Dedicated Bears fans come out in numbers

Before taking a drink to celebrate the effort of their favorite team, a group of students at The Locker Room recited "The Bears Prayer," honoring the Bears and wishing them luck.

"Our Papa, who art a Bear, Halas be thy name. Thy championship come, thy play will run, at home as tis away. Give us this day our Sunday win, and forgive our turnovers, though we pounce on those who turnover against us. And lead us not into fourth and long, but deliver us from Rodgers. In the name of Ditka, Butkus and the Holy Payton. As it was in 1985, so shall it be in 2011, reign without end. Amen."

Ball State Chicago Bears fans watched with hope and anticipation as their team struggled until finally losing the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers after an interception with one minute to go in the last quarter.

Jim Grogan, a senior criminal justice major, was born in Chicago and said Bears loyalty is in his blood.

"It's such a huge rivalry between the Packers and Bears, so it is cool to sit here in Muncie and watch the rivalry play out. It is the perfect NFC championship game," he said.

Grogan's uncle shared the Bears Prayer with him and it was not long until his entire group of friends memorized the chant.

"We have all been with the Bears through the ups and downs," Grogan said. "We said it before the game and during the halftime because the Bears needed a lot of help."

Josh Zagarena, a senior criminal justice major, said he was surprised by the amount of Bears fans so close to "Colts Country."

"We had a lot of people come out tonight, maybe 20 people," he said. "The Bears have been doing pretty fair all season, it just feels good they are making a comeback. They need to get the spotlight they deserve."

Zagarena and his friends had the entire top floor of the Locker Room and he said anyone walking into the roomwas entering "The Bear Zone."

There was a small table of Packers fans across the bar, but no matter how far the Bears were down and how much friendly smack talk was shouted, Bears fans continued to have hope.

Students that were relocated from Studebaker West Complex because of a pipeline break earlier that day gathered in front of a TV in the Noyer Complex Lobby to watch the game.

Despite the Packers' constant lead throughout the game, some fans did not lose hope that the Bears would win until the last 30 seconds.

"I'm kind of disappointed about how the Bears played," sophomore early childhood education major Katie Longarce said. "But it's not over yet, we'll just see how it goes."

Charles Wolfe, a freshman actuarial science major, sat at the party confident the Packers would win.

"Aaron Rodgers played phenomenally," he said, "The Packers are winning, just as I expected."

Colts fans, Steelers fans and many other football lovers gathered at an off-campus watch party to cheer for the Bears. With about 10 people watching the game, the mood was hopeful that the Bears could pull together and win. Richard Velde, who is a Steelers fan, hoped the Bears would defeat the Packers because he has some family from Chicago.

Only seven points down to tie, the Bears threw an interception that ended the game.

Velde, a freshman social studies education major, said he blames play-calling and coaching.

"The Bears got caught in a rhythm with plays by running two run plays and following that up with a pass," he said. "As a defense, that becomes very easy to scheme against."

Brian Mathews, a junior exercise science major, blamed the loss on Jay Cutler's knee injury despite the fact that the only Chicago touchdowns happened during the second half while Caleb Hanie was the quarterback.

"Green Bay played great defensively, and with the injury to Cutler they had to rely too heavily on a young, inexperienced quarterback. He played well. However, I would much rather have my star quarterback in the game on a last minute drive to tie the game," he said.


It is impossible to say what would have happened had Cutler been in the game, but Lindsey Trexler, a freshman chemistry pre-med student, was impressed by Hanie.

"I think Caleb Hanie did a pretty fantastic job and really showed that he has great potential as quarterback," she said.

Though Zagarena's team did not win, he said they always have next year.

"If you get anything out of this game, just remember, ‘Da Bears!'" he said.


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