Why I Love The 1985 Chicago Bears | Draft Day Suit

Why I Love The 1985 Chicago Bears

Our latest post in the Why I Love Series is by Katherine Stone.

I used to have a Mike Singletary t-shirt.  If you know me and my intense obsession with fashion, you’re probably pretty surprised to hear that. God, I loved that shirt. Singletary was a hero to me, with his intensity and singleness of purpose.  I wore that shirt all the time. I wish I still had that shirt. I’d wear it. I would.
My adoration of Singletary, and football in general, started in high school.  We lived in Chicago at the time, and my dad watched the Bears.  It just so happens that this was in the mid-80s.
Yep.  Those Bears.

I began watching games because I wanted to hang out with dad. I was a teenager. I was awkward and weird, and not at all sure how to connect with my father. I wasn’t exactly daddy’s little girl anymore. So I sat next to him on the couch and started watching him watching football. I saw how much he enjoyed it. How animated he was. How he yelled and screamed at the TV until he was hoarse. Before long, I was yelling and screaming too.

The Chicago Bears of 1985 were a great team for a young girl who was being introduced to the game. Full of personality and attitude. Jim McMahon and his crazy headband messages. (A precursor to Twitter, perhaps?) The Fridge. Walter Payton. It wasn’t just about great football. It was the fact that each person was so unique and had a story, a narrative. The smarty Gary Fencik. The ballet dancer Willie Gault. I fell in love with all of them, as did my dad.

We were joined together in our fandom, father and daughter. Sundays were fun, and became increasingly so as the Bears kept winning. I wasn’t hanging out in my room, alone. I was hanging out with dad, and I felt more and more connected to him as the season progressed.

And then? The Bears were going to the Super Bowl. It was like WE were going to the Super Bowl.

I immediately went and bought my very own 45 of the Super Bowl Shuffle. For those of you who aren’t old like me, a 45 is a small vinyl record that was played on something called, appropriately enough, a record player. (“I’m the punky QB known as McMahon …”) I listened to that thing over and over.

I wish I could recall more details of January 26, 1986. I’m sure my mom made her homemade potato skins. I’m almost positive I made onion dip, the kind created from a package of dry soup and sour cream. I know it was a full-day celebration, capped off by a glorious victory. I’m sure we danced and cheered and hugged, but I can’t see it in my mind’s eye any more.

I no longer have that Singletary t-shirt, or the Superbowl Shuffle record. The only thing I have left is my yellowed, tattered copy of the entire Chicago Tribune from the following day. I asked my dad if I could keep it, and he said “Sure.”

I don’t think I realized how much that team impacted my life until the day Walter Payton died. I was 29 years old, and when I heard the news I cried like a baby. Walter was amazing, that team was amazing, and the time I spent with my dad was amazing.

Football gave me something I could share with my father at a time when I thought we didn’t have anything in common at all. Thanks, Bears.


Katherine Stone is a nationally-recognized, award-winning peer advocate for women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  She created and writes Postpartum Progress, the most widely-read blog in the United States on postpartum depression and other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth.  Katherine is also BlogHer.com’s ongoing guest contributor for the topic of PPD, and her work has been featured on Mamapedia, Babble.com, the Huffington Post, NBC’s Todays Moms, ParentDish and PBS’ This Emotional Life.  You can find her on Twitter at @postpartumprogr.

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About the author
Goon Squad Sarah lives in the Washington D.C. suburbs and spends a lot of time obsessing about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Capitals, fantasy football, and explaining to her nine year old twins why we don't root for the Redskins in our house. Sarah is also a sucker for the Orlando Magic and the Washington Nationals. If you can't get enough of Sarah here you can also find her writing at Sarah and the Goon Squad, SNAFU Music, MamaPop or a myriad of other sites depending on the day. She also sits on the advisory board of Women Talk Sports. Sarah founded Draft Day Suit back in 2006.

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8 Replies to Why I Love The 1985 Chicago Bears

  1. ClumberKim says:

    Though my family in New England would disown me if they knew, I love Singletary too, but that needs to be our little secret.

    I connected with my dad through going to local college football games when I was 14 and 15. I didn’t know it at the time but he was dying. I wouldn’t trade those Saturday afternoons for anything.

    Thank you, Katherine. This is beautiful.

  2. Sarah says:

    My Dad and I bonded over sports when I got into the NBA then came home from college and none of my friends from home gave a crap about basketball.

    If only we had been rooting for a championship team.

    Beautifully written, Katherine. Thank you again.

  3. Rachel says:

    I came to love football because of the 1985 Chicago Bears as well – can totally relate!

  4. Delora says:

    If you were to change “Bears” to “Redskins” and fast-forward a couple years, you’d have my story. Beautifully written, and probably accurate for many football-loving girls.

  5. Katherine, so many memories here. The 1985 Bears were a huge part of my childhood too. I can picture the basement at my parents old house where we watched the game, surrounded by posters of our heroes given out by local car dealerships. We can bond over this the next time we see each other.

  6. Kristabella says:

    I could have written this. I was just learning about football in 1985 when the Bears went to the Super Bowl. I was 8 and in third grade and I will never forget how CONSUMED the entire city was with that team. We wrote essays about them in English class, sang the Super Bowl Shuffle in music class.

    My mom taught me about football. It was always me and her, watching the games. I learned to scream and yell for my Bears from my mom. And my earliest memories are from that magical 1985 season.

    In fact, I still secretly hope to marry Jim McMahon (even though he’s married) just as much now as a 33 year old, as I did as a kid.

  7. mrschaos says:

    I love this.

    My dad is a basektball guy…but still.

    So awesome.

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