For the first time since the first week of last December, the Chicago Bears pulled off a victory on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was so excited that I walked away from the game still shaking with no voice; it felt too good to be true! As I reflected on the game although, I realized I was more disgusted than happy, and not with the team, but with the fans. First and foremost, I have to give a huge round of applause to the team. They came together, worked together, and pulled off a victory, when no one thought that they could. Despite the injuries, the multiple change ups on the offensive line and with the linebackers, plus the penalties, they still came away with an overtime win, and man, did it feel good! I am so proud of them!
Anyways, I grew up a Chicago Bears fan as most of you know. I LOVE Sundays. Since I was a little girl, I used to spend the night at my grandparents house on Saturday night, make a sandwich for the game, leave early and if grandma didn’t come with us, grandpa and I would stop at McDonald’s and get an orange juice and one of those greasy, mouthwatering hash browns, and head to Chicago listening to Jeff Joniak the whole way it seemed like. It felt like we were always one of the first people in the stadium as we headed to our seats. Before heading to the media deck, my grandpa would get a beer and some peanuts and I would get a pop or hot chocolate in a souvenir cup and we would watch warmups from the 100 level. I would point out every player to my grandpa and he would just laugh at me. The fans around us were always so intrigued that I knew so much about the team. Now, 15 years later, my game-day routine hasn’t changed much…besides the fact that I stay downtown at the team hotel, have breakfast with Len, and am definitely the first “fan” in the stadium since I drive over with him before gates even open. Although I get WAY more nervous on Sundays now a days than I used to, it is wins like this past week that make it all worth it.
If you didn’t get a chance to watch the game on Sunday, just know it was quite entertaining! We had a parachute team on the field before the game, fumbles, interceptions, false starts, sacks, huge runs, holding calls, plays that seemed to be called wrong, injuries, a team not coming out for the national anthem and overtime. For those of you that don’t know, we have a “family section” that ranges throughout a few areas in the stadium where the players and coaches families and friends get to sit. Even though it is mostly friends and family in the sections, sometimes there are some fans. I wanted to write a letter to all sports fans about an experience I encountered this past weekend.
For two weeks in a row now, I have had to deal with so called “Bears” fans that made me ashamed to call myself a fan if this is how we are representing the organization. Last week in Tampa Bay, I sat in between a man who had never been to a football game and was just excited to be there and a man that flew from Chicago like I did to be at the game. The man to my right who was attending his first game, was awesome. He was excited, taking pictures, Snapchatting and even Facetiming his mom at one point. As for the man to my right, a much different story. Throughout the whole game I listened to him say how our coaching staff should be fired, that two of our players didn’t deserve their contract extensions, and that we had the wrong people starting on the field. This man clearly thought he knew it all. I just sat there in silence and let him vent. When I finally got up and he saw the back of my shirt that read Leno Jr. he put two and two together that the reason I flew to Tampa Bay was to watch that man, and that man only. Of course then he apologized for all his negative talking and said how huge of a fan he was of Len (remind you 20 minutes before he was telling me he didn’t deserve his new contract). I played it off and honestly was just ready to get out of the stadium because it was so hot.
Fast forward to this week. Like I had previously said, we won! But with wins, always comes something negative, which I will never understand since I am one of those people that always wants to look at the positives of things. We went into halftime with a lead and I listened to people around us complaining…I was sitting there like hello!!! We are winning against an undefeated team…can’t you be happy? Clearly not. Anyways, when we are at home, we usually luck out because there aren’t too many fans around the family section so we don’t have to listen to the trash talking AS MUCH. On Sunday, Len got called for a false start at the end of the second quarter while we were at about the 1/2 yard line. Marcus Cooper set us up to score and because of the false start we had to settle for the field goal. Fans were mad. I looked at it like, hey, at least we got some points because if we didn’t score that touchdown we would have walked into the locker room with nothing off of the fumble recovery. There came a point in time when a fan said hey Leno Jr.! I turned around and he said that false start may of cost us the game, and he threw his beer at me. I was in shock… Like did this really just happen? As security escorted him out I just stood there like what just happened? Did a fan really just get THAT mad that they threw their $10 beer at me because they were mad that my boyfriend got a penalty??? I was disgusted.
Sports, food, music, and movies are the few things in this world that bring people together. If sports entertainment ended today and were never played again, your life would go on. At the end of the day, it is just a game, and this is coming from someone who feels like her whole life revolves around football. If Len decided to retire tomorrow, my life would go on. If he gets traded to another team, my life will go on. So as for the fans, that take an entertainment experience, and ruin it, here is my note to you.
To the die hard sports fan:
When you attend a sporting event, it is for pure entertainment. Whether you are there as a long time season ticket holder, a first time attendee, hanging out with friends, or for a celebration, the point of the game is to entertain you, whether the outcome be good or bad. I understand that with competition in games comes emotion, but sometimes “fans” take it to another level. It is one thing to vent on your Facebook or scream some nonsense at a game because you are upset, but it is another to take out your anger on someone else because the team or a player did something you didn’t like.
Those men on the field are humans, not animals. They go to work everyday just like you do. They get a paycheck just like you do. They have a family just like you do. And guess what? They mess up just like you do. I don’t go into anyones work telling them that they should be fired, that they don’t deserve their promotion, or that they suck. I don’t go to an individuals family and say I hope your son gets fired. I hope that he loses his job. Do you realize that this game, that you get entertained by, is actually a JOB? They work to support themselves and their families, JUST LIKE YOU DO! These men in the NFL don’t just go out on Sunday’s and wing it… They literally work every single day of the week; and those of you that believe that they have an off day… you’re wrong. Off-days are spent getting treatment, going to physical therapy, getting a lift in and studying film. Things happen, things go wrong. Sometimes you lose games that you should win. Sometimes you win games that you should lose. Shit happens, it’s life. Be upset all you want that your team lost but don’t take it out on anyone else. Dating an athlete, like spoke about in my article, “Wow, Am I A Wag Now?” isn’t glitz and glamour. We deal with “fans” each and everyday. If someone isn’t in my mentions or DM’s asking me for tickets from Len for a game, they’re usually talking crap. As a significant other, whether we win or lose, we are the ones that take the wrath. We are the emotional support, the ones that watch film with them to see where they can improve, and their personal therapists… we already have to take it from them, we don’t need to also take it from some random fan.
I love our fans for the most part. I mean, how can I not? I have been one my whole 25 years of life. Y’all are the reason that our men are able to go out every single game to entertain you all. I love the excitement and the passion behind the fans. The costumes that y’all come up with, the nicknames, the signs… Game-Day experiences are just awesome. My advice for the next time you head to a game or go to mention one of us on twitter or slide in our DM’s, as a fan of a team, be supportive, or don’t call yourself a fan. Do you think that by you booing a quarterback off the the field that you are helping them in anyway? You do want your team to win, right? Do you think that by throwing your beer at a significant other is going to take the penalty back? No, you just wasted over $200 on a ticket, congratulations!
We live in a world that is such a negative place. All we do is complain. Complain about the weather, complain about politics, complain about sports, complain that we don’t make enough money. Maybe if we all started looking at the positives of situations, and came together, like the Chicago Bears did on Sunday, this world would be a much better place. So, thank you to the supportive and positive fans, believe me when I say you are much appreciated!
I am excited to witness the rivalry on Thursday as we take on the Green Bay Packers. Now for this game, I know there will be a LOT of trash talking going on, but not from Bears fans! Hopefully I don’t get a beer thrown at me this week!