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So long, dignity: Sports bets put it all on the line

  • Landon and Candice Whetsel of Bolingbrook put their dignity on the line often. Landon, a Packers fan, had to wear a skirt after one bet he lost, and Candice, a Bears fan, had to hand out candy canes in Green Bay gear another time.
Landon and Candice Whetsel of Bolingbrook put their dignity on the line… (Joe Rondone / For RedEye )
December 26, 2013|By Gwendolyn Purdom | For RedEye

For any real Bears fan, the thought of donning green and gold and yelling "Go Packers!" on a crowded corner is downright revolting. But when you're on the losing end of a bet, anything is possible.

Boston mayor Thomas Menino paid up on a Stanley Cup wager with Rahm Emanuel in October, posting a celebratory Blackhawks video on his city's website and sending along some local treats. In November, a Tinley Park man reportedly used a Taser on his wife after winning a Bears-Packers bet.

And according to Matthew Berry, author of "Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who's Lived It," stakes can get far crazier. Berry's seen losers tattooed with designs of the winner's choosing; low scorers taking shots of whatever's in the fridge; and whole fantasy leagues armed with paintball guns hunting a last-place finisher dressed as a lion.

"Anytime you get a group of people together and there's a competitive situation, that's going to lead to trash talk, and trash talk leads to bets and bets lead to embarrassing acts," Berry says.

M-Rahm's hardly the only Chicagon to get creative when it comes to bets—and we've found the stories to prove it.

THE EXTREME MAKEOVER

Serita Edwards, 34, South Side

Serita Edwards was so sure her Packers would beat the Bears in their first matchup this season that she upped the ante in an earlier bet she'd made with a friend. Instead of just making her friend shave a Green Bay "G" into his chest hair if the Bears lost, Edwards offered to let him shave her head if the Packers flopped. The Bears nabbed a 27-20 victory.

"The last two minutes, that's when I realized we were not going to win and I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, I'm about to be bald-headed for real,'" Edwards said.

Sticking to her word, Edwards was sheared in the bar immediately after the game ended. All to a swell of applause captured on YouTube.

Though she admits her own mother didn't recognize her afterward, Edwards said the experience hasn't deterred her fandom.

"Next time I won't go to the extreme," she said. "I'll do something like paint my nails."

THE ROMANTIC RIVALS

Molly Creek and Joe Ferrari, both 23, Gold Coast

After making queso for Week 2 of the NFL season, Molly Creek and her boyfriend, Joe Ferrari, die-hard Denver Broncos and Bears fans, respectively, forgot it in the fridge. Weeks later, when the couple realized what had been congealing, neither wanted to clean the container.

They then agreed if the Broncos make it to this year's Super Bowl, Ferrari will be on cleanup duty. If not, it will be Creek's responsibility. Three months later, with the Broncos sporting the best record in the AFC, Creek is still confident she won't be doing disgusting dishes come February.

"We looked at [the queso] the other day, though we didn't take the lid off it," Creek said. "But we can see it's not moldy or anything, which is questionable, but it's probably petrified."

Candice and Landon Whetsel, 29 and 32, Bolingbrook

Household chores are the sort of terms Candice Whetsel likes to wager on when she and husband, Landon, are gambling. But Landon prefers more public punishments.

The couple, who got engaged at a 2007 Bears-Packers game and included vows to "put everything aside and still be husband and wife at the end of the day … no matter how Purdue, Butler, the Packers, the Bears, the Phillies, or the Cubs do," at their 2009 wedding, are committed to outlandish sports bets as well as each other.

Candice had to wear a Phillies jersey to a Cubs-Phillies game after one loss; run bikini-clad laps in December; and dress in Packers paraphernalia holding a "My husband was right" sign while handing out candy canes to skeptical Chicago passersby.

Landon, for his part, spent his first Thanksgiving with Candice's family of Bears fans in a Chicago jersey and a skirt.

"It wasn't bad except for the fact that her little cousin who was probably 5 or 6 asked me if I was also wearing a bra," Landon says.

Getting married took such wagers to a new level, but the two have always been game for a little friendly competition.

"There are a few things in life you can't do," Landon says, "and one of them is welch on a bet."

THE BADGE OF DISHONOR

Sam Danile, 33, West Town

While members of Sam Danile's fantasy football league are eager to win the coveted unicorn trophy that goes to the annual league winner, they're also trying desperately not to place last. That's because whoever loses "wins" the Balls in the Basement award, a doctored volleyball trophy whose figurine is spiking, well, a pair of dangling plastic testicles, surrounded by other phallic décor from one player's wife's bachelorette party.

"We've all known each other since we were teenagers so we're just insanely mean. Anytime we can screw one of the other players over, we do," said Danile, who kept the Balls trophy on his mantle when he bottomed out in the league's first season. "Having something you can point at and say, 'See, you lost to me' makes it that much more fun."

The league requires the loser display said trophy in both his home and in any social media profile picture. And that's not all: In the offseason, if he's ever found without those plastic danglers on him, he's penalized a draft pick next season.

Gwendolyn Purdom is a RedEye special contributor.

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