Monday, October 6, 2008
A Loose Bear in Packer Country-Life After Retirement
By Ken Lumpkin
By Ken Lumpkin
Each year Calvin E Bailey waits impatiently for football seasons to arrive. The football season for him start before the first ball is kicked off. Each year he and his wife would make it an annual routine to attend “The Bears” family day training camp. Now after retiring from Chrysler after working 30 years, he and his two grandsons, Calvin C. Bailey, 15, and James Foster III, 4, also fans of the Bears, share the experience together.
Bailey moved to Racine in 1964 and relatives were all over him after learning that he was a die-hard Chicago Bear fan. “The Bears is the only team I knew. One of my friends father played for the Bears and they kind of pushed it and I really became a Bear fan then,” he explained.
He admits that some of the excitement surrounding the rivalries between the Packer and Bears has been diminished since Hall of Fame bound Brett Favre was traded to the New York Jets. “It seems when we got to the point of beating the Packers regularly, Favre asked to be traded. I wish he would have stayed around so we could beat up on him more.”
He said that football has changed over the past 40 years. The most glaring example is the emerging of the Black quarterback and coaches. Lovie Smith, who is entering his fifth season as the Bears head coach is among this new breed of African American coaches which is racking up unbelievable feat. Smith set forth with three stated goals when he was hired as the 13th head coach in Chicago Bears history on January 15, 2004: end the decade of dominance by the Green Bay Packers over the Bears, capture the NFC North Division for Chicago and win the Super Bowl.
Bailey says looking back people can recognize the talent was always there. „I feel that with the number of Black players, I’m sure some of them coud have made good coaches.
There are now about 17 African American quarterbacks on the NFL rousters, and Bailey credits Waren Moon for opening up the league for minorities quarterbacks. They wanted Moon to be a wide receiver out of college and he said no, I want to be a quarterback,“ he remembered Moon saying. „Playing in Candan, he show that he was a great player and the NFL later drafted him to play in League,“he adds.
These days Bailey spends a great deal of his time in his garden and fishing. He says that his retirement now gives him additional time to work around Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, which he has been a member since its beginning 14 years ago.
Bailey said that he has a message to any young person who wants to get ahead in life, “work hard,” he said. “If you want something in life, you have to to get out there and work to get it. You can’t just stand on the corner and expect someone to come by and give it to you.”
But first he says he telsl young people to stay in school and study. “It’s the foundation for their future,“ he said.