CHICAGO – Life has the Schultz family trapped behind enemy lines for this weekend’s playoff game. Mother, father, daughter and son are Seahawks fans to the core, but living in Bears territory.
Their neighbors aren’t missing the opportunity to take advantage.
“The National Weather Service is predicting falling birds Sunday between 12 and 4, especially around Soldier Field,” a Facebook friend told Josh Schultz.
Josh, 33, was born and raised in Washington state. His wife Michelle, 34, moved to the Seattle area from Maine when she was 8. They met at Washington State University and married 10 years ago.
But before they met, they were already Seahawks fans.
“All my life,” says Michelle. “Watched them with my dad.”
Josh and Michelle admit they didn’t attend a lot of Seahawks games in person, but that doesn’t diminish their devotion to the team. They agree their favorite Seahawks memory was the 2005 NFC Championship Game.
“Growing up, we’d never had a championship team except for the Sonics. I don’t remember that, but it was so cool that our team could end up in the Super Bowl,” said Josh. “Just being on the edge of going to the big game was exciting.”
“It was the excitement. We had never been there and suddenly ‘Here we are,’” said Michelle
Josh and Michelle made the difficult decision in 2008 to move to the Chicago suburbs for Josh’s Information Technology career. In tow were 7-year-old Hailey and her 5-year-old brother, Brady.
“I miss Seattle,” said Hailey.
Brady isn’t shy about what he thinks Chicago needs to be a great place to live.
“Only if there were more Seahawks fans,” said Brady.
Another thing that made moving to Chicago tough was the debut of the Seattle Sounders FC. Josh, wearing his Sounders coat, says he was all ready to put his deposit down for season tickets in the inaugural season. That's when he and Michelle had to move.
“But we’ve gone to both games when they came out here to play the Chicago Fire,” said Josh.
Being in hostile territory this weekend makes things fun around the neighborhood. Josh says what makes it interesting is that many of his Bear-supporting neighbors are fair-weather fans.
“At the beginning of the season they were like ‘This is going to be a horrible team. (Head coach) Lovie Smith is going to get fired,’ and now they’re saying ‘this is best team ever’ and ‘we’re going to win the Super Bowl.’ We’re talking about the same season, right?,” said Josh.
“If we get blown out, it’s going to be a long off season. If we make it a game, I think they’ll give us some respect.”
Brady and Hailey seem pretty confident about who will win.
“I think Seahawks,” said Brady.
“I think so too,” said Hailey. “40 to 20.”
So, on Sunday, the Schultz family will be watching their old home town team play on the road in their new home town. If the Seahawks lose, Josh and Michelle seem ready to take their lumps.
But if the Seahawks win, and even make it to the Super Bowl, Josh and Michelle say their neighbors are invited to come watch the game, with a grin.
Follow Travis Pittman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tpittycoug