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  • Writer's pictureDavid Wilson

Bears in Wisconsin

I have been a Chicago Bear fan for as long as I can remember. I go back to the days of Dick Butkus, Doug Buffone and Ed Obradovich to name a few. I remember Gale Sayers, I don’t remember his 6-touchdown day. I also recall the heartbreaking year when the Bears only won one game and it was against the Steelers, only to lose to them in a coin toss for the #1 selection in the draft that followed that year.

Jim Dooley and Abe Gibron are a couple of coaches that walked the sidelines during those trying times of ineptness. I remember the light at the end of the tunnel when the Bears selected Walter Payton as their first-round draft pick. He had to suffer through some losing years himself. The next era was the Mike Ditka phase, who eventually led the Bears to a Super-bowl championship. I lived through some tough times that were eventually followed by the most glorious of events.

Somewhere around 1994-5, I remember purchasing a computer and eventually making my way to online startups called, Compuserv and American Online. Immediately when I started learning about the internet, I made my way to whomever talked or wrote about the Chicago Bears. I aimlessly followed a path to some discussion groups on American Online. That was a place, a person could spend his spare time, chatting about the beloved Bears team.

It was a passionate group of people, who loved to argue. Many arguments over the draft and the selections of people like Curtis Enis, Cade McNown and whether to take Plaxico Burris or Brian Urlacher filled our days.

Tough guy talks from nerds who sat behind a computer and a keyboard who could say anything they want because they hid behind screen names. When I thought, I would find a group of people who wanted the best for the Bears, I was a little taken back, to discover, people would rather be right, than be a fan. Or, they wanted to be right first, and then a fan. I have learned during the world wide web experience, that men love to worship teams right after they worship themselves. It is still the same to this day on Facebook.

In 2011, American Online, (AOL) announced they were going to shutdown the message groups. There was the need to have a place to assemble and talk Bears so I started a Facebook page and group early on in 2012. The technological age has been very good to fans of all sports because it makes information ready and available at the click of a mouse. Seems funny to me, that saying, “the click of a mouse” is archaic now.

So, during the bye week of 2018, I decided to ask people in the Facebook group, Chicago Bears Den, to write about their experience as a fan. I listed the states and encourage people who have resided there or presently reside there to share. We learned a lot.

We learned that when Bear fans talk about where they are from, other Bear fans in their area make their acquaintance. For instance: Lance Dale from La Crosse Wisconsin said, “My Great Grandpa was a Bears fan and we used to go over to their house on Sundays for breakfast. I always associated him with The Bears.”

Immediately someone from that area responded to him and a small dialogue began, after realizing they lived close in proximity. It is great to be a Bear fan, but even greater to have the shared interest in the Bears with someone else while living in another state. This is almost common among fans of the Bears worldwide. It is no wonder to me that the Bears are one of the best travel team.

Also, from the Lance Dale remarks, it is common to see someone who is a fan who have fond memories of a grand parent who also rooted for the Bears. Dad’s have raised their daughters on their laps while watching the monsters from the midway.

This was added by Trebor Verwey, who is from Racine Wisconsin and now Burlington for the last 3 years. I usually watch the games at home and every now and then I’ll go to the bar. My grandpa and Dad were bears fans and I’m carrying on the tradition


Long time member of the Den had a small conversation about the team from the north.

Dan Engelhart from Marshfield hometown, Eau Claire college. I don’t remember where I’d watch the games. I think I’d just watch when they were on/playing packers or Vikings etc. it was pre-Sunday ticket I think. I’m a bears fan because of my dad. He grew up in South Dakota before the Vikings were a team. We moved to Wisconsin just after the 85 super bowl. The packers were awful and I’m here to tell everyone that before Brett favre the packers fans were not that committed... I decided loyalty means something early on... I had friends that were bear fans with me that quickly claimed lifelong packed fandom! What?!

Joe Rozmarynoski NOBODY gave a shit about the packers when I was in school...... not till 1992 when I was a senior. What a joke.

Dan Engelhart Joe exactly! The lindy Infante years?! I remember getting my hair cut by my barber... it was THE barber shop. I had respect as a Bear fan I think because no one actually gave a shit but also I was decent at football myself. He says ‘I think the packers might have a decent QB now... a guy named favor... he said it real sheepish... and here we are. I also remember when Rodgers was drafted. People didn’t like him... idiots

Then there was the little boy who became a fan because of Walter Payton. How many times have we heard that Walter was good for the Bears organization. I cannot imagine being four years of age and being compelled by anything, but Walter Payton had that kind of draw to him.

Josh Bodi from Racine, born in San Jose, CA I became a Bears fan the moment I saw Walter Payton run the ball, I was 4 years old and my dad told me that I turned to him and said this is my favorite team and always will be lol.

I will have to say, the fans from Wisconsin who love the Bears showed us taste, class and loyalty.

Some thing that stood out about the Wisconsin thread was the mention of Platteville Wisconsin, the place where the Bears spent their summer camps. That was the place, I personally got my signed autograph card of rookie Brian Urlacher. Bear Down Wisonsin.

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