Bear dens not hard to find in ‘burbs

But it isn’t easy being a Chicago fan, not when everyone loves Manning

By Sheri Lunn
Special to Germantown & Collierville Appeal

February 4, 2007

“We’re ready!” said Dan Huss, of Germantown.

“We’ll be wearing our jerseys, coats and baseball caps. And the banner from 1985, the year we won, will be out”

Yes, Huss is a Chicago Bears fan. And the Bears are playing in the Super Bowl today.

Huss said he’ll spend the evening at home, where he’s sure everyone will be rooting for the same team. Well, except for his father-in-law, but he says
that’s understandable.

While Tennessee may be “Manning Country” creating a lot of local Indianapolis Colts fans today, you don’t have to look far to find Germantown and Collierville families with Chicago connections.

They are thrilled that their beloved Bears are getting another shot at the Super Bowl after a 21-year hiatus.

It’s not easy being a Bears fan in the Mid-South.”This is Colts Country,” Huss said. “Everybody wants Manning to win.”

At Party Access in Germantown blue horseshoes on white balloons, plates, centerpieces, mugs, and T-shirts overwhelm the Bears’ navy and orange.

“Almost everyone coming in is asking for anything Colts,” said Izabella Kucza, a cashier at store.” One lady said she wanted all we had for Peyton
Manning’s team.”

It was a Payton that many Bears fans grew up loving — Walter Payton. But 34 on navy and orange here, is more likely to be Bo Jackson’s Auburn jersey than the former Bears’ star.

The dilemma at the Ihrke household is that 8 year old Jack, a second-grader at Dogwood Elementary School, has both a Peyton Manning and Brian Urlacher jersey. Urlacher is the Bears’ star linebacker.

“The only time he took off his Urlacher jersey was to put on his Manning jersey during the Patriots game,” said Tom Ihrke of his son.

Ihrke, originally from Northbrook, Ill., is a die-hard Bears fan. He said it’s tough trying to follow the Bears from about 525 miles south of the Windy

“I think I’ve seen three Bears games on TV here in five years,” said Ihrke, of Germantown. “It’s either a Titans game or a Colts game. Now that (the Bears) have been playing well, they’ve put them on more.”

While Cindy and Mike Tipsord, of Germantown, may feel far from their Chicago roots, they say they’re lucky to have family still up north to send Chicago sports gear their way. A favorite aunt sent Bears T-shirts and caps to the couple and to their sons, Connor and Brandon.

“She did the same for us when the White Sox won,” said Cindy. “She can get all that stuff locally. We don’t have that luxury.”

And its not just Bears clothing that’s hot. Chicago food will be gobbled at Germantown and Collierville Super Bowl parties. Karen Cumings, of Collierville went online and ordered Italian beef sandwiches, hot
dogs, pizza and even Eli’s cheesecake, straight from the Windy City.

“I’m trying to make us feel at home by having all the authentic Chicago-style food, even down to my Jay’s potato chips,” said Cumings.

Editor’s note

In the interest of full disclosure: Freelance reporter Sheri Lunn’s own house in Germantown is hardly exempt from today’s Bears frenzy.

“Our home is tense with anticipation,” she says.

“Navy and orange streamers hang from the light fixture in the family room.

“The fight song blares from speakers on the kitchen counter.

“The kids are drawing “C’s” and taping them to the walls.”