Rivalry with Bears intense, but not as high a priority for this writer « Ol' Bag of Donuts

Rivalry with Bears intense, but not as high a priority for this writer

As we all know, it’s Bears week and, oh, what the heck, I can’t stop myself: The Bears still suck.

Still, those sentiments aside, I have to make an admission that I’m sure will shock some of you. 

The rivalry with Chicago doesn’t hit home with me quite as hard as it does with a lot of other Green Bay Packers fans. A lot? Who am I kidding? Most Green Bay Packers fans.

I was reminded of that while reading an excellent post on the rivalry by Jayme Joers over at BrentFavre. But, see, there’s a reason why I feel the way I do (call it an excuse, if you’d like): I’ve never lived in Wisconsin.

If you’re a regular reader of this site – and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t be – you already know I’m originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. That’s right – I’m a Yooper. The reason why I’m a Packers fan can be found here. Adam jokingly calls the U.P., “The land Wisconsin didn’t want” (or, at least I think he’s joking). I’m often asked how much Packers support exists there, what with Michigan already having an NFL team, albeit of a semi-pro variety. Honestly, I’d say it’s about 50-50, depending on where you reside in the Yoop. The eastern side tends to get Lions-heavy, while the Packers own the west. I’m from the town of Marquette, which is sort of in the middle.

Either way, Packers-Lions is the big rivalry there, obviously, especially while I was growing up. Detroit had some pretty good teams then, with Barry Sanders making fools out of defenders on a weekly basis (11 years later, I’m still in awe of that guy). Even post-Sanders – with Detroit often terrible and Green Bay often anything but - the matchup always has significance. Lions fans desperately want to embarrass Packers fans by having their team pull off the upset; Packers fans always dread that game, solely because we dread being embarassed. If you haven’t lived in Michigan, you likely don’t feel the same way. But to me, the Lions games always mean something more.

In 2005, at the ripe old age of 23, I finally left my home state, moving to the Twin Cities to attend the University of Minnesota. I knew the Packers-Vikings rivalry was a big one before I lived here, but until you live here, you really have no idea. That mainly stems from Vikings’ fans having what I heard someone recently refer to as a “Lil’ (another word for Richard)” complex. Really, that kind of says it all, but in case you need more, feel free to read what I wrote about the rivalry over the summer. Let’s just say Adam, Gene (a former Minnesotan) and I have really, really, really enjoyed the first couple of weeks of the 2010 season.

I understand those two rivalries very well because I’ve lived in the states where the Lions and Vikings play. But I’ve never lived in Illinois (and would never want to) or Wisconsin (kind of hope I get to live there at some point, to be honest). That’s not to say the rivalry with the Bears is foreign to me or that I don’t get it, because I do. Believe me, I know the history between these teams and the desire that exists to come out on the winning end. I was at last season’s opening night win at Lambeau and it was a great thing to see the many Bears fans in attendance slink off after losing at the end. It’s just that, well, I’m kind of an outsider to it all.

Honestly, I don’t even know that many Bears fans to talk crap with, while I can’t say the same about Detroit or Minnesota. That’s probably a factor in this, too. Plus, the Packers owned the Bears for so, so long, really until the arrival of Lovie Smith, that it was hard to get into the rivalry. Things have evened out considerably since, of course, which has helped me hate them more than I did. But, again, I’m sort of an outsider, so I don’t have the same amount of venom reserved for the Bears as many of you do.

Ultimately, the Bears are third on my list of teams I hate the most, behind both Minnesota and Dallas (I’ve got the Lions in a special category off to the side).

Before you ask, no, I haven’t lived in Texas. But I don’t think you really need to to hate those guys from the bottom of your soul.

-Chris Lempesis

10 comments to Rivalry with Bears intense, but not as high a priority for this writer

  • djbonney138

    I can totally relate to this story. My mother is from Kenosha Wisc. and my father from Northern Illinois. They met and married in Kenosha and long story short I grew up with a mom as a Packer fan and dad as a Bear fan. My mom has more family in WI. than my father does in IL. so Packers it is. I respect the rivalry and do indeed believe the Bears suck but nowhere near as much as the Vikings.

  • I’m probably like 15 years older than you and let me teach you about when Forrest Gregg was the coach. Ditka and Gregg hated each other and Gregg told his players to go after the Bears. At that time in the 80s, the Packers sucked and the Bears were the dominant team. But the hatred was passed down from my father. True me when I tell you that this rivalry is very much alive in older fans. By the way, to say you wouldn’t want to live in Chicago is curious…

  • Matt R

    I’m about the same age as you, and I think any Packers fan that grew up watching the Cowboys beat us in the regular season and the playoffs year after year feels the same way. I think they beat us, what, 8 times in the 90’s before we finally got the best of them in ‘97? And by then they were only a shell of their former selves, so it wasn’t even all that satisfying.

  • Mark D

    I grew up in the Milwaukee area, loving the Pack and hating the Bears, then college at Madison, and then I started my career in the Twin Cities in 1985 and have lived here in Minnesota ever since. The Vikings weren’t really even on the radar of hate until after I moved here and got to know the “fans” of the Vikings. Over the ensuing quarter century, my dislike for the Vikings has barely eclipsed my dislike of the Bears. My sons and I (they were born here in MN but are die-hard Packers fans, thank you) talk wistfully about the perfect season: Packers 19-0. Lions 4-12. Bears 2-14. Vikings 0-16.

  • Frenchpackerfan

    I am a French Packer fan who lives in Paris. Since the beginning of my passion for American football (dating bak to 1995), I have always been a Packers fan. I have watched every Packer game since then even so it is often very late in the night (because of the time difference) and despite the fact that nobody knows who the Packers are over here… ;-)

    Anyway, I have finally got tickets for this Monday Night football between Bears and Packers while I am in the US for holidays… I am so glad to eventually attend such a game!!!!

  • Jen

    From a gal who was born and mostly lived in the state WI my whole life, I never get tired of hearing how fans who did not live in this state, on how they became Packer fans. Thanks for sharing.

    I also so hate the Bears, but not as much as the Vikes. I used to live in MN for a couple years. The HATE for us is amazing. Once, I went to church and the priest called out a guy who wore Packer gear. However, after the Vikes got whipped by the Giants in the NFC championship game, someone wrote in really huge letters-VIKES BLOW on a huge hill by a major highway. I should have taken a picture.

  • foundinidaho

    Love Jayme’s post – and your take is interesting. I am from Idaho – have NO family in Wisconsin, no one in my family had been there until I went the first time in ‘96. My Dad was a huge Packer fan when I was born because of Jerry Kramer (Idaho, of course) and he loved Fuzzy too. I read Instant Replay when I was probably 7. There is a significant passage in that book about Bear Week and how strongly Lombardi hated them (though respecting Halas). My hate has been strong ever since. Vince would have found me very coachable, I suspect.

    It probably doesn’t hurt to keep it going now that I have a cousin who’s a Bears fan now (never has been to Chicago, either). So I get to play “The Bears Still Suck” for him twice a year and gloat after we win, most of the time.

  • Nate

    My blood runnith Cheddar Yellow! American by birth, Cheesehead by the Grace of God! My father was born and raised in the Dells and our love for the Pack can be traced back to him watching the Pack in the Lombardi years (I’m a Wyoming native). I don’t like the Bears, but will admit I do respect them. Can’t say the same for the Vikings, and I like them even less.

  • I didn’t know so many Packers fans could write…LOL…In all honesty, great points about the Vikings fans but my hatred will always be with your team. You are far and away the team I hate, have always hated and will always hate the rest of my life.

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