Growing Up Football

It began on Jan. 26, 1985, in the basement of a central Illinois home. Kevin Schultz, a 6 year old at the time, watched the Chicago Bears beat the New England Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX with his family. 

Inspired by the Bears’ victory, Schultz made the life-long commitment to support the team.

“The excitement that there was when the Bears won has stuck with me,” Shultz said.

Even though the Bears haven’t won a Super Bowl since the 1985 season, Shultz said he still follows the team, even if they are not the best. 

Sports teams allow friends, family and fans to come together, celebrate and bond for a common cause. They create unforgettable moments that bring communities together.

Shultz said the Bears’ gritty culture as “Monsters of the Midway” and their success drew him in as a kid and stuck with him as an adult.

“I don’t want to let go of those memories and that team,” Schultz said. “You want to have hope that they can get back to where they used to be.”

While Schultz’s love for his team began before Jillian Cole, senior, was even born, she said her love for the Kansas City Chiefs has been a family love passed down over generations.

Cole’s father grew up near Kansas City, and the family returns every year to watch a game together, usually the home opener. Cole said her favorite part of the team is how they interact with their fans.

“They always make sure to interact with the people that are there and talk to them or hang out with them before the game,” Cole said.

Though a firm understanding of the game really began to take root around age 8, Cole said every year, watching the team with her family, has continued to advance her knowledge and love for the game and the atmosphere it creates.

“Getting together every year is a memory, bonding with my parents,” Cole said.

Rob Durham, language arts teacher, similarly remembers having sports be a large part of his life. He has been watching the Ohio State University Buckeyes since at age 3 he heard his dad yelling at the television.

Durham attended Ohio State University and moved from Ohio to St. Louis in 2005. He said he often gets congratulated for the success of the team and is amused at the way it feels like the success is attributed to him, despite having been too small to play football at the university himself.

“It’s my identity,” Durham said. “It’s like a religion that nobody else around here has.”

Durham said nostalgia plays a big role in his passion. He said his closest friends all attended Ohio State University with him and taking road trips and texting during the matches makes him feel young.

With such dedication also comes a dominating force in his life, however. Durham said his passion also brings worry in regards to the success of the team, and he has lost a lot of sleep worrying about the success of the team.

“I’m not proud of the amount of anxiety it gives me,” Durham said. “You try not to let it affect the rest of your personal life.”

Durham said he knows he will always receive harassment from fellow staff members and students following a tough loss from the team, but that the larger community it fosters is more important.

“There’s always gonna be ups and downs, but try not to over-do it,” Durham said.