Da Bears: How to be a Diehard Fan in Europe

I take every Thursday (but if you’re reading this in your email it’s already Friday) to share a brief story from the road. No message, no lesson, no direction in particular, just a fun little anecdote about our travels.

Today’s story is about what it took to catch the Bears games while we were in Europe.

Da Bears

I’m a diehard Bears fan, but although saying this next statement sounds funny, it’s true. One of the first things that came to mind after we rescheduled our trip to Europe was that September was the beginning of Bears season and we would be missing 3 games.

I’m not a diehard sports fan or even that big on watching TV at all so missing American television wasn’t a big deal, but the Bears, that’s a different story. Since the late 80’s I’ve only missed a handful of Bears games. I can specifically remember 2 that I missed, but it’s probably more around 5 games total. You could call me the Brett Favre of Bears fans, if it wasn’t for the whole texting of inappropriate photos stuff 😉

So with only 16 games a year, and the playoffs never a guarantee, missing 3 games was a big deal.

Action, Action

When our trip started we hit the ground running, hitting up London, Stonehenge and then Paris all within the first week. By Sunday we were situated in our hotel, loving Paris for its non-touristy-ness and just having a blast, but this didn’t mean I forgot about the Bears.

Sunday morning (Saturday night Chicago time), I Googled the game to see when it was on. I typed in Chicago Bears and got the overview result, just like this one. It said the game was at 7pm, so I quickly calculated what time a Sunday night game would show in Paris and it was 2am, so I put it in the back of my mind and we went about our day.

Then about 10pm (Paris time) rolls around, we had just gotten back to our hotel and Twitter was buzzing with Bears goal line offense complaints. I quickly realized what had happened. Google was too smart for my own good. I just missed the Bears game because Google (of course) knew I was in Paris and told me the local time of the game. It wasn’t a Sunday night game, it was a normal noon game, Chicago time (7pm Paris time). It’s one of those things that I knew Google did right, but I wasn’t thinking.

Oh well, I missed the game. And from the Twitter account it was a poor showing at that. But anyway I went ahead and checked the schedule for the next 2 games to plan ahead. The next game would be when we were in La Spezia, Italy. A normal noon game, so 7pm local time.

How to Watch the Bears in Europe

Now that I had the time down, I still didn’t know how I was going to actually watch the game. The hotel we were at in La Spezia was quite nice and had satellite TV so the first place I checked was of course there. They were showing 1 NFL game, but sadly not the Bears. So back to my buddy Google to find someone streaming it live.

Sure enough I found ATDHE.net. I have no idea what the domain name stands for but it linked up to someone streaming the game so at that moment ATDHE was my favorite site on the net.

So we sit on the bed, propped up the laptop and watched the entire game from the comfort of our Italian hotel room. The interesting part of it all was that there were no commercials. The stream was some sort of raw feed where we had a generic camera angle during commercials and could hear the commentators chatting about what someone was wearing. It was interesting.

Are You Ready For Some Football?

Anyway, on to the next game; the last game happening while we were in Europe and the very end of our trip. This final game was one that even casual Bears fans can’t miss. It was Bears versus Packers on Monday Night. Monday night football doesn’t air until 2am local time in Italy, which 4 hours before we were flying out and heading home, so it wasn’t ideal, but it’s Bears-Packers!

Initially we weren’t going to get a room for that final night. Since our flight was departing so early we figured we’d just get to the airport when we were getting tired, maybe nap in a chair, ideally catch the game in a sports bar, and then hop on the plane. Well once it came down to it we knew that that wasn’t the best idea. Instead we booked one night in what turned out to be an extremely cool, uber modern hotel and went to sleep early.

We ate at a local bar that had a free buffet at 6:30pm, walked back to the hotel around 8 or so and went right to sleep (well Marla can go right to sleep, I lied there for a couple hours before actually sleeping). We had a few hours of sleep behind us when the alarm started ringing at 2am. I am all but useless when I wake up in the morning, but I was up with a start knowing that the game was on.

I popped open the laptop, found the stream and was wide awake to watch. We were able to see the entire first half before we had to get outside for the shuttle to the airport.

When we got to the airport and got in line to check in (where’s the self check-in Italy?), I pulled out the laptop hoping for a signal. Although there was no free Wifi, they did have a pay for service. So once we got through the line, we found a spot to sit, paid the extremely affordable 3€ for an hour of access, and watched the Bears come out victorious in a real nail biter.

It was the perfect end to an excellent trip. Nothing like being halfway across the world and still being able to keep up with the Bears games. Oh Internet (and Google) how I love thee 🙂

It’s Thursday, it’s story day, tell us about something that happened to you in your travels. We hope to hear from you in the comments!