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Green Bay (Avenue) Packers fans are rare
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Green Bay (Avenue) Packers fans are rare

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CHICAGO | These days, he goes by the name "Joey D." because with all the hoopla surrounding the Bears-Packers NFC Championship game Sunday, he's not too thrilled about his full name being used in print.

Joey D. lives in Chicago's Hegewisch neighborhood, and he is a fan of the Green Bay Packers.

He will be rooting against the Chicago Bears, whose trip to the Super Bowl could be thwarted by a loss Sunday to his beloved Pack.

Joey still lives in the same house where he grew up, on Green Bay Avenue.

Green Bay Avenue starts in the East Side neighborhood and runs south through Hegewisch and down through the south suburbs into Lynwood.

It was that tie to his home street as a kid that initially made him a Packers fan and subjected him to endless grief from his neighbors and co-workers throughout the years.

"When I was a kid, we used to play football in this field here," Joey said, pointing to a patch of ground on Green Bay Avenue at 131st Street. "They were all Bears fans, and I was the lone Packers fan, so they used to pound me extra hard."

Joey said even now he gets taunted whenever he wears caps with the Packers logo, but he still displays them. His home has a Packers banner for curtains, and he has a barbecue grill outside his house painted in yellow and green -- Packers colors.

Joey, who said the Packers will win Sunday by a field goal, is the exception along Green Bay Avenue. For just about anybody else willing to talk about sports proclaims themselves to be a Bears fan. Several have Bears flags flying instead of the U.S. flag, while one person living in the 11000 block of Green Bay Avenue has a blue-and-orange yard sign proclaiming himself to be the, "Number One Fan of the Chicago Bears."

The neighborhood bar also proclaims itself to be a "Bears bar." Chris, a bartender at the Who Cares? bar, 10701 Green Bay Ave., said people who live on Green Bay Avenue aren't any different than anyone else who lives in Chicago's Southeast Side.

"We're about the South Side of Chicago here, we're all about the Bears," she said.

The bar, which has Bears-themed memorabilia including pennants from the past Bears' Super Bowl appearances in 1986 and 2007 hanging from its walls, already is making preparations for a Super Bowl-themed party on Feb. 6.

"When the Bears make it, it will be the best party ever, I'm looking forward to it," John, a Bears fan, said as he nursed an Old Style beer.

Not every Bears fan was willing to be as boastful. Further south in the part of Green Bay that runs through suburban Lansing - where the street is spelled Greenbay - one man would not discuss his Bears fan ties because he doesn't want people to know the street upon which he lives.

"It's too embarrassing," he said.

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