Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Off Topic Football Rant

Okay...when I started this blog I decided to only include running-related content. I didn't want it to become a place where I would discuss my personal life, or politics, or the ten best chicken recipes. Not that there is anything wrong with those blogs. I read some of them. But I like to keep my distance a little bit. Sure, you guys have shared some emotional times with me, but I'm usually not shoving my personal opinions at you or igniting any sort of debates.

However, I must deviate from the plan for today. Then, I promise, I will get back to the matter at hand - training for my first race of the year (in less than two months!) and, ultimately, for the marathon in November.

I live near the Wisconsin/Illinois border. I am, without doubt, a Packer fan through and through. And I couldn't be happier that my team is in the Superbowl! I have a lot of friends who are Bears fans. And even though I have participated in years and years of Packers/Bears rivalry, I am surprised at the amount of mean-spiritedness going on these last two days.

Admittedly, I have seen some Packers fans going a little overboard with the smack-talk. I have a couple friends (Packers fans) on my FB feed who certainly crossed the line and made things uncomfortable for those of us trying to enjoy this. But the number of Bears fans being just downright mean is startling. I understand what its like to support a losing team. I've been there for plenty of years. But, seriously people...its a game.

Do you really "hate" the other team? Do you really "hate" their fans just because they wear the wrong color? That whole gang mentality is a little dangerous if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about all Bears fans. I have some friends who have been incredibly classy and proudly sport their Bears jerseys in support of their team while congratulating the opposition. Some have expressed their sadness and nursed their wounds quietly. But then there are others who have grown horns and fangs and, frankly, scare me a little right now. Some have even turned on their own QB for not playing through an injury. Its like football cannibalism. If there is a bright side for the Bears fans it has got to be that they discovered their third-string QB can hold his own.

But I digress....my point is that if you are a football fan aren't you a fan of the game? Are you a football fan first and then a Packer fan? Or are you a 'insert team name here' fan and then a football fan? I have certainly seen folks who are a fan of their team, above and beyond anything else. So your team loses and it feels like you have nothing left to cheer for. I agree that I'm not nearly as excited for a game if my team is not there - but I still enjoy the game. So, I guess that makes me a fan of football first. And a Packer fan second. I don't think it makes me less of a Packer fan. Anyone who sees the decor of my office or the licence plates I sport on my truck can see where my loyalties lie. But I think the game is bigger than any one team.

I'm thankful I get to watch my team play a few extra games this year. But when it comes right down to it, no matter who is playing - its all about the game.

To bring this back to the intended topic of this blog - I'm super excited to run the Soldier Field 10 miler in May. Finishing on the 50-yard line at Soldier Field is an amazing thrill for me! That stadium has a rich history and, being a football fan, I appreciate the tradition and history of the team that plays and practices there. Although, after the goings on of this past weekend....I'm not so sure I should wear my Packers NFC Champions shirt for the race :)


  1. Doing my best to keep this as far from the political as I can, it seems that Western society "requires" an opponent to justify or at least sustain an existence. East vs West, North vs South, Republican vs Democrat, Packers vs Bears...

    But at least where sports is concerned, the teams are expected to contest each other to determine a victor.

    Maybe it's just become all too common; the hate rhetoric and the militaristic comparisons and language used in sports today. The opponent becomes the 'enemy', individual plays become 'battles' and the game a 'war.' It's almost become millionaire-athlete gang warfare. Choose your colours. The media hypes it to sell tickets and beer and television ads. The fans follow suit.

    Respect for your opponent used to be paramount. Now you aren't even guaranteed respect from your own team-mates. It's little wonder some fans are proud to publicly display their disrespect as well.

    At least in running you're competing against your personal bests, if you are even competing at all. For what it's worth? I'd wear the shirt - but I'd leave the Cheesehead at home! It'll create too much drag. ; )

  2. People always seem to have to find a reason to hate their favorite team's opponent rather than just root for their team. I mean, rivalries are fun and "stereotyping" the opponents fans is one thing, but non-stop vitriol gets old.

  3. This sounds like the Beavers and the Ducks in Oregon at Civil War time! It gets soooo nasty that I just try to tune out all things relating to football during that period. (I'm a proud Beaver, FYI).

    And speaking of ... I don't really watch NFL at all. And by that I mean, I really just do not watch it. But I guess I'll root for Green Bay since Nick Barnett is a Packer! I still picture him as an annoying little kid in the dorm that used to drive me nuts - but then we had photography together and he was pretty cool. So Green Bay all the way! .... I guess??

    Whatever - I'm one of those that just watches for the commercials!

  4. Sounds like Congress in Washington DC. Lack of civility seems everywhere - then you manage to find these angel people around the corner, who are lovely and civil and kind. They make up for the simplistic polarized asshats who seem to be the majority these days.

    Just finished reading your entire blog. Bawled my head off for most of it. Am TOTALLY and COMPLETELY inspired.

    xxoo Val

  5. Reid - Respect. That is what I was going for with my long drawn-out post. One friend suggested I wear a Packers shirt with a Bears hat for the run. I'm considering. (I would so get beat up if I wore the cheesehead!)

    Jay - Agreed. I love me a good rivalry.

    FF - Yay! Another GB fan! I knew I liked you. I like the commercials too. I may walk away for part of the game - but I don't miss ANY of the commercials!

    Val - The asshats (lol) aren't the majority. They're just louder. And thank you SO much for the compliment and taking the time to read this whole blog. It is really the nicest thing someone could say. I'm so glad my ramblings have inspired you.