So I was watching women’s tennis the other night.
Now before you label me a perv, understand this – I was actually drawn to it for something other than the sight/sound of two scantily-clad young females grunting at each other from across the net.
So why the new-found appreciation for tennis? I’ll get into more specifics of how the Australian Open helped this downtrodden Bears fan deal with his case of the doldrums in a minute. Admittedly, some of it simply has to do with finding a distraction that has nothing to do with Chicago, bears, pigskin, Wisconsin or cheese.
If you’re like me, you haven’t watched a minute of Sportscenter, NFL Network or CSN Chicago since the unfortunate events of Sunday unfolded in Soldier Field. As I’m writing this post, I’m on Day 4 of my NFL/football sabbatical. This streak is all the more impressive considering I’ve spent half of it at home with a sick toddler (damn you, strep throat!).
Engaging in some athletic activities in the hours immediately following the debacle in Chicago helped. Fueled by the agony that accompanied the 2nd worst Bears loss in my lifetime,* I took no prisoners on the basketball court…even if it was just 3-on-3…on a half court…and my two teammates both stretched north of 6’6”.
Playing the point, I ‘led’ my team to 6 wins in 8 games. I likened my role to that of Rajon Rando, who circa 2008, tried not to screw things up for a championship-caliber starting lineup that featured 3 future HOFers.
So if you find yourself needing to blow off some steam, I highly recommend some sort of physical activity – like a trip to the gym or perhaps a competitive eating contest.
Anyways, back to the Bears…
As far as non-athletic time-wasters go, I eavesdropped on my Bears Twitter tweeps to see how they were handling the depression that comes with knowing certain family members, friends and co-workers will hold bragging rights against you for the rest of your time on earth.
Not surprisingly, the Twitter talk focused mostly on the toughness of Jay Cutler. For what’s it worth, I (along with the majority of sane citizens of Bear Nation) have firmly entrenched myself in the pro-Cutler camp. For a while though, I was worried about his psyche, especially after he nearly broke down in front of reporters after the game.
But then I remembered – Jay’s a confident millionaire…living in Chicago…who’s dating one of the hottest gals in reality TV history.
Which leads me back to tennis…
The aforementioned match that captured my attention was an Australian Open quarterfinal between the highly ranked Kim Clijsters and some other gal with more consonants than vowels in her last name. There was no grunting; no colorfully skimpy outfits; not even fiery John McEnroe commentary.
I was simply drawn to the drama of two great athletes going toe to toe in a test of strength…in front of thousands of people in the land down under…on one of the sport’s biggest stages. Of course, it helped that it had absolutely nothing to do with football. But it quenched my ravaging thirst for competition that I knew wouldn’t be satisfied until the Bears first preseason game next year…assuming of course, there is a ‘next year’ (with the lockout looming).
I know a lot of folks will turn their attention to baseball. We’re just a few weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting. As a Kansas City Royals fan, this news only saddens me.
So I’ve come to the conclusion I’ll tune into more tennis matches this offseason to fill the hole in my psyche ripped out by the green and gold cheeseaters from the North.
I highly recommend you watch too, if for nothing else than more post-match interviews like this one…
* For the record, the worst loss I can remember is the 1987 home playoff stunner to the Redskins following the ’86 season. The Bears had everyone back from the Super Bowl Championship team the year before and went 14-2 in the regular season. It was eerily similar to Sunday in that another backup, Doug Flutie, subbed for an injured Jim McMahon. And yes, I would put this loss ahead of Super Bowl XLI vs. the Colts considering (1) the Bears were underdogs in that game, (2) the Colts methodically controlled momentum most of the way and (3) Rex Grossman was our quarterback. It didn’t catch me off guard like the ’87 game.
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