August Back Page: Hope springs its eternal leak
BY BRUCE STEINBERG
Appearing in my copy of the June 11, 2018, issue of the Chicago Daily Herald, Greg Gabriel, in his Pro Football Weekly column, wrote this about the Chicago Bears prospect for the upcoming regular football season: “First off, the talent level of the team is the best that it has been since at least 2010, when the Bears were playoff contenders.” While there were caveats, such as holes remaining to be filled, and tough offensive plans to learn, he also wrote that the Bears’ offense would be explosive, capable of putting a lot of points on the board.
Then again, a year before, June 15, 2017, Chicago Daily Herald sports writer Bob LeGere wrote this about the Bears and that upcoming season: “Coach John Fox characterized the competition in the Bears’ just-completed off-season program as the best in his three years at the helm, and he anticipates that trend continuing when players report for training camp on July 26.”
And we all know how the Bears’ 2017/2018 season went. (For Packers fans, I will remind you so you can re-live your unbridled joy of the Bears’ past-season numbers: 5 wins, 11 losses, goodbye starting QB, so long head coach).
I get it that, for the sake of selling tickets and media commercial advertisement, the team would be foolish to say, “You know, there’s assuredly no hope for breaking even this year, let alone making the playoffs, because really, we’re going to be more than kind of sucky this year.” Still, honesty would be a little refreshing, instead of the trite and untrue, “It’s an exciting rebuilding season for us this year, like the previous six years,” or “We’re installing a new and explosive game plan for the offense and defense this year, to replace last year’s new and explosive game plans,” or “The additional stadium parking spots will be really kick-butt this year,” all of which translate into the first, more-than-kind-of-sucky sort of honesty starting this paragraph.
And please don’t get me started about the 2018 winter hype over the 2018 White Sox!
The confession, though, is — what about the rest of us? I mean, if putting goals into action were as easy and assured as making them, I’d be competing in the Birkie’s elite wave, breaking the 90-minute half marathon barrier, playing classical guitar as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and scrubbing my laundry over my rocky-as-rapids, 8-pack abs. Now, if only other things wouldn’t get in the way, such as how incredibly good fire-toasted s’mores taste, I’d be golden.
It’s not that some goals haven’t been met, beyond the “Congratulations, You Finished!” trophy, or the “Congratulations, You Got Out Of Bed In Time For the Start,” trophy. And really, it’s not as though I sell tickets to rabid fans to watch me do my thing in an often-taxpayer-funded stadium, or charge advertisers for logo-placing space-time on my race shirt and shorts … although my prices are reasonable!
Still, it is so easy to make the determined goal 10 months before the race than to carry it out until race day. I can say, “Hey, I’ve got a new, explosive push-off plan for my offensive skate skiing technique this year,” or that “I expect the positive and speedy trend to continue with better waxing and bootheel inserts.” But by race day, I’m left a bit lamenting at the starting line about the hours of training I missed in favor of watching HGTV home improvement shows, waiting for at least one of the guest home buyers to tell Chip and Joanne, or David and Hillary, “Can we have our money back? Now!”
The morning I’m writing this, I’ve read newspaper accounts about the great draft prospects the Chicago Bulls will have for their team roster, and certain-to-be-terrific upcoming season. In kind, for me, I’ve envisioned my new kayaking exploits and return to the Birkie scene, with visions of promised results that, being so far away, feel so true.
As well, too, inspired by episodes on HGTV, I’ve got a fabulous new deck and gazebo, impeccably designed and the envy of the neighborhood, with dazzling water features, all planned out, with eternal hope for next spring’s construction.
As with the upcoming season for the Bears, Bulls and laundry-washing on 8-pack abs, one can hear the HGTV chorus singing already—