Thinking about the '85 Bears, and all their glory, got me thinking about the strange feature of the Chicago Sports landscape over the last 30 years...we've had 1 champion per decade...which is just odd. Remembering back through the different celebration made me laugh, as the way I've celebrated these championships has changed so much over the years...
1985 (Actually for those that want to be jerks, 1986, since the Super Bowl comes after the new year)...The vaunted Monsters of the Midway are in the Super Bowl against the Wild Card Patriots. Me? I'm 10. I was just mesmerized by the Bears at that time. I watched them destroy the Rams and Eric Dickerson...Laughed as the ghost of Halas blocked Landetta's punt...and knew every damn lyric to the Super Bowl Shuffle. I think I could still sing the whole thing. I remember even trying to spike my hair up to look like my favorite punky-QB. And then came the Super bowl...it was a year of the 2 week layoff...so the hype grew to epic proportions in Chi-town. How did a 10 year old handle this pressure?
I made voodoo dolls. I kid you not. There were these 2 crappy stuff animals that were just taking up space in the basement, I put numbers on them, 11 for Tony Eason on one, and 32 for Craig James on the other. I then stuck pins in 11's arm, and 32's legs. Crazy? Yeah, a little. But I was 10...and for some reason, I was nervous about the Super Bowl.
I watched the game at my cousin's house. All my family was there...a big Catholic, Chicago family watching the Bears murder the Pats. It was great. I remember that they had boxes of candy...just like at the checkout counter at the grocery store...that for me was the highlight of the party. I remember being really excited about the game, but spending a lot of the time re-enacting the plays with my cousins. When the game was over, we all cheered, and then I went home and went to bed...feeling like a champion for the first time.
After several miserable years of torture, where the Bears should of won again, but fell short...1991 finally brought a new champion...MJ and his Bulls. Man, those Bulls years were a blast...I remember heckling Vlade Divac, making terrible jokes about how George Karl should start drinking again, inferring that Stockton and Malone were sleeping together, calling Barkley "fatty"...all of this with my mom as my partner in crime. Strange I know, but she's a great fan.
By the second 3-peat I was in College...and I remember after the Bulls dismantled the Jazz for the first time...well let's just say I don't remember the rest of the night. I re-enacted the Championship celebration with several cans of Natty Ice...very fitting. Our apartment was a total mess....I think I had the good sense to do most of the spraying outside...but who the hell knows anymore. I slept it off that night, feeling like a true champion...I had celebrated in style.
Another decade passed, and then the unimaginable happened...the White Sox caught fire. This time it was really odd for me, I was 2000 miles away. And even worse, for most of the playoffs I was stuck working late on a project that was going sideways. I followed every game through the PC at work...hitting refresh so many times I thought I might break the F5 key on my keyboard. I was completely confused when the "Dropped 3rd strike" play happened, as CBS Sportsline just stopped updating for about 20 minutes. I was freakin' out...frantically searching for something to tell me what happened. When all of a sudden it showed that Crede hit a double to win the game...I screamed in my cube...not knowing how any of it happened.
But what made this year for the White Sox even more magical for me, was that at the start of the season, my daughter had been born. So I watched every game of the World Series with a little 5 month-old in full White Sox outfit, craddled in my arms. When Scotty Pods hit his winning homer, I screamed so loud that my daughter started crying. When Geoff Blum hit the HR in extra innings, I stifled a cheer so as not to wake a baby that had just fallen asleep. And finally, when the last out was made, and everyone was dancing on the mound...I leaned over to a sleeping girl in my arms and said, "The White Sox won", softly enough so I didn't wake her...as she slept the sleep of a champion.
Lucky her, she only had to wait 5 months...took me 10 years.