Article: Geneva Bears fan cautiously optimistic for season

• Originally published in the Kane County Chronicle on Sept. 10, 2010

GENEVA – Greg Lower, 33, of Geneva, has been a Bears fan all his life. He has a chocolate Lab named Urlacher (after linebacker Brian Urlacher, of course) and another dog named Rex (which, with tremendous reluctance, he’ll admit was named after former quarterback Rex Grossman).

He’s been a season ticket holder for nine years and keeps the ticket stubs from every game. He has watched 80 games in person since 2000. He grew up outside of Atlanta, but was raised a Bears fan in the South thanks to his parents. Lower and Urlacher met Kane County Chronicle editor Joe Grace recently at Wheeler Park in Geneva.

You grew up a Bears fan in the South. Did you ever think of rooting for the Atlanta Falcons?

Not once. When the Bears played in Atlanta, my parents and I went to the game and rooted for the Bears.

What’s your earliest memory of being a Bears fan?

My earliest memories are of not being able to stay up for the Monday Night Football games when I was a kid, falling asleep during the second half. My dad would always leave the score on the kitchen table for me when I woke up and my day would depend on what that note said. I’d be devastated all day if they lost.

Was there ever any doubt when you named Urlacher nine years ago?

It was between Urlacher and Mike Brown, but it wasn’t a tough decision.

How do you think the Bears will do this season?

I’m always an optimist, but I’m cautiously optimistic. They’ve got to prove themselves after the preseason. And the offensive line scares me. I’m excited, though, because I’ll be at the game Sunday.

What’s the typical gear you bring with you for tailgating when you go to a Bears game?

The grill, a Bears table and the portable bonfire for colder days. Lots of food. Sometimes we eat breakfast and lunch there. And plenty of Coors Light.

What’s the typical gear you wear at a Bears game?

I have an Urlacher jersey and a Cutler jersey and I alternate them.

What will be the Bears’ final record this season?

My heart wants me to say 9-7, but my head is telling me 7-9.

Who is your favorite current Bears player?

Lance Briggs.

Who is your favorite all-time Bears player?

Walter Payton. Growing up, our family dog’s name was Walter. My brother and I are keeping the tradition alive. (Lower’s brother named Rex.)

Which of the lesser-known Bears do you think is ready for a big season?

I think Johnny Knox is going to have a big year. He’s due for a breakout season.

Which team is your most-hated team?

The Minnesota Vikings. They’re neck-and-neck with the Packers, but I respect the Packers fans. They treat Bears fans well. I’d lean toward the Vikings. (Lower’s Bears-loving parents now live in Green Bay, as well.)

Are you on Team Cutler?

I kind of have to be.

Are you on Team Lovie?

I’m not on Team Lovie. I’m ready for a change in the regime.

What was the most memorable game you ever went to?

The game against the Seahawks (before the 2006 NFC Championship Game). Robbie Gould kicked the game-winning field goal in the end zone we were sitting in. That was the most excited I’ve been for a Bears win.

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