Vintage Chicago Tribune: The Bears of the Summer: Revisiting Memorable Moments from Past Training Camps

Chicago Bears training camp started this week, which means summer is over, Chicago.

Well, for my family, anyway.

This is the tenth season my husband, Patrick Finley, has covered the Bears for the Chicago Sun-Times and his ninth training camp. If he’s familiar with the local sportswriters, he’s the one who believes zero chicken drawings which represent key moments when the media cannot take pictures during practice.

His first experience in a training camp in 2013 (or three head coaches ago) was similar to that of the players: the days started early and continued under the relentless sun, followed by uncomfortable nights trying to sleep in an extra-long double bed. in a bedroom. at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. As photographers captured players dragging toilet paper, giant televisions, and even massage chairs To her temporary quarters, Pat brought a newly purchased mini-fridge for her space, just like her freshman year at the University of Missouri.

Through the decades, the home of Bears training camp he has changed with the times, even taking the team to Indiana and Wisconsin.

This is the second season the Bears have stayed home to practice in their recent expanded and remodeled headquarters in the Lake Forest. Instead of dorms, players live at home or in hotel rooms near Halas Hall. While our son and I enjoy that Pat now comes home every night during camp, I think Pat misses the camaraderie that only comes when reporters, tired from a day of capturing, editing, and submitting their thoughts on all notable things, are away from their families. for days or weeks, but he is looking for someone to have dinner or a beer with.

Those bonds forged during training camp continue throughout the season when team practice and game schedules take precedence over birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. That’s why it’s bittersweet to start another cycle without two members of this hodgepodge of fraternities: Jeff Dickerson Y John “Luna” Mullin.

Still, training camp also combines the excitement and possibility of what could happen for the Bears this NFL season. And that’s why I wanted to bring out some of that electricity, humor and optimism found in camp moments from decades ago and more recent.

I hope these memories from the Tribune archives rekindle the joy that comes with fresh starts and fresh starts, even if you’re not a Bears fan or reporter.

Now is a good time to subscribe to the Tribune. it’s just $12 for a 1-year digital subscription.

Thank you for reading. See you next week! Overcome!

β€” Kori Rumore, Visual Reporter

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Relive the highlights of training camps from 1940 onwards. See more photos here.

“It’s 9:30. Time of truth. The flashy car, the newspaper clippings, the accolades from a college coach, all of that doesn’t help now. Practice is a time to sweat intelligently, so that the head knows what to do and the body to be able to do it. It is a time when jobs are won and lost,” a longtime Tribune reporter. Charles Leroux wrote about the first day of the Bears’ training camp at Lake Forest College in 1975. read more here.

Payton paid $400 an hour for the hour and 20-minute ride to Platteville, Wisconsin, and had to buy round-trip travel.

“It was the only way I could get here fast enough without getting a ticket,” he said.

Payton had been “involved in litigation in Chicago with his restaurants,” the Tribune reported, causing him to miss the first two days of camp. read more here.

“I just kept cutting and cutting and it just kept getting worse and worse,” he said. read more here.

The Bears broke camp to play in the inaugural American Bowl at London’s Wembley Stadium against the Dallas Cowboys. Although the game didn’t generate many headlines in the local papers, the Bears’ defensive tackle did.

“Reporters considered and analyzed everything from her dietary habits to her love life,” the Tribune reported. read more here.

A year earlier, the Bears quarterback arrived in Bourbonnais driving a Cadillac Escalade. read more here.

vintage chicago grandstand

vintage chicago grandstand


The Vintage Tribune newsletter is a deep dive into the Chicago Tribune archives featuring photos and stories about the people, places and events that shape the city’s past, present and future.

From televisions to toilet paper and a guitar. See more photos here.

β€œThe cupping seems to have increased in popularity since the body of the American swimmer Michael Phelps was placed in the Summer Olympics in Brazil in 2016. Since then, the Bears have been using it, too,” the Tribune reported in 2017. read more here.

In the 1980s, Jay Hilgenberg and Tom Thayer made the 180-mile trip from Chicago to Platteville. on motorcycles.

Racer Tarik Cohen drove 90 miles from Vernon Hills to Bourbonnais in 2019 on his own custom version of a three-wheeler known as the Slingshot.

“I only comply with the speed limit,” he insisted. read more here.

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