It was just a few moments later that I noticed the GIANT SUV next to it that had a bumper sticker that read "This is Bears country, if you don't like it get the F**k out!" and I am not going to lie, I smiled. While I don't know the story behind these 2 cars, or how they came to be parked right next to one another, I will tell you this, the GIANT SUV had a crude packers symbol drawn on it's back window in the dirt/dust. Obviously, someone wanted to push the state rivalry a bit further, perhaps, too far.
It's an interesting thing, living right near the border to another state with a good football team. The Green Bay Packers aren't exactly what they used to be, but they are still a pretty good NFL team. I often wonder if the tension between the WI border residents and the IL border residents stems solely from football, or if there is some baseball peppered in. Personally, the Milwaukee Brewers don't even register on my radar as I am far more concerned with the Cubs vs White Sox rivalry we have right here in Illinois ;-)
It was especially interesting when I was growing up, we lived near the Illinois/Indiana border and I was raised to see "Hoosiers" as inferior. I have no idea why, just that my parents instilled in me that the people from Indiana were not as smart as us, and that I should avoid them. I was certainly not permitted to date ANYONE from Indiana, and my parents made that abundantly clear. When I brought home my first boyfriend from IN, my step father called him "the ass***e from Indiana"- It was pure hatred between the two of them. Then, we broke up and I got the "I told you so" speech. Not helpful. I still never understood why people from Illinois hated the Hoosiers so much!? Surely not everyone feels that way, but in this area if you say "Hoosiers" everyone knows that you are talking about people from Indiana...in other areas of the country they have absolutely no idea what a Hoosier is!
Wikipedia says: "Hoosier (pronounced /ˈhuːʒər/) is the official demonym for a resident of the U.S. State of Indiana.The State of Indiana adopted the nickname "Hoosier State" more than 150 years ago. "Hoosiers" is also the nickname for the Indiana University athletic teams.
In other parts of the country, the word has been adapted for other uses. In St. Louis, Missouri, the word is used in a derogatory fashion in similar context to "hick" or "white trash". “Hoosier” also refers to the cotton-stowers, both black and white, who moved cotton bales from docks to the holds of ships, forcing the bales in tightly by means of jackscrews. A low-status job, it nevertheless is referred to in various sea shanty lyrics. For example, Shanties from the Seven Seas includes lyrics that reference Hoosiers." - I'm guessing that the latter term is the one my parents tried to grind into my head. Luckily it didn't work or I would have missed out on a whole lot of wonderful people in my life!
I like to think that the Indiana/Illinois tension comes from college sports, football, and basketball, in particular, dating back many, many years ago. It's obviously not from NFL football because the Colts have only been in Indianapolis since 1984 and my family has hated Indiana since long before that. I'm not a follower of basketball, never have been, but I've heard the Hoosiers of Indiana University are/were pretty darn good! I like to think it all comes from sports, but perhaps there are other things. Indiana is much cheaper to live in, purchase land in, and I would assume, to conduct business in as well. Why would a company go to Chicago and pay 10% tax when they can go to Northwest Indiana in less than 30 miles and conduct their business for probably less than 6% tax? Makes sense, right? Economically, and logically, yes, but I can see how it would create a rift between those two areas.
I will probably never fully understand the rivalry between Illinois/Indiana or Illinois/Wisconsin, but I can tell you that I am very happy with my Hoosier Husband (My folks hate him because he is from IN, but he is not the one they referred to as the a*****e from Indiana), and my 1/2 Hoosier babies (Yes, my step Dad actually refers to them as 1/2 Hoosier Babies). I don't care that Chris is from the magical land of Indiana just over the invisible line, he's not inferior to me, and he's probably smarter book-wise than I am too! We have a lot of fun with it, occasionally I call him "Stupid Hoosier" and he tells me I'm "Illinoying" - it's all in good fun, and we are teaching our children that there is no difference in the people from state-to-state, only their accents, traditions, and eventually, politics.
For now, I will continue to wonder about the Illinois/Indiana rift, but I will continue to assume that the conflict with Wisconsin is solely related to the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. I will continue to stand with the Chicago bears and wear their colors proudly throughout the football season. Heaven help the person that draws a Packers logo on the back of my new car...
I also wanted to add, for my Vikings fans friends (Yes, there are a few), what is it like up there when the Vikings play the Packers? Is it insanity near the borders!? Here we have Greenbay flags that get vandalized in our neighborhood (Because we are in IL after all...)and people shout nasty things to each other in bars, restaurants, and stores. It's crazy on game day...I've tried not to go out because of it. Whenever I see someone wearing viking things/colors I always just say "Minnie-Sota- Vikings 'eh?" and they usually just smile...and I smile too thinking of how much I now LOATHE Brett Favre!!! That's a story for another time, the large signed photo for him as #4 at Green Bay is still hanging in my basement, before Brett stopped playing for the love of the game, became all about the money and whining about contracts not being fair and became an in general sell-out douchebag!