICAGO + FOOTBALL – WISCONSIN = ☹

One known fact about being from Wisconsin: we take our football very seriously. First, you have the Wisconsin Badgers college football team, and then, on top of the Badgers, add the die-hard Packer fans.

Most parents put their children’s names on the waiting list for Packer season tickets the day that they are born. When a football game is on, life completely shuts down (except maybe sports bars everywhere) and nothing else seems important. When the Packers win, the whole state’s mood changes. Everyone goes to work on Monday happy campers. If they lose, so help us God, because the whole state will be crabby going into work the next day.

As a Wisconsinite myself, I grew up wearing a cheese head. I knew the complete roster of the Packer’s offensive line by age ten. I knew how many times the Badgers had been to the Rose Bowl and who the quarterbacks were for each one of those times. I knew about all of the legendary players. I learned how to throw a bad call brick at the television set when the referees were not calling the game “fairly.” I ran around the block in the middle of a Wisconsin January night in my shorts, a t-shirt, and my snow boots when the Packers won another Superbowl title, while all around me my neighbors were lighting off fireworks.

All is well and good for a Wisconsin football fan living in Wisconsin. But what happens when a die-hard Packer and Badger fan packs up her belongings and moves to the city of Chicago? I had this struggle freshman year of college, when I first came to Chicago. I remembered that I was now in “Bear” country. Oh no! What could be worse!

The rivalry runs deep. The Packers versus the Bears rivalry is the National Football League’s oldest rivalry, and one that both Packer fans and Bear fans take very seriously. Packer fans do not like the Bear fans and Bear fans really do not like Packer fans. My freshman year, I cannot say that I do not remember a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver flipping me off one Sunday afternoon as he drove past me on Sheridan Road, because I remember that moment clear as day. From that point on, I knew being a Wisconsin football fan living in Chicago was not going to be an easy task.

Although my story sounds like a nightmare, never fear, currently discouraged residential Chicagoans who are die-hard Wisconsin football fans, I am here to encourage you after all: it does get better! Four years of experience under my belt, I can tell you that there are many ways to combat the struggle of being a Wisconsin football fan in Chicago. I can take you through my own journey of overcoming the Bear fans. I promise you that if you follow these five steps, what we previously thought of as such dangerous territory will be much, much less scary. Ready, set, hike!

YOU + CHICAGO + FOOTBALL – WISCONSIN + THE FIVE STEP PLAN TO STILL GET YOUR CHEESEHEAD ON = ☺

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When Asked: “Is it hard being a Packers fan in Chicago?” Pt. 1

When Asked: “It is hard being a Packers fan in Chicago?” Pt. 2

Published by Ally Spiroff

I am Ally Spiroff, and what seems like seven short years ago I created a Twitter account, @runningforlife2. I tweeted how I felt and what I was doing. I tweeted about my greatest passion in life, running. I also tweeted about my other passions, food, music, movies, books, pop culture, writing, traveling, and life. Before I knew it, people (mostly those people in the running community but others too) began to latch onto my life. Then, I realized, “hey, this Twitter thing is pretty cool.” I get to write about what I love. I get to tell my story. The world around me, all of my people, get to ride along with me as I take on the world, one day at a time. People can watch me grow. I can watch other people grow. The Twitter handle has evolved into @allyspiroff over time. With it, the content has also evolved, but the same crazy woman is behind the content. :) So what exactly is my story? Who exactly is Ally Spiroff? I graduated with a Master's in Communication from Loyola University Chicago in May 2017. I was a Division I collegiate athlete there for five years, all four of my undergraduate and one of my graduate years. I graduated with honors in May 2015 with a Bachelor’s in English. In the winter/spring 2015-2016 due to a redshirt season of indoor and outdoor track, I returned to run a fifth year. Since I have always thought that it is more fun to jump over water and other obstacles than just run normal laps around the track and I like a good challenge, I am a steeplechaser by nature. I got to chase fast steeple times for one more season at Loyola, as well as run the 3k, 5k, and even the mile/1500 with my teammates that double as my best friends, sisters, inspirations, and the greatest people you will ever meet. Now, you might ask, how did I still run at Loyola if I graduated in the spring of 2015? I started the cutting-edge graduate program Digital Media & Storytelling in the fall of 2016 at Loyola. It was a two-year program, so I was blessed with another year at the wonderful Jesuit institution to finish up my Master's degree. After obtaining both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, I have become an experienced writer and researcher. Through graduate work, I have become well versed in Adobe Creative Commons software programs, specifically Photoshop and shooting and editing video in Premiere Pro, and in Google Analytics, along with other search engine optimization tools. Through an abundance of internship experience, I became extremely proficient in news editing software programs. I have lots of experience in the newsroom and writing for news producers as well as out in the field on assignment and in working with a variety of people. My experience as an undergraduate and a graduate student while simultaneously being a Division I collegiate athlete on Loyola’s cross country and track teams as well as in a variety of jobs/internships and volunteer work has helped develop my confidence, drive, responsibility, time management, sense of teamwork, people skills, communication, troubleshooting skills, attention to detail, critical thinking skills, leadership, planning skills, and even a sense of humor. I also have extensive experience with all outlets of social media. As I mentioned before, I am an avid tweeter and Instagram user, with 1,450+ followers on Twitter. I have lots of experience with creating and building content for websites. I also run the website I created for my graduate school capstone project, titled "Wise Old Women." I am on Pinterest, Foursquare/Swarm, and Facebook as well. I wrote in the arts and entertainment section of my university’s award-winning newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. You can find my running profile on the Loyola Ramblers website. You can find all about my collegiate running career on TFRRS. Of course, you can also catch me on LinkedIn. I am lucky because I get to tell people’s stories for a living online, through digital media and other means. Currently, I live in New York City and I'm the Digital Editorial Assistant at Runner's World magazine, and I'm a freelance writer for VICE's health vertical, Tonic. I really love life. I have big dreams. I do not know where my dreams will take me, but I am confident that they will take me far. I am an open book. I like sharing myself with anybody who wants to listen. I am enjoying the opportunity to further my education every day and perfect my craft. I love learning something new every single day about myself, others, and the world around me. Besides being a multimedia journalist and a city dweller, I am a literature (Hemingway and Plath are my favorites) and grammar nerd, a hippie, a music fanatic, a foodie, a concert-goer, a traveler, a huge sports fan, a fashionista, an art lover, and an urban explorer who likes natural adventures (like hiking up mountains in Alaska) as well. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I conquer it. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, though, and no matter where I go, I never forget my roots. Milwaukee will always be my city and where my heart truly lies. I have quite the eye for unique knick-knacks. My spirit animals are the grasshopper and the gazelle. When I take the Essential Enneagram Test, I am #3. I am a hard worker with relentless energy. I am everyone’s sister. I am nutty but in a way that I like it. I think that God is so good and we are blessed to get to walk this earth every day. I believe that every person has the right to be exactly who they are. I am dreaming big, with my head in the clouds, but there is still some common sense in there somewhere. ;) Turning over a new leaf in my life, at the start of grad school, I wanted to create a comprehensive website where I could connect you to all of my social media outlets. I will continue to share my running experiences and life journey through this awesome outlet we now have called the World Wide Web, and I hope that everyone continues to enjoy all things Ally Spiroff. Peace, love, and running (fast), Ally Spiroff

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