I’ll be honest when I say that I do not know much about football.
When I was a child, I believed football consisted of a bunch of large men tackling each other to the ground in the name of a prized ball while grown men in colorful jerseys bearing a cartoonish animal swore at their television set.
As a child, I was more interested in playing with dolls and the color pink than the rough game of football. Don’t get me wrong, my dad tried to get me interested but the final result of that was a Bears football helmet that was left outside and became the home of a couple of spiders.
In my mind, football had no logic – it was only men who wanted to destroy each other while an old guy talked about certain players and numbers. On some occasions, I noted, someone would even draw a bunch of arrows on the screen, as decorations, I assumed.
Despite my ignorance concerning the general rules of the sport, the love of football was strong in my household.
My dad has always been an avid Chicago Bears fan. On certain days, my dad would sit in front of the television and I would learn a lesson in curse words and how they can be used to accentuate certain phrases.
The passion and excitement my family displayed toward football led to my own sense of excitement during the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Yeah, NU is not exactly known for its incredible performance at bowl games (or its incredible performance as a team in general), but I was ready to shout “Go ‘Cats!” My Wildcats would not be like my dad’s Bears, which have brought him such disappointment in life.
But it was not meant to be.
The game started out well enough, but things soon began to go downhill. My heart began to twist and turn when I saw that the score at the beginning of the fourth quarter was 30-7, with the Wildcats losing. Badly.
A brief cut to the sidelines showed Coach Pat Fitzgerald kicking a stuffed monkey. That was around the time I began to worry that I will be resigned to the same fate as my dad: to watch my favorite football team forever, with only a handful of notable accomplishments that result in few bragging rights.
The Bears are known for losing more than they are known for winning. When one assumes the Bears are going to lose, he or she is not being pessimistic, just practical.
They have not won a Super Bowl since 1986. This group of players was expected to win several Super Bowls, but the team fell apart in the ensuing decades. They have gotten close several times since and even managed to reach the Super Bowl in 2006.
The team did not win, and I swear that my dad shed a tear or two that night.
Nonetheless, my dad still watches every single Bears game from his man-cave of a basement. Part of the reason my dad continues to support the Bears with unwavering passion is because there is always hope.
Hope. That is what NU students need more of.
If the Wildcats are losing by halftime, students begin to leave the stadium instead of rooting for their team. Some NU students stop believing whenever the team is on a losing streak. I won’t lie and say that I have never left the stadium when I felt pretty sure that the Wildcats were going to lose.
That does not go to say that I will stop believing in the Wildcats just because they happened to lose this bowl game.
It is important to love the team for what they are. For my dad, the Bears represent everything that is Chicago. For me, the Wildcats encompass everything I love about NU and the college experience.
That is something to keep believing in.
Julianna Nunez is a Medill sophomore. She can be reached at [email protected]