I live in the Northwest burbs of Chicago, and in my town there's a local high school with a football field by my house. Well, one summer a few years ago, the lawn care company responsible for maintaining the football field, put the wrong chemical treatment on the grass. For the remainder of the year, the field had hideous brown grass. As a way of apologizing, the lawn care company decided to get Brian Urlacher to come to the high school to give a prep talk to the local team before one of their big games. I got notified about this via the local newspaper.
So when the day came, I arrived at the school with my Mitchell and Ness throwback Brian Urlacher #54 jersey and a brand new sharpie. I waited outside of the school while #54 was giving the big prep talk in the school’s gymnasium. Suddenly the door opened. It was just me and few other fans who were waiting along with me. Urlacher walks out with a few people from the local news, a publicist, and a few reps from the lawn care company. I said hello to Brian, he waved hi and briskly walked with his posse right behind him to the actual football field, which is literally like 100 feet away from the school. I thought to myself, “Man I missed my only chance!”, as the event seemed exclusive only to students and faculty members of the school.
I decided to walk with the crowd towards the football field. Urlacher entered the field gate with the young team and their coaches, as us on lookers watched from the field parking lot. I thought about leaving, as many on lookers had left already. I decided to be patient and wait it out for an hour by the field lot until his last prep talk was finished.
The guy guarding the entrance gate to the field decided to walk away from his post, leaving the entrance gate wide open to the public. A few people like women and children walked in, and ran up to Urlacher for some quick words and photographs. Then a few more people walked in.
I decided to proceed to the entrance gate eager, yet, cautiously. As soon as the coast was clear, I walked right in with confidence. Urlacher was about 50 feet in front of me taking photos with some young ladies and shooting the breeze.
I approached, slowly, jersey in hand, fresh sharpie in another, ready to make my big move. As I got closer, one of the lawn care representatives that hosted the event stopped me dead in my tracks and blocked my view from #54: "Urlacher is done for today, he has to leave, come on Brian we have to go", said the lawn care rep. I started talking to the lawn care rep trying to convince him that one more person wouldn't hurt. Brian walked closer and over heard my conversation with the rep. Brian looked at me and motioned for me to walk over, but with a look on his face like (don't listen to this guy, come here), so I approached and asked him kindly if he could possibly sign my jersey. Urlacher motioned with his hand again like, “bring it here.”
Brian took my jersey and held it up so he could get a closer look at it. He then folded it over his arm so he could sign it. He then asked me "Got a pen?" I gave him my brand new black sharpie, in which he bit the top of cap off and proceeded to sign it!
I then told him how much Chicago loves him, and how I really appreciated all the memories I had of him as a Chicago Bear. I thanked him again for the autograph. He said "no problem.”My cousin was one of the on lookers who left early, lives a few houses away. Naturally, I walked over to his house to show him what patience and perseverance looked like. Haha, he got a lesson that day.
Justus F. aka "J-Merk"
(Artist and Collector)