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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