Column: Feel my pain

By Nathan Grimm

There are some phenomena in this world that are unexplainable.

Stonehenge. The Leaning Tower of Pisa. Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance.

This Sunday, the Bears solidified their place as the eighth wonder of the world. And the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth, also.

On Sunday afternoon, the Bears achieved their fifth win, and also extended their winning streak to four. Nostradamus predicted this day, now I’m just waiting for the world to explode.

Living in Champaign, the southernmost suburb of Chicago, it’s hard to escape the Bears. They’re on every Sunday. With baseball, it’s a battle of Cubs versus White Sox for the love of Chicagoans. When it comes to football, there’s no alternative; either you’re a Bears fan or you’ve found some other form of self-inflicted pain.

Thus, sitting down on a Sunday, my options are limited. It’s “Sex and the City” marathons or two Tylenol and the Bears. What’s that? Saints vs. Bears? Better make that four Tylenol.

I don’t mean to be negative, but there’s one question that’s been on my mind for a while now: How is this team winning?

In analyzing the Bears’ 5-3 record, it’s important to note the scores: 10-6. 19-13. 20-17. Their past three wins have been by a combined 13 points. Even the statistic makes me yawn.

The eternal Bears optimist will credit the tight wins to solid defense and ball control. I credit them to a wager made before each game to see which team can actually be more futile.

When Rex Grossman went down in the preseason – an event about as shocking as a Terrell Owens sound byte – the media wrote off the 2005 Bears. But the Bears inserted rookie Kyle Orton, fresh off his reign as Purdue’s savior, and relied on Thomas Jones to propel the offense. Unfortunately for Orton, he doesn’t get to face the Big Ten cellar dwellers anymore – Indiana, of course.

As expected, the team got off to a slow start. After a 24-7 setback against the Cincinnati Bengals that dropped the Bears to 1-2, the catch phrase among announcers became, “…and then Kyle Orton threw five interceptions.”

They then blew a late lead against the Cleveland Browns to fall to 1-3. Easily the low point of the season, the team could have forfeited the rest of its games and talked to the Vikings about package deals on cruise ships.

Instead, to my dismay, they kept playing. And they started winning. The defense stepped up, Jones took the team on his shoulders and Orton made few enough mistakes to keep the team above water.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing personally against the Bears. I do, however, enjoy blood flowing to my head. And nine out of 10 doctors agree the best way to slow your resting heart rate is to watch the Chicago Bears’ offense.

The team is winning, and for Chicago fans, that’s the bottom line. By three or 30, a win is always still a win. And a 5-3 record gets you to the top of the NFC North, no matter how entertaining. But as a sports fan, I’d frankly rather be watching bowling.

Sunday night, a friend asked me what I thought I’d write about this week. When I said I was thinking about the Bears, she summed it up perfectly.

“Your writing is boring me lately,” she said. “Snooze.”

I guess she caught the game on Sunday, too.

Nathan Grimm is a sophomore in ALS. He can be reached at [email protected]