Ashley Erin Sellers

Taking the locker room tour to the next level...

Taking the locker room tour to the next level…

Did you know that 46% of the NFL’s fan base is female?  To further that, cialis sale did you know that the Chicago Bears have the number 1 female fan base?  If you’re a Chicago Bears fan, seek there’s no denying that our fan base is one of the biggest (and best in the NFL) and seeing as the Bears organization clearly appreciates us, advice it makes sense that they continue to host and market their team to multiple audiences.

On Monday, October 6th, the Chicago Bears hosted their Meijer Football 101 event geared toward the female fan at Soldier Field. The annual event drew more than 700 females to the field for a night dedicated to the Chicago Bears legacy and the women (and men) that love it.

If you have never been to this ladies night extravaganza, you will definitely want to consider attending next year. Here are some highlights and recap from the event below:

I enjoy attending BearsFB101 event at Soldier Field because I get the opportunity to visit an iconic stadium without the craziness and crowds of a game day Sunday (or men, for that matter).  Vendors such as Meijer were on hand – providing goodies to sample.  With the event being in October this year, Bear’s Care (Chicago Bears Charities) sold t-shirts promoting breast cancer awareness and initiatives. Most notably, domestic violence support groups passed out pamphlets and provided support group information.  In lieu of recent events surrounding the NFL, their players and domestic abuse, I found this to be a necessary and honorable addition to the event. It was also a nice that the event was held in October this year as October is the awareness month for both domestic violence and breast cancer.

It was tough for us not to rush the field.

It was tough for us not to rush the field.

Women of all demographics were in attendance and their favorite apparel was in full force. With the purchase of a ticket to the event, women also received a swag bag – ranging in goodies such as a 2014 Bears Yearbook to a mini hand wallet! Apparel stores inside the United Club were also open, enabling female fans to pick-up the latest gear. (Guilty as charged.)

Since my cousin was a rookie to the event, I made sure that we took a tour of the field and equipment room first (since it is my favorite part).  We stopped for pictures along the 100 level concourse as our guide elaborated on the long standing history of Soldier Field and then we were led down into the Bears locker room.

Equipment coaches were on hand with a demo table – showing off gear in the middle of the locker room.  We also got the opportunity to see the NFL breast cancer pink gloves and cleats on display along with traditional game day items. Majority of the lockers were empty but a couple of the most popular players lockers were donned with gear and ready for photos.

(And if you waited in line, you could even try on pads and equipment to see what it really feels like to be a Bear on game day.)

Picture from the North End ZoneFrom the locker room, we headed through the tunnel out onto the field. Even though this wasn’t my first rodeo, I was still extremely excited to be on the field again and am still amazed by the vastness which is Soldier Field.  It overwhelms me every time and I can’t imagine how it would feel to be out there every game day.

We missed autograph signing due to the tour and shopping but managed to sneak in a quick picture with former Bear, Anthony Adams (he was there to emcee the Family Feud Portion of the BearsFB101 q&a panel). He said that while it was his first time attending, he loved what he’d seen thus far.  But of course, why wouldn’t he – I mean, who doesn’t love being a former pro-athlete hanging out in a room full of ladies.

As tours and autograph signing wrapped-up, women were invited to the workshop session where WBBM News Radio 780’s Zach Zaidman and Tom Thayer emceed a panel of Bears players such as Lamarr Houston, Shea McClellin, Ryan Mundy and Willie Young.

The panel started with a little bit of tape and some highlights of big plays the guys had thus far this season.  After the highlight reel, female fans were randomly selected to participate in the Family Feud style Bears/Football 101 game.  The ladies defeated the players by showcasing their knowledge of tricky Bears trivia (for example the ladies named which former Bear players went on to be coaches with the highest winning percentages – and note, Ditka is not #1 on that list.)

fb101

After the little game concluded, the Q&A portion of the evening began. Beyond the questions of “Do you have tattoos; can you show us where they are?” and multiple dance parties, there were also some great hard hitting questions such as: “How do you plan to move forward after the heartbreaking start to the season” or “Our team has a history of great leadership, how do you plan to be a leader for the rookies and next generation of players?” The guys had great responses and

genuinely cared about their team, their city and most importantly, their fans.

My takeaway?

Like I have mentioned previously, this was not my first Ladies Night but obviously it was so much fun that I had to come again (and even bring my cousin)!  I mentioned this in my review last year, but again I stress that this event is really a great opportunity to get to hang out out Soldier Field and interact with the players – no matter your level of football knowledge. Trust me, you don’t have to be a football fanatic to appreciate an event of this caliber. From novices to experts, we’re all there to celebrate football and our Bears!

My only gripe is that the event is still labeled as Football 101 – I definitely think the Bears could take it to the next level and offer a few “basic” and “advanced” courses. Maybe two ladies nights instead of one with one for vets and one for novice female fans? Or maybe just some break-out sessions during Ladies Night?  I did like that they ran some tape and talked with players about big plays but I think that could easily be elaborated on. I also want to know when they’ll let us ladies out there on the field to run a few plays of our own (a girl can dream).

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Ashley Erin Sellers at Chicago Bears Football 101 Ladies Night

Finally the NFL and the Chicago Bears have realized what we’ve known for a long time:  female football fans exist! With the NFL’s recent onslaught of improved and relevant marketing initiatives geared toward the female demographic, medicine female fans should appreciate the fact that teams and the league have finally begun to realize we respond to different messaging.

An example of how to cater to the female fan was on full display when the Chicago Bears hosted their Meijer Football 101 event on Tuesday night at Soldier Field. The annual event drew more than 700 female fans to the field for a night dedicated to the Chicago Bears legacy and the women that love it.

If you’ve never been to this gathering of Bears female fans, you will definitely want to put it on your radar for next year.  Here’s why:

SDI Founder, Monica Murphy-Vargas sampling Absolut Tune

Women enjoyed taking in the sights of Soldier Field without the normal craziness and crowds of a game day Sunday (or men, for that matter).  Vendors ranging from Absolut to Verizon Wireless were on site for sampling and product information.

Women of all demographics were in attendance and their favorite apparel was in full force.  Apparel stores inside the United Club were also open, enabling female fans to pick-up the latest gear.

Some women donned jerseys (we saw: Forte, Cutler, Marshall, Urlacher and even a couple of Knox) and others took their fashion fandom to a whole new level. Sara of Crystal Lake has made the trek to Soldier Field for Football 101 over six times and she came prepared with her very own “#34 Sweetness stilettos”.  Talk about the best Sportsanista look of the night!

Sara’s “Sweetness” Stilettos

Tours of the Bears locker room and Soldier Field concourse were also highlights of the evening.  While we passed on the autographs (sorry rooks), we weren’t going to miss a tour of iconic Soldier Field.

As we passed along the 100 level concourse, we stopped for pictures as our guide took questions from fans. My personal favorite: Why doesn’t the Chicago Park District fix this field already? Afterward, we were led down into the Bears locker room.  I was as giddy as a school girl knowing that all the great Bears have walked in the same setting and dressed for game day.

Equipment coaches were also on hand with a demo table – showing off their gear in the middle of the locker room and almost all the lockers were empty – except for Brandon Marshall’s – with full gear on display for viewing… and modeling of course.

Clearly future WR material

From the locker room, we headed through the tunnel out onto the field.  It was breathtakingly overwhelming, I could never imagine what it would feel like on game day… stadium packed, lights on running out onto that massive field (that always appears much smaller to the viewer).

Although you couldn’t pass the yellow rope, being on the field and looking up into the stands was a view I will never forget.  (Also, I give Forte mad props for running the field – five yards doesn’t seem like much on TV but when you’re on the field you realize that MAN, it is a lot.)

We had the pleasure of meeting new Bears sideline reporter, Lyndsay Petruny. The Pittsburgh native recently made the move to Chicago and is now a co-host on the Chicago Bears Network (CBN) new entertaining digital program, Inside the Bears as well as a reporter for Bears GameDay Live that airs on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. on FOX32News.

Ashley Erin Sellers, Lyndsay Petruny, Monica Murphy Vargas

I can’t help but think the Bears are catering to more women with programming like Inside the Bears. A perfect dose of lifestyle entertainment and insider access with Bears news, this is a weekly must-hit and one of the new digital programs the Bears have launched on their owned and operated Chicago Bears Network which is produced in house at the studios in Halas Hall.

“It’s been great walking around here tonight among these passionate female fans and I’m excited because many women have come up to me and recognized me from Inside the Bears, which is great to see that women are watching,” said Petruny. “We’ve done some great segments, some really heartfelt stuff that fans will love. We just wrapped up an interview with Virginia McCaskey, we’ve talked to William “the Fridge” Perry, we talk to fans on the street…it’s great to see that fans are watching.”

After the tours and autograph signing commenced, women were invited for the Meijer Bears Football 101 workshop where Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer emceed a panel of rookies and surprise guest, Josh McCown

Beyond the questions of “Boxers or briefs?” and “Show us your touchdown dance!” (along with repeated screams for Jon Bostic to “TAKE OFF HIS SHIRT!”) there were some great questions that helped further female football knowledge like, “Who does your playing style resemble/emulate?”, “What is a west coast offense; do we have one?” and “How have you prepared for the NFL?”.

One of my favorite questions of the night was geared to McCown and it obviously touched on the Cutler injury debacle and McCown’s recent victory against the Packers.  McCown was poised and classy with his response reiterating that while he never wants to see a player injured, he’s excited about his opportunity and hopes continue to be a team player and contribute to a winning Bear’s team.  (He also claims there is no “bromance” with Cutler – as he’s not sure how to define that term – and while yes, they are friends, it is strictly a working relationship on the field.)

Jon Bostic

As a first time attendee, I can honestly say even as an avid and aware female Bears fan, I think this event is a good bet for any woman that loves the Bears. You don’t have to be a football fanatic to appreciate an event of this caliber. Not only do you get access to areas of Soldier Field that most fans can only dream of, attendees get the chance to really connect with the team and the brand along with hundreds of fellow females that share your passion.

While I know the event is labeled as Football 101 – I definitely think the Bears could take it to the next level and offer a few basic and advanced courses to cater to both female novice fans and aficionados. Once the Bears and the NFL realize that they must take their marketing message to women even further – that one blanket message to her won’t cut it – then I think the opportunity to host truly impactful female targeted events that actually move the needle, will be a reality.

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Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News
The ladies of SDI were back at the studios of Good Day Chicago FOX 32 News on the morning of the Bears final preseason game to showcase some hot new Bears looks for the upcoming season.

Sporty Threads, generic $48.00

Mary Krosnjar, and the Sportsanista and our resident fashion expert, rocked this off-the-shoulder Bears sweatshirt from Sporty Threads.

We love the edgy and sexy look that this sweatshirt pulls off with the ragged neckline and distressed logo, while still providing warmth and wiggle room. Pair it with skinnies and suede booties like Mary did for a night out with friends.  Buy it now at Sporty Threads for $48.00.

Meesh & Mia, $59.00

Ashley Erin Sellers, one of our Bears writers, showed us how to pull off a polished and sophisticated Bears look for the office. Wearing this smart, asymmetrical ruffled top from Meesh & Mia, a bejeweled Bears logo is tucked away to the bottom left offering a subtle and tasteful way to show your fandom through fashion.  Buy it now at Meesh & Mia for $59.00.

Lara Khalaf, another SDI Bears writer, showed us how you can wear Bears gear just about anywhere. Her sporty, casual look featuring a mesh jersey t-shirt from Clark Street Sports is perfect to wear to the gym, to run errands, lay around the house, or to game at Soldier Field.

Find more of these fashion-forward looks perfect for the upcoming Bears season at Clark Street Sports.

Clark Street Sports

And remember ladies, it doesn’t have to be Game Day to show your Bears colors and fandom. There is no better time than now – at the start of the season – when anticipation and excitement is at an all time high, to rock the Bears gear in style.

Check back in next Wednesday for more of our favorite Bears looks as we comb the web to find you the best styles.

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luvabulls640_120625

The majority of us girls, cialis whether you’ll admit it or not, patient have envisioned ourselves in short shorts and a half top with pom-poms in hand cheering for our favorite sports team. Whether it was the cheerleaders of the Dallas Cowboys, the Miami Dolphins, or the Chicago Luvabulls, all depends on where and when you grew up.  Growing up in the NW suburbs and watching pro team cheerleaders inspired me to become the performer I was in high school and college.

5th grade

Now in my 20’s, I’ve always thought about trying out for a professional dance team.  I had even gone as far as sending in my application to audition for the Luvabulls two years ago, only to not show up to the actual try-out.  This year I made a promise to myself (and to check off on my 30 things to do before I turn 30 list) that I would actually audition.

So this past Saturday, on August 25th, I had the opportunity to see what it is really like to audition for one of the most prestigious dance teams in NBA, the Chicago Luvabulls.

Prior to the actual try-out, I had to submit an application with a head-shot and my previous dance background.  Once my application was accepted via email I was ready for the audition in August.  To prepare, I took some summer modern, jazz, and leaps & turns technique classes, practiced my old high school cheerleading facials, and maintained a high protein-low carb diet a month prior.  I’ll admit I was intimidated and a little rusty, but eager to experience an audition of this caliber.

Registration began at 8AM and over 150 girls were there to participate.  An interesting and eclectic mix of hopefuls between ages 18-30, girls donned sparkly sports bras and fun colored bottoms.  All wore full faces of false lashes, rosy cheeks and ruby red lips.  Girls were nervous and excited while we registered, signed waivers, and took another head-shot with our audition numbers.

Once we were all signed-in, trainers began teaching us the standard kick routine for the Luvabulls.  Afterwards, we lined up in numerical order and were sent to the court in groups of 20 to freestyle, interview, and perform the kick line for the judges.  Just like my Grandma told me to, I went out there and “smiled and shook my booty.”

Freestyling was fun and it gave the judges an opportunity to see how you moved without structured choreography.  After the freestyle, each girl had a moment to introduce themselves to the judges. Ladies were then picked at random and asked questions about their dance background, Bulls knowledge, Luvabulls commitment and personality.  I was not asked a question but about half of the girls were in my group were.

Immediately after the interview we performed the kick routine.  My stomach was in knots and I’m quite sure I may have missed a step or two, but I kept my facials throughout and finished without collapsing.  From there, we exited and one of the judges came out to tell us which numbers needed to stay for the afternoon portion of the audition.  My number was called so I had the opportunity to learn more choreography! I was thrilled to be staying for the afternoon.

Before we broke for lunch, the remaining girls began to learn choreography from Kim Tyler, choreographer (and amazing, might I add) for the Luvabulls.  She taught us a portion of a routine that had been done in the past by the squad.  We learned about 24 counts and then Cathy Core, director of the Luvabulls, told us to eat and prepare for the afternoon audition.

I didn’t know how I could tolerate eating with my stomach in knots, but I managed to eat some veggies, a protein bar, and a vitamin water.  In my down time, I practiced the new choreography with a few girls before we started the afternoon.

When lunch was over, we were seated in the United Center and watched the veteran Luvabulls (there were 19 of them, who were ALSO competing for their spots back on the team) perform some of their numbers for us.  The girls were amazing; full of energy and poise.  It looked like they were having a blast out there and we couldn’t stop cheering for them.


Core then called us out onto the floor where we finished the Hip-Hop routine and immediately dove into some more choreography.  This routine was more Latin based with some Samba and Salsa.  You have to be quick in picking up choreography, or you can easily be left in the dust (like I was at some parts)!

It was obvious that girls who had attended the Spring Luvabulls workshop and veterans had some advantage because they knew what to expect and were confident in their movements.  Once we had learned both routines we were called in groups of 10 to perform again.  Final cuts were made and the remaining 40 girls went to training camp – which is held Monday-Wednesday night this week from 6:30-10PM.  Unfortunately, I did not make training camp and was asked to leave around 4PM.

Overall, I had so much fun meeting other women who shared a passion to dance.  I loved seeing the veteran Luvabulls perform.  Core and Taylor run a spectacular squad with prestige and professionalism.  It was truly a great opportunity for me to showcase my talent and I learned a lot from the experience!

For girls interested in trying out next year, here are some pointers:

  1. Make sure you train!  I thought I had prepared myself but I realize now that there was probably a lot more I could have done.  (Mentally I can visualize my 18-year old self doing a switch-leap into the splits but my 26 year old body tells me differently.)
  2. Try new styles!  The more well-versed you are in different styles of dance, the better of an asset you’ll be to the team and you’ll be better at auditions.
  3. Bring a positive attitude that includes confidence but excludes cockiness!  I was relieved to see so many pretty AND friendly faces.
  4. Read the registration packet with all the pertinent Luvabull information.  This packet tells you what to expect, mandatory items you should bring, and what you should wear.
  5. Finally and most importantly… I did NOT attend the Spring workshop which was presented by the Luvabulls and I’m almost 100% sure that was a huge mistake.  If you want to see Taylor’s choreography (and style) while working with Core and the team, you should probably go and check out the workshop.

 

 

 

 

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