Like Romeo and Juliet, Pat and Sue Veselik’s relationship began amid a deep, generations-old feud. Luckily for the Veseliks, they were able to make the partnership work—perhaps against greater odds than Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers.
Sue is a Chicago Bears fan. And Pat roots for the Packers.
The Darien residents met in college at Northern Michigan University, where both were student athletes. Pat, an All-American football player raised in Michigan, even tried out to be a kicker with the Packers in 1985. He still holds the NMU record for most field goals in a season.
As a Chicago native, Sue said being a Bears fan is in her blood.
“There was no question I was going to be anything other than a Bears fan,” she said. “I couldn’t even dream of rooting for any other team.”
The Veselik’s middle daughter, Hannah, on the other hand, didn’t even realize as a child that the Packers weren’t Chicago’s team.
“My dad was so focused on the Packers all the time that it didn’t even cross my mind that the Bears were the home team,” she said.
All three of the Veselik’s girls take after dad when it comes to football, though Hannah, 16, admits she’s a little ambivalent.
Youngest daughter Briana, 11, however, dealt with some playful teasing from her classmates at Lace School Friday because she painted her face half green and half yellow. She said her classmates didn’t eat cheese all week in defiance of the Packers. But the teasing didn’t bother her.
“They can say as much as they want,” she said. “But it will be fun to see their faces Monday after the Packers win.”
The girls are all competitive swimmers, with Hannah specializing in the butterfly stroke on Hinsdale South’s team. Both Hannah and oldest sister Hillary, 18, competed on the Junior Olympics water polo team in Los Angeles last summer.
“That’s why I think we’re all so competitive about football,” Sue said. “We’re in a house full of people who don’t want to lose.”
When the Packers and Bears face off during the regular season, it’s a family event—almost. If the Packers start doing poorly, then Pat finds his way to the kitchen and starts doing dishes.
“And I’ll say, ‘Hey, look at that great play! The Packers just don’t want to win,’” Sue said. “I love to say that.”
Pat has several predictions about Sunday’s game, when the Packers and Bears will face off for the NFC Championship.
“The winner of this game will win the Super Bowl,” he said. He showcased a particular bit of Packers memorabilia that surely has good vibes attached to it.
A while back, a friend gave Pat a miniature Packers helmet, autographed by former running back Ahman Green.
One day, when Briana was walking home from school, she found a football card on the sidewalk. When she picked it up, she saw it was a card featuring Green. The card and the helmet now sit side by side in a clear plastic box.
“The Packers are going to win 27-21,” Pat said. “Then they’re going to go back north and practice for the Super Bowl.”
Sue has a different prediction.
“We’re going to be here in front of the TV,” she said. “And Pat’s going to be washing dishes.”