Bears Fan Comes to His Senses, Temporarily

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Jim Schuman, a lifelong fan of the Chicago Bears, switched sides in the Bear-Packer rivalry. At least for one day. Schuman ran the Boston Marathon wearing green-and-gold from head-to-toe. When he was done, declared: “I looked like the biggest tool.”

A bit rich coming from a Bears fan, I know.

Actually, Schuman wore Packer gear to raise an additional $2000 (on top of $7000 from other sources) for Homes for Our Troops — a fantastic charity that provides living assistance for wounded veterans. Schuman had been a freshman in college in 1985, the last time the lowly Bears won the Super Bowl, and in news that won’t surprise Packer fans, talked about the victory incessantly. So when he asked his former roommates, both from Wisconsin, to support his fundraising, they agreed to do so, conditionally: He must wear Packer gear.

“You must also pledge that in no way will you display said Packer merchandise in a demeaning or derogatory way,” wrote Jim Wallerius, one of the former roommates, in an e-mail before the marathon.

Wallerius — whose family has had Packers season tickets since 1965, whose middle name is Vincent for legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, and whose mom went into labor with him at Lambeau Field and stayed until the end of the game — said he thought about just donating the money to his friend’s charitable cause.

“Then, the devil appeared on the other shoulder and said . . . ‘He’s still a Bears fan,’ ” Wallerius said.

During the marathon, Schuman was cheered by Packer fans.

“I would smile at them,” he said. “It was one of those compromising smiles, like you know you’re doing something that’s wrong.”

He was also heckled by Bears fans.

“When people would yell, ‘Go Bears,’ I was actually happy,” he said.

“Hopefully they’ll understand and forgive me at some point in time.”

I’m sure they will. And because it was for such a great cause, we’ll forgive you for your lifelong devotion to mediocrity. The whole story is here.

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