Summer has begun to heat up in Chicago, but our teams continue to toil in a frozen hell of losing. As we near the end of July, the city is exploding with indifference. It's gotten so bad that we annually count the days until Bears training camp. Yes, football practice.
But is it really all that bad? Yes. It's worse. How did we get here? Let's review.
Instead of folding up shop following Derrick Rose's annual knee injury, our Bulls—with a roster comprised mostly of NBA cannon fodder—eschewed a slow, forgivable descent to the basement of the Eastern Conference, opting instead to torture us with a nearly unwatchable appearance in the postseason. By the time the run-down Bulls were mercifully bounced by Washington in the first round, the team was almost unrecognizable. The usher from Section 321 was logging minutes at small forward, and the guy with the T-shirt gun was probably the best shooter on the team. The Bulls then came back for a second act in this summer of disappointment, failing to sign Carmelo Anthony.
After the Bulls were bounced, the Blackhawks had Chicago's undivided attention. All that stood between the then-defending champions and a repeat trip to the Stanley Cup Final was a Game 7 home tilt against Los Angeles. Although the Hawks jumped out to a two-goal lead, L.A. prevailed in an overtime stunner. One moment, city officials are mapping out another Grant Park celebration, and the next, grown men in Patrick Kane jerseys are crying hysterically into their rally towels.
As for baseball: It's after the All-Star break and neither of the city's teams have yet to register a 1.5 on the Who-Cares Scale. Wrigley Field is once again nothing more than a Wrigleyville bar with last-place baseball providing background noise. At this point, fans interested in watching terrible baseball in the neighborhood are better served checking out the batting cages at Sluggers.
Things aren't much better for the White Sox. Despite Jose Abreu and Chris Sale turning in stellar seasons, cotton candy vendors still outnumber fans at U.S. Cellular Field.
At the depth of their despair, sports fans in the city turned to soccer. Searching for a team to love them back, they packed Soldier Field to watch Team USA in the World Cup. They donned American flags, partook in jingoistic chants and pretended to understand what goes on during a soccer match. The result: more losing.
Now there is only one place to turn: Bourbonnais. Sure, events will begin in predictable fashion. Players, barely breaking a sweat, will go through the motions in shorts and T-shirts. Autograph-seeking adults, far sweatier, will trample one another to come within arm's reach of men half their age. And swarms of reporters will shove microphones in Jay Cutler's face with a desperation that would suggest he is on the verge of spitting out the cure for cancer.
But the fact remains: We need this. "Nothing can be won in training camp," dismissive fools will remark. They won't be wrong. But they will be overlooking a much more important truth: Nothing can be lost in training camp.
So grab your lawn chairs, pack your coolers and figure out where the hell Bourbonnais is, because a vacation from losing awaits. You've earned it, Chicago.
Tim Coffey is a RedEye special contributor.
BEARS TRAINING CAMP
Where: Olivet Nazarene University, Bourbonnais
When: There will be numerous practices that are open to the public from Friday through Aug. 12. For the complete schedule, visit chicagobears.com.
Keep in mind: On Aug. 2, the team will practice at 6:45 p.m. at Soldier Field.