Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Packers and Bears

I did not take this photo. It is however, awesome!

You may wonder if I'm really sincere about moving to Chicago since I have so very strongly drawn a line in the sand that I will never cross when it comes to the age old rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. I am, a Packers fan. WHAT? How could this be true? Doesn't she claim to love Gary Sinise? Doesn't she claim to be moving to the Windy City? Well, it is true - and where I am not quite the Cheesehead that my Baby Boy is, there is a valid and unwaivering reason. He is standing in a picture on this blog. His name (forever) is Reggie White.

Reggie was actually born on the very day that I was due. I do find that fact to be interesting. It was as if we had a connection way back then, but didn't know it. I wouldn't know of our connection for about 24 more years in fact, somewhere between my twenty-fourth birthday of November 22, and his twenty-fourth of December 19, 1985. On a particular Sunday I remember sitting in my livingroom on the floor wrapping Christmas presents and just rubbing the rounder than round belly stretched out before me. I had already found out that my belly contained a boy, and I had in fact already named my son Reuben. Reuben literally means "It's a Boy" and if you think I was crazy for naming my son Boy, know also that my father, his father, his father, his father, and his father were all named Reuben, my son is number 17.

I remember watching Reggie play for the Eagles and I saw him kneeling in prayer. I was at a very low moment in my life, in my faith, and I needed to see this huge monster of a player bending his knee to a God that I had often ignored but knew I belonged to. I cried. Then I spoke outloud to the TV set and I said to God (Who I am more than positive was listening) "God, there! Make my son like that man. That man right there! I want my son Reuben to be another Reggie White!" That was of course before I had given birth, before another Sunday in 2002, when my son would stand beside and pray hand-in-hand with the greatest man to ever walk upon a gridiron.

As time wore on, as Reuben grew up, he would be faced with some very daunting and critical times. He became the man of the house at a very young age. He was 11 when the Packers lost the Super Bowl to the Broncos and Reuben was punished by his adopted father for crying. He was indeed placed into a wooden hope chest and nearly suffocated. Had he not passed out for lack of oxygen he could have suffered a stroke. God was with my son that day. When I was able to rescue him Reuben told me that he thought of what Reggie would do, what Reggie would say to my former spouse for his actions. I asked Reuben to remember that power, that desire to live, that drive and his personal faith because Reggie would later tell Reuben face to face that he would have prayed, and when he got out, he would have rejoiced.

When we received a phone call from a personal friend of Reggie's telling us that our favorite pastor and player had passed away, I remember the tears of my son freely rolling off his face to the ground without any shame. The years Reuben followed Reggie's advise on the field and at home were monumental - and he still tells people today that Reggie reminded him in 2002 that he SHOULD be a Momma's Boy, because Momma loved him more than anyone on the Earth, but to be a Man of God. This advise was etched in ink into Reuben's right bicep just after Reggie's passing. The #92 on his arm stands for so many things told, and untold. Honor and love don't even touch it.

So, there really isn't a choice for me - just a dedication. I love Da Bears! I want them to do well, very well, but not against my Packers. Bring on the game! Bring on the "love", I'll be sure to tune my ear up to the North this weekend to hear a little screaming going on up in the land of the Midnight Sun, as Reuben and his Army brothers (possibly a few Momma's Boys among them) jab and punch each other with every single down - this is the Packers and the Bears afterall...the greatest game to be played...ever!

I think the City of Chicago will forgive me.

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