"We knew that this activity would be popular." said Mandy Sowa, Bears Marketing and Communications Assistant, "After all, the fastest growing segment of football fans today is women. But we were surprised that it sold out in only three days ."
The evening began in a classroom setting with Tom Thayer's overview of football basics including rules, field specifications, referees and penalties, and player positions. Wuerffel, Colvin ,and Maynard then went on to outline the role of the offense, defense and special teams.
"This is a real treat for me" said Theresa Hogue of Chicago." When I first read about this event, I called immediately to sign up. It's a great opportunity to meet with the players one on one and to ask some of the questions that my husband could never answer."
Hogue came into the evening with more football knowledge than many of her peers, having played the game in high school.
"I was a kicker for the football team" she said. "At that time I training to be a ballet dancer. When the kicker sustained a major injury early in the season, the coach asked if I could fill in. As an avid football fan, I jumped at the chance. It was a lot of fun. The highlight of that season for me was the time I made a 35 yard field goal to win a game."
Other participants came hoping to be able to communicate more effectively with sons who are currently playing football, to be more knowledgeable when watching sports with their husbands, or simply to meet players and learn more about the game.
Pearl Krieps of Roselle, an enthusiastic Bears fan, has followed the team for years.
"When he was in grade school and high school, my son never brought his friends to our house on Sunday afternoons" she said. "I think that I embarrassed him by shouting so much during game telecasts. I couldn't help myself. I really wanted the Bears to win. When this chance came to visit Halas Hall, I knew that I had to be here."
A football trivia contest and a question and answer period were followed by a tour of the facilities. Participants got the chance to view player classrooms as well as the training room where a few visitors had their ankles taped by Head Athletic Trainer Tim Bream.
A highlight of the tour was the locker room visit where several women ‘suited up' with the help of Equipment Manager Tony Medlin.
"I had no idea that players wore so many pads and several different layers of clothing" said Denise Toriani of River Grove. "It's very confining and, in a way, quite claustrophobic. But it's worth the discomfort. When else are we going to get the chance to try on Brian Urlacher's jersey or James Williams' shoes?".
The evening ended with a question and answer period led by Thayer followed by an autograph session featuring Wuerffel, Maynard, and Colvin.
"These are knowledgeable, smart women who really care about the game" Wuerffel said. "I think that it's great that they took the time to come out for this event. It was a wonderful chance for all of us to learn something and to have a lot of fun."