A Courteous Contrararian

I’m Tradin’ My Sorrows

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - Jan• 08•15

Or at least I’ve been thinking about it.

I’ve been a Chicago Bears fan for over 50 years. I watch the games, and record them if I can’t watch live. I listen to sports radio during the season (and preseason and now that the coach and GM have been fired and probably at least through the college draft and the mini-camps and the preseason). Like most knowledgeable diehard fans, I know what went wrong with my team, and when, and exactly how to fix it.

For the past two seasons, the end of the worship service has come into conflict with the start of the game. I haven’t cut the worship short in order to listen to the game on my way to my TV (I don’t think) but I have been tempted. It wouldn’t work anyway. If I cut a song in the middle of the service, Pastor Bob would just preach a little longer to fill in the gap.

Last year, I tried to not hear the score after the service. I’d rush home and watch my recording in progress from the start, fast forwarding through the commercials. I’d normally catch up to the live game somewhere near the end of the third quarter or start of the fourth, depending on how many commercials I forgot to fast forward through.

But this year I haven’t bothered. This year the Bears were so bad. Uniformly bad, and inept, and occasionally lacksadaisical, in all three phases of the game. And although I know what went wrong this year, and when, and exactly how to fix it, I have to admit my focus has strayed somewhat from the Bears. I know it seems evil beyond the adulterous, but another team has caught my attention.

It helped that they most often were a featured game with a 3:25 start, after my bumbling team had lost another one. It helped that the team was in close proximity to Chicago. They had a great quarterback and fine receivers and a real shot this year. You’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about the P–

I’ve had a flirtation like this a couple of times before. I rooted for the Peyton Manning- led Colts while it seemed like they would never get past the Patriots and win a Super Bowl. The Colts were very sexy back then. Featured games, great QB and receivers, and Indy was in close proximity to Chicago. And the Colts, after all, were in the other conference. I cheered for them to win the Super Bowl all the way up to, but not including their actual Super Bowl win. AGAINST THE BEARS. You’d think I would have learned my lesson.

But this time is different. Maybe it’s because I’ve come to know a couple of real live Packer fans and they seem like really nice people. Not so different than you and me. They even claim to be saved, as if such a thing were possible.

So there, I’ve let the secret out. I’ve been following the Packers. Aaron Rodgers is on his way to being the best quarterback who ever lived, and he’s got a biblical first name. Old Testament, but still.

To cheat on the Bears with our hated rivals feels more than adulterous, it is almost incestuous. Maybe more so since the Bears cut Julius Peppers and the Pack signed him. and then I got to thinking, if Peppers could change teams so easily, why couldn’t I? Am I tied to the accident of my birthplace?

I could be. If God choose for me to be born in Chicago, Illinois, could he have also presdestinated (KJV) me to suffer in this life in order to have a greater glory in the next? Are the Bears many weaknesses being made perfect through our many, many sufferings? (That reminds me of a joke: Did you hear about the Minnesota Lutherans that went to Hell? They kinda liked the heat because it was generally so cold in Minnesota. So the devil turned the thermostat to -30F. The they were happy because, since Hell froze over, they knew the Vikings must have won the Super Bowl.)

No. I believe in free will. Someday I will explain from Ephesians 1 how some were predestined but most of us were saved when we heard the word of truth. Aaron Rodgers and Gordie Nelson were probably predestinated (KJV) to become Packers, just like Bret Favre and Reggie White, while Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews were most likely accidents of the draft. And if Reggie White, ordained minister and all, could choose which team to play for, why can’t I choose the team for which I root?

Why not watch excellence instead of futility? I know I can get Milwaukee sportsradio after sundown. Why not extend my rooting interest into the playoffs for once? Why not take the Lambeau Leap and become an out-an-out full on Packers fan?


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