My dad stayed over last night because he had a morning flight out of LAX today. He wanted to see the Bears game, and since f****** DirecTV is incompetent, I'm still without any television programming. So I took him to Over/Under, the closest sports bar that Dave and I have been able to locate near our apartment.
Neither my dad nor I have seen a single Bears game this season. Going to see a game with him brought me back to my childhood. My dad became a sports fan in the early 80's, when he and I followed the Cubs, and we became Bears fans in 84, a year before they became Super Bowl champs. It's still one of those pieces of Americana which we can bond over, and that's one of the reasons I took him to a dive of a sports bar, the first time I've ever taken him to one, and probably the first time he's ever set foot in one.
Being with my dad must have accentuated my youth, because I was carded there for the first time. My dad asked how this all worked.
"Do we have to buy a beer?"
"Yeah, we probably should," I replied. He ordered a Bud Light, and I ordered a Red Hook. After a few sips of his Bud Light, I asked if he wanted to try a different beer.
"No," he said, "I can't really drink. After just this little bit, I already feel a bit..." [he pointed at his head and drew a few circles in the air]. That's the thing about me versus my dad. Relative to him, I'm always going to be an idiot (I can't decipher a single line of his PhD thesis) and a drunkard.
By the time we sat down, the Bears were already down 7-0. Several Cardinals fans (or they may have just been general underdog supporters) crowded the bar.
First half of Bears football I saw all season, and wouldn't you know it, they played their worst half of the year. The difference between football and baseball, for example, is that a football box score can be much more deceptive than a baseball box score. I can generally envision how a baseball game unfolded by the box score, what with its series of discrete confrontations between batter and pitcher/defense, but a football box score can only summarize with very broad brush strokes the quality of a game.
Some things I saw in the first half reminded me of the nightmare that was the last Bears game I watched, the loss to Carolina in the playoffs last year. Rex Grossman still makes terrible risk/reward decisions when under pressure. He just plain wilts and throws terrible passes and interceptions. The Bears offensive line is just average. I suspect one main reason the Bears haven't run the ball all that well this year is that their O-line is not as good as it was last year. They also let the Cardinals' ends through with regularity, leading directly to the two Grossman fumbles.
Lastly, and this still haunts me from that playoff game against the Panthers, the Bears defense doesn't seem to be able to adjust mid-game when the opposing team uncovers a hole in its Cover-2. Last year it was Steve Smith continuing to beat the Bears all game because he was either single-covered or the over the top help was soft. The next game, the Seahawks double or triple-covered Smith all game and contained the Panthers offense. In this game, the Cardinals receivers kept running to seams in the zone defense and sitting there, giving Leinart stationary targets to hit. It happened all half, and the Bears defense would not change. It drove me nuts.
At halftime, I left for my evening class, and my dad, disgusted, went back to my apartment. Of course, the Bears came back and won, and my dad and I missed it all. But we shared a beer together, happy hour pricing, and so the night wasn't a total loss.