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Embrace Chicago sports' dark side

November 14, 2012|By Ben Johnson | For RedEye

Winter has officially reared its ugly head.

Central Standard Time has robbed us of daylight, the NHL has removed all incentive to pretend to care about the Blackhawks in November, Derrick Rose is tirelessly rehabbing his singular gift for making the Bulls watchable, and the Bears have entered their traditional period of darkness in which Jay Cutler is injured.

We're on our own, now, Chicago. It's time to buy books and video games, and get excited because there's a sale on the big jug of the good whiskey. The bad times are starting, and so is Jason Campbell.

There is good news. Campbell is a perfect fit for the Bears at backup quarterback. He's a veteran "ball control" type of signal caller, one with years of experience from his stint with the Washington Redskins of calmly getting sacked behind a porous offensive line.

This is familiar territory for Bears fans. We're rooting for, at best, relatively nonviolent sacks on offense. The rest is as planned: a lunch-pail defense with a knack for turnovers, and special teams designed to ensure favorable field position for grinding slugfests. They're not pretty, but they're our Bears.

Remember this, Chicago: We are the city that works. Our teams reflect that in this dark stretch of early winter. They are fantastically ugly. Joakim Noah ugly. But they're here and they're going to work. Maybe that's for the best.

If our teams effortlessly dominated opponents like LeBron on a fast break or Peyton Manning running a two-minute drill, we might sigh about our lot in life as Chicagoans, crawl back into our beds and wait for the sweet mercy of spring. Instead we have ugly teams as a reminder that showing up in the face of grimly determined opposition can be as important as winning, if not more important.

Keep your head up, Chicago. It's ugly out there, but we can do this. We don't have a choice. We're not Miami. But: at least we're not Kansas City.

RedEye special contributor Ben Johnson is a comedian at iO Theater in Chicago.

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