When my son was 20 months and was repeating everything I said, I would regularly take him downstairs to our basement landing where I had hung three banners. The first was of Mike Ditka, Da Coach who led us to victory in 1985. The second was a banner of Walter Payton arguably one of the best running backs I have seen play for the Chicago Bears. The last banner honoring the Superbowl win in 1985.
When my son was born in 2005, my wife got me my own personalized jersey commemorating his entry into this world and every time I wear it to watch games, it brings us good luck. Superstitions and football go hand in hand. As he grew he watched me watching football on Sundays and learned on his own how to say TOUCHDOWN when he would see his dad jumping up and down in front of the television celebrating a score.
When we would walk down those basement stairs I would make it a point to have him touch each banner and say a word or two about each one. At first he would just listen and look at me when I said "Coach Ditka. Walter Payton, Da Bears!" and would always laugh at the last one depending on how loud I would say it. Eventually he started saying it too and if you haven't seen a toddler say Ditka, it's pretty darn cute.
He has grown up only knowing one team though we have lived in Pittsford, NY home of the Buffalo Bills training camp where they would work out prior to the season at St. John Fisher College a mere two miles from our house. Not once in the three years we lived there did I take him. While it would have been a cool experience it would have felt to me like a betrayal.
Growing up as a fan of another team is tough though my kids have handled it well. They regularly complain about all the Packers paraphernalia that stores seem to carry and lament at stores' terrible decisions not to stock them with the Bears stuff instead. My hate for all things Packers related has transferred nicely to them. Once when he was five while at the YMCA my son saw a man wearing a Packers winter hat. He booed him all the way out the door as if he were Aaron Rodgers himself. While I publicly scolded him for this as people were staring at us, I privately high-fived him later and told him I was proud for sticking up for Chicago.
I now live in Philadelphia, behind enemy lines in Eagle country and fly my Bears flag with pride no matter what their record is. My minivan is adorned with Chicago Bears stickers, front end license plates, and a back end license plate holder. Let's just say that people know who I am rooting for though they often ask me what the tiger symbol on the side of the swaggerwagon is. People ask me "Why aren't you an Eagles fan? Why don't you adopt the home team?" It's because I'm a Chicago fan and no move will ever change that.
There's something to be said about the stout sports fan who never backs down from the jeers of opposing team's fans. Having faith in your team through the low times and the highs shows my kids just how much dedication I have to the Chicago Bears. But it's that rivaly between Green Bay and any other NFC North team for that matter that I hammer into them. There is no better way to talk smack about another team than to wear it proudly for everyone to see.
Smack Apparel has been doing just that since 1998. If you're a Bears fan like me, you need to let these Packer fans that they will get their comeuppance one of these days. It doesn't matter if we've had 22 different quarterbacks since 1985, we will still stand behind our team. Packers fans don't like Cutler? Guess what? We LOVE him. In our hearts they will always be the Monsters of the Midway and we will show up every Sunday just to prove it. The point is, we will never give up. We will never quit. We've won three straight games and the Packers just lost TO THE LIONS! That's just pitiful.
I grew up watching my own dad turn off the TV sound and only listen to the broadcast through Chicago sports radio. I cheered alongside him in the basement whooping and hollering at the TV when they scored or when the refs made a terrible call. It's a family thing that gets passed down from generation to generation. Want to pass the love of your team down to your little ones? Smack Apparel also has its Rookie Wear line to start them off early. Smack Apparel has every team and every sport represented whether it is pro football or college, baseball or soccer.
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Don't give those Packers fans the chance to tell you how great their team is. Shut them up with some Smack Apparel wear this holiday season. Let your fan wear their team pride on their sleeves and to all those Packers fans, BRING IT. Daaaa BEARS!
Disclaimer : I was compensated by Smack Apparel for this post. All opinions expressed are those of DadNCharge alone. Now go buy some Smack Apparel and tell your rivals what you really feel about them.