Brownie Points

Column: Hopelessness Is the Only Hope

Marco Verch | FlickrSoldier Field is the unfortunate home of the perennially disappointing Chicago Bears.

Hello there and welcome back to Brownie Points. This is a column where I award points to the do-gooders or take points away from the wretched.

Today, I talk about my struggles with having hope amidst a world of loss and despair. Of course, this is talking about the atrocity known as the Chicago Bears.

The Bears lost to the Tennessee Titans 24-17 Nov. 8. Mind you, the city of Chicago was riding high after Joe Biden was announced as President-elect, stifling Donald Trump’s borderline-authoritarian regime.

Speaking of stifling an incompetent group, oh boy did the Titans lock up the Bears. Tennessee held Chicago scoreless for the first three quarters, and by the time the Bears’ finally started to show signs of life on offense, it was simply too late.

You might be saying, “Hey, at least the Bears ended the game strong.” No. I’m done with these moral victories. I simply can’t take it anymore.

It’s times like this when I reflect back on the advice of a short, bald and incredibly wise man. No, I’m not talking about Gandhi but rather Seinfeld star and 90’s icon, George Costanza.

Sure, he’s talking about relationships and we’re talking about sports. But honestly, it fits perfectly for a Bears fan.

Coming into this season, my outlook on the year was pretty bleak. An offense that’s been bad for what feels like my entire life showed no real signs of improvement, even bringing back the extremely mediocre Mitch Trubisky at quarterback.

But to my surprise, the Bears jumped out to a 5-1 record and along the way, replaced Trubisky with 2017 Super Bowl MVP-winner Nick Foles. Could this be the year the Bears put it all together and contend for a Super Bowl? 

No. 

Yeah, that was pretty naive to even allow that thought into my mind for a split second. But there I was, believing the Bears might actually be something this year. I had all the evidence they were frauds right in front of my eyes and I chose to ignore it.

For example, the Bears five wins have come against teams with a combined 17-27 record. Also, the combined margin of victory in those five games was 20 points. Yes, winning is important, but hardly being able to beat the league’s bottom feeders is usually a bad sign.

Fast forward to present day and the Bears have dropped three straight against teams with winning records. Shockingly, the Bears fell apart once they faced an ounce of competency. 

And I can’t fully blame the Bears for this. Sure, head coach Matt Nagy’s playcalling has been atrocious, but they’ve also had a slew of injuries that haven’t helped matters. Ultimately, I’m at fault for my own despair. I’ve been suffering in this fandom for almost 22 years now. I should know by now to absolutely never get my hopes up.

I need to listen to the advice of our lord and savior Mr. Costanza and simply thrive in a state of hopelessness. The worst feeling in the world is to have your hopes crushed. However, it’s impossible to get your hopes crushed if you just never have hope in the first place. 

Simply not having hope will take away the pain and disappointment from every Bears’ loss, drive that sputters out and inaccurate pass thrown by whatever underwhelming quarterback the Bears put out.

So, this week, I’m taking away a Brownie Point from myself for just the second time in the history of this column. I foolishly allowed myself to believe in the Bears. Further, I’m vowing to never put myself in such a precarious situation like that ever again.

Despite the loss of a Brownie Point, this is truly a good day for me. Sure, the excitement of Sunday mornings in the fall won’t be the same. But the frustration of Sunday nights after a seemingly inevitable Bears’ disappointment won’t be missed. 

From this day forward, I promise to be hopeless. It is my only hope.

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