Being optimistic when things look bleak

August 4th, 2008 - 5:28 pm

Those who know me best understand I’m not a pessimist. In fact, I sooner can be mistaken as overly optimistic than pessimistic. I try to look for the good in every situation almost to a fault.

I steadfastly stood behind Cedric Benson, giving him every opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong. Did I truly believe he was worth a first round pick? No.

I remain confident that Rex Grossman is the best quarterback the Bears have had since Erik Kramer in 1995. Does that mean he’s a top quarterback in the league? No.

And I’m willing to give Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith every benefit of the doubt until their careers are over in Chicago.

And why am I being so lenient with underachievers and questionable front office decisions? Simply put: it just doesn’t make sense to boo.

Fans pay high ticket prices and buy jerseys and other overpriced paraphernalia, so it’s within their legitimate right to voice their displeasure any time they choose.

But, honestly… booing your own players — as in the case of Grossman — does nothing more than make your voice hoarse. Do you sincerely believe that your opinion will have any sway in the decisions that Angelo makes? If you do, you’re even more naïve than I am optimistic.

With all that said, it’s time for me to do a little bit of roleplaying. I’m going to play the part of devil’s advocate and question why we Bears fans should be optimistic about this season. Here goes:

How will the Bears possibly be doing anything but rebuilding this season when…

…there’s an ongoing quarterback competition between two #2 quarterbacks who, in a battle to see who can be most consistent, have been anything but?

…there’s an unproven, Conference USA rookie running back getting the starting job?

…our 14th-overall draft pick — who’s supposed to be the savior at the all-important left tackle position — hurt himself in the first practice of training camp and has missed nearly two weeks?

…there’s a rotating competition for the left guard spot between an undersized tweener (Josh Beekman), a swing tackle (John St. Clair), and an overpaid career-backup (Terrence Metcalf), who lost his job to St. Clair last year?

…the wide receiver corps, while deep, is full of No. 2s, 3s, and 4s with no clear No. 1?

…the two steadiest offensive weapons are both tight ends?

Phew, got that out of the system. I’m sure it was as hard for your to stomach it as it was for me to write it.

So, does all of this mean I’m going to boycott the season or send angry hate mail to Jerry Angelo, or sit in the cheap seats at Soldier Field and boo every time Grossman or Orton throws an incompletion, or worse, an interception?

Nope. I’m going to be right there on opening day with dreams and aspirations of a division title and a playoff berth.

Foolishly optimistic? Perhaps. But for me, that’s the only way to go.