But I’ve grown weary of all this hostility. That is why, two weeks before the 2013 season opened (fittingly, it ends in late December with a Bears-Packers contest in Chicago), I find myself at Packers training camp, ready to make peace. I vow to no longer ridicule Packers fans’ eat-until-you-burst Friday-night fish fries, to not snicker when they speak glowingly of curling as an actual sport, to refrain from muttering “and bring a small plate of coronary disease” when I overhear them ordering the jumbo fried sampler platter for breakfast.
Now You Know: The Bears opened the 2006 season with a 26-0 win over the Packers, giving quarterback Brett Favre the only shutout loss of his career.
And even though my allegiance will always be to Da Bears, I wonder if a few days surrounded by everything Packers can make me root for the team. Just a little bit.
Cheryl Dorner certainly thinks so. A 41-year employee — and now manager — of the legendary Kroll’s West restaurant, just a chip-shot field goal from Lambeau, Cheryl relishes the Bears/Packers rivalry.
“We like the Bears fans,” she says. “In the past 15 or 20 years, they’ve become our buddies.”
To prove her point, Cheryl happily introduces me to a six-person crew of retirees and Kroll’s regulars, comfortably ensconced at one end of the restaurant’s massive bar at 3 p.m. on a Monday. Led by a man who identifies himself as “Junkyard Dog” Jim, the group has been cheering on the Packers for more than 400 years combined.