Deja Vu: The Chronicles of a Chicago Sports Fan

Being a Toronto sports fan is hard enough as it is (I wrote about it last year), and given that Chicago is a city most often compared to Toronto, it makes sense that we share similar (almost similar) woes when it comes to our sports teams. Sean has been a contributor before, and is always welcome as a guest writer, so with no further introduction – enjoy his post.

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It was barely a month ago when I said this..

2 years (or maybe 22 years) of frustration, pain and suffering, broken down in 140 characters. And it was true. Every time I would see my Quarterback, Jay Cutler, take a hard hit, I hold my breath in hopes that this isn’t deja vu.

Two days later, this happened..

What seems like a curse that I can never shake, suddenly got me again. Jay Cutler tore his groin, and for the 4th season in a row, he would miss a week (or more) due to injury. Once again, we were forced with the ever-so-familiar task of “next man up”, and at the QB position for the Chicago Bears, “next man up” is a standard.

Since I was born in October of 1991, I have seen 26 different starting quarterbacks take snaps for the Chicago Bears. I have been forced to endure the incredible talents of: Moses Moreno, Henry Burris, Erik Kramer, Cade McCown, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson, Rex Grossman, Todd Collins, Shane Matthews, Jonathan Quinn, Kordell Stewart, Chris Chandler, Brian Griese, and a plethora of other “next man up’s”.

From 1992 until week 10 of the 2013 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers have started 3. Two of them will find their way into Canton sooner or later.

But even worse, the expectation that I had for this team came to life. I kept a vow not to put any stock into the 2013 Chicago Bears in order to avoid the heartbreak that had plagued me the previous 3 seasons. After coming up lame in the NFC Championship game against Kryptonite, aka the Green Bay Packers, the Bears started the 2011 season 7-3 before Jay Cutler went down to injury. It was “next man up” with Caleb Hanie, who many fans idiots say should take over the starting job from Cutler.

The Bears finished the season 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

But the next season was different. In 2012, Brandon Marshall joined the Bears, and the “Super Bowl Shuffle” began playing inside Halas Hall all the way to a 7-1 start. Then, Cutler got a concussion. He only missed one start, but the outcome in the end was the same. We finished 10-6, and lost the 6th wild-card seed to our division rivals, the Vikings.

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All of a sudden, the pain of the last 3 seasons came back in an instant. Even though the Bears have a nice seat at 6-4, a decent schedule the rest of the way, an offensive guru in Marc Trestman, a backup QB that can manage the offense in Cutler’s absence in Josh McCown, and basketball players as receivers in Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett, I keep my hope low for good reason.

But it’s okay. While Cutler may be nursing whatever injury he has this week, we finally witnessed #TheReturn of my MVP, Derrick Rose. The same MVP who broke my heart April of 2012..

The Bulls were handling the 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference 1st round, and although the Bulls were tired, depleted, and oft-injured, I had the feeling of “This Is Our Year”. Derrick Rose was nearing a triple-double, and the Bulls were clicking on all cylinders.

Then I remembered…..”This Is Our Year”………Where does this sound familiar?

Oh yeah…

The rally cry of the most tortured souls in sports came echoing out of my mouth as it so often did on the big stage. But these weren’t my Cubs. The Bulls didn’t have the same history of losing, and losing in the worst way possible, as the other piece of my heart did.

Then, Rose got injured. And what may be a meme to many, was the reaction of every Chicago Bulls fan in America.

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Derrick Rose would miss 18 months with a torn left ACL. Bulls fans were left to endure a season of false hope, and although they lost to the Miami Heat in 5 in the playoffs, our spirits would pick up the following October when Rose saw his first NBA action in over a year.

He was unstoppable in the preseason, and after a slow 10-game start, many believed it was only a matter of time before Rose was back in game mode. It was game 11, and Rose had dropped 20 on the Portland Trail Blazers in the 3rd quarter.

Nobody believed lightning could strike twice.

It happened again..

It didn’t look bad on video, but then you hear the aftermath…

 

Even his own teammates are speechless, wondering if their season is over AGAIN. Of course, the MRI scheduled for his right knee is still a few hours away from taking place, but the worst has already settled in with Bulls fans. A fear of another ACL tear, another lost season, and another rebuild begins to cloud the minds of many. It’s almost like torture.

But then you remember: torture and being a Chicago sports fan goes hand-in-hand.

It’s something that we cannot escape. We pack Wrigley Field every summer believing the end of a 105-year championship drought is nigh. We bash our quarterback, but panic knowing that he’s the greatest quarterback in team history, and without him, it’s back to square one. We hurt seeing the hometown boy, the MVP, who worked so hard to get back, go down once again.

We’re Chicago fans. It comes with the territory.

At least we have this, right?

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Dictated. Not read.

The Management.

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