The Streak Ends

Last night I watched the Bears at Redskins game sitting on my couch. It was very strange. That probably sounds strange to many as most people watch football at home, on their couch. It was the first time I did that since week 15, 2007, which was December 17. The last two games of the season were at home so I was at those games as I have season tickets. Starting in 2008, I became good friends with Sandy, another crazy die-hard Bears fan, who happen to travel to away games. We had met for lunch in May. When she told me this I said, “Oh my gosh, I’d love to do that!” And the rest is history, until last night.

I went to 183 straight regular season and playoff games, home and away. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we had. I’ve gotten to see so many places and meet lots of wonderful people! The Bears took me to other countries to visit and watch games in London and Toronto. I’ve gone to every stadium (other than the new one in Atlanta, which will be next year). I feel so blessed!

But life changes and circumstances become different. I had to make the decision, it just wasn’t possible to do all the games this year. I went to Denver and plan on making our three division games.

Knowing the end of my streak was near, it made me focus on simplifying my life and what is really important. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish I was there last night. That doesn’t mean I won’t start the streak again. It just means I’ve put some things in perspective.

It’s not the longest streak by any means. My friend Sandy is continuing to go and a good friend we’ve come to know , Paul, has been going to not only regular season but pre-season games since 2002. True fans by any definition.

All good things must come to an end only to allow us to start more good things.

Pre-season is practice for fans too

Though pre-season games can be well a little mundane and are to get the team ready for the season, it’s a trial run for fans too. At least for me, though I’ve been going to games for over 25 years, its good practice, making sure my game bag and my outfit, is game day ready. Many things I leave in the bag and I usually wear close to the accessories, but there are always a few things that need to be added. I must admit, I’ll usually discover at least one thing I’ve forgotten and am glad it’s just pre-season.

What about you? Do you use pre-season games to get back into the swing of football and game day routines?

First Lady of the NFL

Recently the Bears had a 100 year weekend celebration. It was great! They had sessions all day Saturday, combining alum from past decades, back to the 1960’s, along with current players. It was fun to watch the new generation players as the guys from the 80’s and earlier told their stories and how they hit. It’s such a different game now!

The highlight though to me of the weekend was Sunday’s session with two Chicago writers, George McCaskey, Chairman of the Board, and Virginia McCaskey, owner and in my opinion, the First Lady of the NFL. She is so classy, and more importantly, so normal! She is 96 years young and amazing! She goes to all the home and away games and many of the extra events. There is no air about her and one would never know she is the owner of one of the premier NFL franchises in the league. She is sharp as ever and has her thoughts on the team and what needs to be done to win!

I’m so glad she’s with my team!

What are your thoughts? How does she compare to your team’s owner?

Virginia McCaskey

What gets you through the off-season?

Training camp is still two months away. With no play-off hockey to tide me over until then, it’s starting to be a very long off-season. We had the draft party a month ago which helped but we had no first or second round pick.

Thank goodness the weekend after next is the Bears 100th Year Celebration weekend! It will be Friday night, ALL DAY Saturday, and Sunday morning of nothing but BEARS talk!!!

Many of the past Bears, including my all-time favorite player, Gary Fencik, as well as many of the current players, will be there. Looking so forward to all the seminars.

I’m excited for the season to start not only to celebrate 100 years of Bears football but to see if we can continue and improve upon last season’s 12-4 record.

What’s getting you through the off-season?

From rival to on your roster

It happens. Not often, but it happens. It’s free agency time and your team has just signed someone from the team you “hate” the most, your arch rival. Or, one of your team’s players does the unthinkable, signs with that arch rival. Is one better than the other? That could depend on who that player is perhaps.

If that player has been a nemesis for two games a year, is it easier to now cheer for that player cause well, at least they’re not going to beat you? Or, if it’s a player you like, good for your team, but for one reason or the other, he’s gone and now will be the opponent, is that worse?

For me, signing a rival will probably depend on the player and how they’ve played a factor in beating my team. Most players are in a sense “neutral” opponents. They’re your rival but no big deal. Then, there are those few that stand out and you just cringe at the mention of their name because of how they always seem to have that break-out game against you.

What are your thoughts?

Prime Time – Double Time

In anxious anticipation of the release of the 2019 schedule, many fans are wondering how many prime time games will their team have this year. The better the team, the more prime time games will be scheduled. For example, the Bears won the NFC North division, are celebrating their 100th season, and are always a big ratings draw, thus, more than likely they will have minimally four, if not the maximum of five, prime time games.

I did a quick look at last year’s prime time schedule and was surprised how many times a team that played in prime time did double time. This meaning, played in prime time two weeks in a row. It happened at least 12 times. A team played Sunday night then the next Monday night, or the team played two Sunday or Thursday nights in a row, or played Thursday night and the next Sunday or Monday night. You get the point.

I just found it interesting and made me ponder why would the NFL schedule so many repeat teams? What are your thoughts?

Schedule – Anxious Anticipation

After the combines, the next big event is the release of the schedule for the upcoming season. I anxiously await it being released as I’m sure many other fans do. How many prime time games will we have? How many Thursday night games? When is our bye week? Any holiday games? So many variables! If you travel to games, it signifies the beginning of checking airfare, deciding to book or not to book. What hotels are in the area? Near the stadium? Need a car? How much vacation time will I need to use? Will this game be flexed? So much to think about! But as someone who travels to games, so much fun! I love it!

I looked at last year’s schedule, in particular the prime time games, and found some interesting scheduling. At least I thought it was interesting. Stay tuned to read what I found.

Salary cap or no salary cap?

Someone I know posted a question on Facebook asking, should the NFL have a hard salary cap or should it be open ended? Should teams be able to pay players whatever they want? As much of a headache I’m sure it is for teams and for fans when players can’t be re-signed because of it, there should be a salary cap. If there’s no salary cap, salaries will get out of control and teams with a bigger market and more money have an unfair advantage. I personally am a big fan of an attempt at parity. Every team and fan should always feel they have a chance to win it all. Many players already make a ridiculous amount of money to, well, play a game. No cap, no common sense on how much players make. Ultimately it could be the fans that suffer as someone will have to pay for the large salaries.

Thoughts? Should the NFL keep the salary cap or let it be a free for all?

I can do that job – Flag wave maker

I can do that job – Flag wave maker. This was at one of the away games I attended. The flag was “waving” during the National Anthem. What qualifications are needed to help make our flag “wave:” Not have a fear of closed in areas, not being too tall as to have your head be the wave maker, ability to raise arms and gently poke the flag.