On Saturday night, the Chicago Bears played their first exhibition game of the new NFL season against the San Diego Chargers. The Chicago Bears, gods from Mt. Olympus sent via airplane to play at Qualcomm Stadium, had my interest for all of about 5 minutes and then I started twirling around the TV dial, devoted to network television channel surfing. I came back to see injuries, plague, pestilence or maybe you call them injuries, penalties, and sacks. All three QBs got sacked but the money god, Jay Cutler, was taken out way early so they'd still be able to pluck him from Olympus for the opening game. I hope the injuries were neither career- nor season-ending (some of those guys were rookies). The bigger question is, why did it lose my attention?
A few years ago I realized I can't go to baseball games because if they lose, I take it personally. During the winning game of Stanley Cup finals, I was very, very, very nervous because if the Hawks lost I was going to just be so very upset. I don't bet money so I've really nothing to lose, but I have emotions vested in each game I watch and I don't like a let down.
Yup, I don't like a let down and those Bears are cruising to break my heart and they pretty much bit. Last night, as I fell asleep, the TV still on, I swear I heard a commentator say, "It was a great game but I can't say I'm not disappointed." Our Bears were lightly spread on toast points and then were ingested by what seemed to be a real football team, the final score being 25-10. Disappointment is a reserved term for it because, dang, they really stank up the field.
Maybe I am being too nervous too early in the season or maybe I just think Chicago deserves a team that kicks ass, breaks through lines, takes names, and lets the game be more evenly played by offense and defense. The defensive line has to be exhausted and fans who actually know something must be, too. The Bears have been saved time after time by its kicker. This time Robbie Gould, he of the golden leg, the Can-Can god, knocked one of the Chargers out of bounds when no one else could catch that Charger (who was, let's agree, charging). Gould looked delighted that he pushed the guy out of bounds! I suggest each Bear team member look hard at Mr. Gould and wonder how he is so good and they are so not-as-good. I don't cry myself to sleep every night because I know Robbie Gould knows how to play football as part of a team.
In totally-other sports news, later this month, right about the time she turns 61, Diane Nyad, the great long-distance swimmer, is set to make another attempt at swimming from Cuba to Key West, a distance of 103 miles. When she made the attempt in 1978, she was pulled out of the ocean after 42 hours. In 2010 I hope she walks out onto the shore at Key West, triumphant as the only person to ever swim this particular stretch of open sea.