Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bears vs. Packers on a September Thursday?

Bee, I don't think this is necessarily a "sports post," although I'm going to talk about sporting events.

You -- and anyone else -- can agree or disagree in the comments.

The Chicago Bears have gone up to Wisconsin, there to play their dreaded foe, the Green Bay Packers.

On a Thursday night.

In September.

Football on a Thursday is fine, if the Thursday in question is Thanksgiving. That's tradition. Without the Detroit and Dallas games, when would we know when to serve the turkey?

Chris Sale is pitching against the Tigers
tonight in a game that may be decisive
in the AL Central race.
Football involving teams not from Chicago may even be alright on other Thursdays -- just not tonight, not when Chris Sale is going to duel Justin Verlander on the South Side in a game that may well determine whether the Detroit Tigers or my beloved Chicago White Sox will win this year's AL Central race.

The Tigers and the Sox are both staggering at this point of the season, like punch-drunk fighters. The Sox bullpen, so dominant for so long, is suddenly showing its youth and inexperience. Just when Sox fans began to long to see Adam Dunn at the plate, he can't pick up a bat (he's got a strained oblique, Bee; I tell you so you don't feel you have to look that up yourself). Even Paul Konerko is scuffling. The surest way to keep the Sox off the board is to load the bases with Pale Hose. Then they get themselves out for you.

But one of these teams will play through the pain and seize control of the Central. The Sox can bring their division lead back to two full games tonight; the Tigers can leave town tied for first, with all the momentum in their favor.

With this going on, why the heck do we have a Bears-Packers game scheduled for tonight?

In Chicago, Fall weekends are divided in two (yeah, says the wise guy, Saturday and Sunday, just like every weekend -- but the wise guy is wrong).

In the Fall, and into the Winter, Chicago weekends are divided between Bears Pre-Game and Bears Post-Game. The game itself is the fulcrum, the pivot point.

Now, of course, sometimes the game isn't until mid-afternoon on Sundays, when the Bears go to the West Coast or when the Bears are good enough to rate a national game on one of the networks. So the post-game period seems short. But anticipation should be longer than reflection or cool-down or whatever you want to call the aftermath. With anticipation, all things are possible: Jay Cutler might throw for 500 yards. Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin might get three sacks apiece. Devin Hester might score on a punt return, a kickoff return, and on a pass reception. Let irrational exuberance reign supreme!

But after... well, after, if the Bears lose, a gloom settles in on the City. Carl Sandburg said the fog creeps in on little cat feet, but a Bears loss falls on the City like a painter's heavy canvass drop cloth. Everyone walks with a little less spring in their step, a little more hunched over. The refs were terrible, the O-line couldn't protect Cutler... whatever the reason, it doesn't matter. Husbands and wives exchange sharper words than they should. Kids can't focus on their homework. Dogs instinctively look for slippers on which to chew.

Even if the Bears win, the rest of the weekend is anticlimax. Denouement. Roll credits. Iron shirts, shine shoes, fold socks, make tomorrow's lunch. The Sunday night "news" is mostly highlights from the game, including critiques of what should have been done better. It can get tedious. But at least a win makes that anticipation of next week's game just that much more delicious.

A Bears game on a Thursday just screws up this natural rhythm of Chicago life. We haven't had time to really anticipate the Packers yet -- did I mention the Tigers are in town and the Sox are playing for their post-season lives? -- and the Bears game will all be over all too soon.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday -- all anticlimax in Chicago.

Roger Goodell, what were you thinking?

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well personally i think this is a sports post and then some...

just sayin'

smiles, bee