“Well, there’s always next year.”

I remember saying this often, especially at the end of football and baseball seasons in Chicago. Not that I was a big sports fan, but still, the end of most seasons prompted a look ahead, with hope for the future. Even though we’ve lived in several different areas of the country, and are about to relocate to another one, my husband and I have remained staunch Chicago fans in terms of sports teams. And it’s been an interesting journey, literally and figuratively, for our whole family.

The Bears Super Bowl victory in 1986 came a few months after the birth of our first child. We still lived in the Chicago area then, and our son was dressed in a baby-sized Chicago Bears sweatsuit when we hosted a few friends at our house to watch the game. I still remember the day vividly, but more because of my son than the outcome of the game.

He was in 7th and 8th grade during the year and a half we lived near Denver, and he asked for a Broncos parka for Christmas that first year. Our short time in Colorado covered two football seasons, and they were the years the Broncos won back-to-back Super Bowls.

Another sports-related event I remember from that time is when the school my kids attended sponsored a “Colorado Rockies Day.” Buses left the school parking lot loaded with students and parents, heading to Coors Field for an afternoon game that happened to be against the Chicago White Sox.

“You know I’m going to be cheering for the White Sox, right?” I said to my kids as we drove to the school.

“You know we’re not going to be sitting by you, right?” my son answered, without missing a beat.

We’ve lived in Minnesota almost 18 years now. Our kids are grown and gone, and my husband and I usually go to watch football games at a sports bar that reminds me of the old TV show “Cheers,” whose theme song ended with the words, “where everybody knows your name.” Here, though, it’s more like “where everybody knows what team you cheer for.” No matter who’s playing, there’s usually a sea of Vikings and Packers apparel. But we still wear our Bears shirts proudly.

Watching the Super Bowl game this year, I was cheering for the Falcons, since the Bears were nowhere in sight and since Atlanta represents the area we’ll be calling home after we move to Georgia next month. I plan to remain a Bears fan, but I’ll cheer for the Falcons whenever the two teams aren’t playing each other.

This year’s Super Bowl gave me a taste of what’s probably ahead, not just in sports but in life. Exhilarating highs and demoralizing lows. Broken records and stunning upsets.  Victory in some endeavors, and defeat in others.

As we pack up to move, I find myself thinking about intentions I’ve not yet fulfilled and dreams I’ve not yet achieved. But rather than lamenting the past, I’m looking forward eagerly to the future.

Because there’s always next year.

The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 9, 2017.
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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