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WRITE TEAM: Football a balm that soothes ills

I have to admit, writing in the summer for this column feels completely different than writing in the winter. For those of you who don’t know how this works, the Write Team term is split into two six-month tours of duty, so to speak.

What I’ll call the summer tour runs from roughly April to September. Each of us writes a column that runs every other week. During that time, we can basically write about whatever we want, within in reason of course.

Normally when I write in the winter period, I get very holidayish with some of my columns. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Groundhog Day are all paid homage with pithy and cute observations. I seek out new and improved recipes for dressing (or do you call it stuffing) or the ultimate Christmas cookie concoction to really make the holiday magical.

But when you write in the summer, you have an entirely different pallet of subject matter.

In years past, I have been a contributing writer to MLB.com (Major League Baseball’s website) as well as SI.com (Sports Illustrated’s website) wherein said contribution was a blog entitled “A Football Fan’s View on Baseball.” The blog was based on the fact that, while I played baseball all the way through the college level and loved it, as a fan it bored the heck out of me.

That changed in 2016 when the Cubs won the World Series. I have never hidden the fact that I am a bandwagon jumper and will fully support whoever is winning. The 2016 Chicago Cubs had an intoxicating effect on all of us, except the bitterest of Sox fans. The Cubs brought a lot of us in from the fringe, apathetic region to become full blown, bleeding Cubby Blue, fans.

While it’s a bit early to make any predictions on how the Cubs will fare this season, as of this writing, they have a sluggish 2.5 game lead in the National League Central Division with less than two months to go. The final game of the season in St. Louis on Sept. 29 is getting closer in the windshield and the North Siders need to hunker down and take no prisoners from here on out.

Which brings us to football.

Football is the balm that soothes all sorts of ills and it has begun again. While I usually try and keep my expectations low, I am pumped to see what the 2019 Chicago Bears will do this season.

The Bears are breaking with history, or at least a time-honored tradition, by playing in the first official game of the season, four weeks from tomorrow night, at Soldier Field. Since 2004, the first game of the season is hosted by the winner of the previous season’s Super Bowl Champ, which, in this case, would be the New England Patriots. The Bears will host the Green Bay Packers as the NFL celebrates 100 seasons of football and two of its oldest teams.

I think by midnight on Thursday, Sept. 5, we’ll have a pretty good idea how good this Chicago Bears team is. They were literally a donk away from moving on in the playoffs last season, but for a field goal kicker who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. He had no problem hitting the goalposts, just not the broad side of a barn.

Hope springs eternal and I for one am looking forward to a great football season.

JONATHAN FREEBURG is an Ottawa transplant for the last 25 years. Jonathan is also a regular contributor t0 1430 WCMY Radio. His real job is insurance as a cover-holder for Lloyd’s of London.

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