Friday, October 30, 2009

Bear Down....BEAR DOWN...


“If things came easy, then everybody would be great at what they did, let's face it.”
Mike Ditka

The horrible images of Derrion Albert being viciously beaten by his peers raging uncontrollably high on a gangster culture embedded into them since birth have consumed my thoughts for the last few weeks. Every kick after kick, punch after punch, and blood curling yell after blood curling yell replays in my head until Derrion Albert is dead on the cold hard cement in the city of big shoulders, my Sweet Home Chicago.

Zombies, werewolves, and monsters at least kill out of necessity, while these children did so for pleasure, acceptance, and entertainment value in a world that values entertainment often times more than life and actuality. The camera caught it all, and the news played it ten but film no longer develops clear enough to see the big picture anymore and the image of horror were soon replaced by Paranormal Activity and Halloween. Every time I replay the image in my head I get sick to my stomach and wonder where the outrage is? I’m helpless and removed from the issue by space and race leaving me with that disgusting fucking word I keep hearing over and over since the dawn of the new millennium, hope.

That same sickness I had for the Albert murder was the way I felt as the Cincinnati Bengals demolished the Chicago Bears last Sunday in one of Chicago’s worst performances. I wanted to do something. I wanted to help. I was outraged and angered and bitter and fucking frantic at the mauling taking place on my television. I threw a bottle of Beam at the wall watching it shatter in reality as the escapism I tune into every Sunday was failing me. Nothing could be done, so I just watched on as helpless as the team on the field.

It was bad hoss, the kind of thing that makes you want to burn everything orange and navy blue you own. The kind of bad that makes you ask questions of your own faith and your own belief systems. I wanted to turn it off, or look away, but like a car wreck on the Kennedy I had to see all the horrible details of twisted metal, broken teeth, and white sheet covered stretchers. Plus what if my hopes came to fruition and they fought back and won the damn thing. What if I hit the lotto? What if somebody stepped in to help Derrion Albert. What if…aka hope.

This last week the sporting press has done their jobs of questioning every morsel of existence in the Bears organization (or lack of). The coaching staff has a lot of middle fingers pointing at them and rightfully so as overly aggressive stock brokers yell into their Backberry Storm2 9550 phones to provoking sports radio hosts. Cedric Benson looked amazing and everybody is now questioning if it was circumstance as previously accepted, and unchallenged, or piss poor talent evaluation and no coaching. The latter seems to be the favored opinion of Chicagoans this week.

Gary, Indiana just 25 miles from downtown Chicago was once a bustling city and the home of the Jackson family. It was a steel factory town and Indiana’s second largest city. It was full of hope and promise as it rose in population and jobs. But the steel melted away and desolation moved in. The people put their hope in their politicians to help recover the town. The city with so much promise just ended up rusting. Gary, Indiana is now a ghost town long forgotten after Michael Jackson and the factories faded away. Just violent criminals, immobile poverty, and shanty houses remain. A sad portrait of real America you never would see Norman Rockwell illustrate. The kind of place roaches search for motels to kill themselves in. Leadership is to blame for sure, but the people have to help themselves too.

Tommy Harris was a spit fire out of college and a much needed addiction to the Bears defensive line. He seemed like the final piece in a masterful building process. So young, so dominate, and so perfect Bears fans rejoiced after his rookie year where he showed power, speed, and determination. But now he’s turned into a crybaby who favors being either lazy or dishonest hiding in injury. He’s falling apart and the Bears fans are outraged.

The black and white ink on Tommie Harris paints him as a stubborn and lazy malcontent who hates his head coach. He was benched during the beat down due to a ‘knee injury’ just about everybody has admitted doesn’t exist. You can see desolation setting in the eyes of Tommie Harris. The reason this lump was benched was because he hasn’t produced much of anything despite all the money the Bears have dumped into keeping him. He needed a message. A wake up call. This week he’s back in practice for the first time all year and talks of a big game against one of the NFL’s worst teams the Cleveland Browns. I hope he can turn it around. I really do.

Webs site message boards are exploding with fans who want to cut or trade Tommie Harris as fast as we can. Try to get some value out of him is the logic. The city is in a complete and utter bitchfest over the Chicago Bears in general. It’s nice to see everybody motivated a level of collective disenfranchised feelings for the first time since Obama left town. Nobody is happy and everybody has an opinion and is more than willing to shout it. Even the non-fans know what’s going on and they too are steamed like a Chicago Style Hotdog bun. The Bear’s organization hears the fans loud and clear and will react.

I was walking in the rain thinking about the Bears when I looked up to take in the sight of the half naked tree when I slipped on its magnificent display of already fallen brown, orange, and red leafs. I laid in that discarded pile looking up at its branches listening to the rain fall between the leafs still hanging on. Somewhere in there I found a moment of clarity and tranquility. Sometimes you need the fall to see the beauty of it all.

The Bears have all the time in the world to turn it around, and they will. I hope it starts this week against the Browns, but we’re probably looking at next year for a real turn around., but we will preserBEAR and win it all. It is just to bad Gary, Indiana can’t do the same and its very sad Derrion Albert never will see the Bears turn it around. I hope we the people can.

Alfred Ferdinand Larcher III

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