The Four Fans

We’re weeks away from the Bears opening day game against the Green Bay Packers, and between the message boards, online communities, Twitter, and mingling with Bears fans in the wild, I’ve encountered (and uttered, sadly) many of these common fan tropes that betray us Bears fans as emotional, temperamental, and frustrated folks.

Before I begin, please remember that I am one of you.  I’m an overweight opinionated ass who is way too emotionally invested in this team’s success.  I say and tweet buffoonish, brain-dead thoughts just as much (or more) as any sports fan.  The irony is not lost on me.

That said, let’s commence our review:

 1.  COUCH-SITTING BLOWHARD CRITICAL OF ELITE ATHLETES

Typical Quotes & Symptoms:

  • “Guy is made of glass!”
  • Refers to injured players as losers, pussies, etc.
  • Often tells stories of “when men were MEN,” playing through grotesque injuries as if they were more inconvenient than anything else.
  • “I remember (player from yesteryear) and he was never hurt!”

These are all, in some respect or another, indicators of how we have chosen to grow old.  In this instance we have a person who watches far too many shows about World War 2, glorifying some vague idea of the olden days when suffering was apparently simply a way of life.

We are all doomed to become critical of younger generations as we age, but it doesn’t make this eye-rolling brand of hot air any less silly.

Okay, Grandpa, I believe you that Dick Butkus played through 10 straight games with two torn ACLs, a broken neck, and AIDS.


2.  IMPOSSIBLE-STANDARD-SETTING ARMCHAIR GM

Typical Quotes & Symptoms:

  • “You gotta make the trade for (insert elite player)!  It would only take a 3rd, maybe 4th round pick!  Anything more than that and I’ll be furious!”
  • “Are you kidding with that deal?!  I would’ve offered him 1 year at $2 million and he can take it or leave it!”
  • “I could do a better job than this Pace guy.  What a joker.”

The age range for these types of fans vary wildly, but the younger generations have been raised in Madden GM Mode, where there’s always a way you can overvalue guys who kind of suck and draft picks can be shimmied around with relative ease.

These are also often people who haggle at grocery stores, admire Trump as some kind of master deal negotiator, and would relish confrontation with a Denny’s manager over expiration of a 50¢ coupon. 

Their ultimatums are often completely unreasonable, their evaluation of what talent is actually worth is so far beyond conservative that even the thankfully dead Bill Wirtz would roll his eyes.


3.  KOOL-AID-DRUNK GATEKEEPERS

Typical Quotes & Symptoms:

  • “Where did all these Chicken Littles come from?  Cowards!”
  • “You’re not allowed to celebrate when the Bears win!”

As a counter to all the internet cynics such as myself, there’s any number of these tough-talk brawny types, puffing out their chests at anyone who dares to think that the glorious Chicago Bears won’t win at least 13 games every season.  The prolific overuse of “Chicken Little” is a blatant signal that you’re dealing with a fan who may not be worth the energy.

Don’t worry, however, as the Gatekeepers are only around early in the season.  Once a few losses pile up, we see the transition into…


4.  THE 3 I’S:  IN-THE-MOMENT, IRRATIONAL, IRATE

Typical Quotes & Symptoms:

  • “Cut this guy RIGHT NOW!!!!”
  • “Take him out back and shoot him!”
  • “I’m done with this guy, D-O-N-E, DONE!”
  • “You gotta fire this guy today, no waitin’!”

Social media is nobly festooned these days with the 3 I’s, and I am no exception at all, but it gets really, really bad sometimes.  This is clearly not limited to any one fan base (looking at you, @BestFansStLouis).

Often these thoughts will pepper Twitter and Facebook in real time, typically the most uproarious immediately following a Bears quarterback throwing an interception.

As soon as an interception is thrown, for example, all logic goes into the trash and the brain begins to immediately pursue the fastest avenues to pleasure; namely the removal of he who committed the turnover via the most violent means necessary.

Said player can redeem themselves when performing a game-winning action, but often these fans consider it an “it’s about goddamn time” moment, and it only briefly removes them from any shit lists.


As you’ve read through these, perhaps you, much like me, have realized that you have a little bit of all of these tropes floating around your brain.  It’s part of being a fan.  The irrational, sometimes joyless, sometimes exuberant, often frustrating existence of cheering for the Bears is, at least, rarely boring.

I’m excited to delve back into the team’s doings and making an ass of myself on the internet, with as much or more awareness than ever of just how stupid the things I’m saying can appear.

Join me.

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