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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

‘Brian Urlacher’s Hall of Fame induction brought me to tears’

Angel+Francos+high+school+room
Photo by Courtesy of Angel Franco
Angel Franco’s high school room

Today was an emotional day. The player I grew up watching for my favorite team in the entire world was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
I watched Brian Urlacher’s full speech and let me tell you I am in tears. Here’s why: Growing up I fell in love with football by watching the Chicago Bears play. That love fueled my passion for sports and ultimately sports journalism.
I grew up watching Brian dominating the field. When I was little, I was gifted my very first Bears jersey, and it was Brian’s. That thing fit me so big that I wore it for years, to the point that the painted numbers faded away and had to be retired.
Throughout my life my love for my family and the Bears have always been a constant for me. In 2006, I watched Devin Hester return the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI 92-yards thinking that we were destined to win this game. Every time I think of that play I think of this picture:
Obviously, that isn’t what ended up happening, as the story goes Chicago would blow a 14-6 lead in a rainy Miami game and Peyton Manning was well … Peyton Manning and the Bears lost 29-17.
Despite the loss, that game was a turning point for me. I was 8 at the time and I knew I was a fan because I was a born into a Bears family. However, after that game was over and we were driving home from my grandparent’s house I was angry to the point where I cried. I had never done that for the Bears before (Spoiler: It wouldn’t be the last).
But that game truly awoke my interest and passion for the sport of football, which made me into the person I am today.
Throughout the years my love for the organization only intensified and the bond with my dad grew stronger each season. In high school, I had a wall dedicated to the Bears and all the things I had been gifted throughout the years because my family knew me too well.
On May 22, 2012, Urlacher announced that he was ending his 13-year career in the NFL. I cried. Mostly tears of joy.
Before Brian announced his retirement, I remember being in class as a sophomore in high school and a classmate who is a Packers fan told me there was a report that Brian was going to become a Packer.
Sitting in class not being able to research this article, I started to cry. I quickly composed myself to ask to go to the bathroom. I cried some more because the thought of Brian becoming a Green Bay Packer was too much for me to handle.
Then I called my dad in the bathroom and cried to him and he told me the article was satirical and it was a lie, Brian wasn’t becoming a Packer.
I walked back into class with a red face and people asked what was wrong and I told them the truth. For the rest of the semester I was made fun of, but I didn’t care.
For the past 21 years I have bled navy and orange. But my dad, who became a fan in 1985 after they won Super Bowl XX, is probably the only person more passionate than I am. He even has their logo tattooed on his neck.
Which brings me to today. Sitting in Nashville a week from completing my internship I watched Brian’s speech and found myself crying because of all the memories I have with my dad watching him play as I grew up.
Through it all, my dad has always been on the other side of the conversation. Consoling me through tears of sadness when they lost to the Packers, through frustrations of narrow losses and through tears of joy when they beat the Packers in November 2013. He was on the line just a few minutes ago as I called him crying because of Brian’s speech.
Players like Brian Urlacher and bonds like the one I share with my dad are why I decided to become a sports journalist. I want to be able to tell these stories about the players on the field and the fans off of it.
Angel Franco is a telecommunication senior and sports editor for The Battalion. 

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  • Angel Franco and her dad in October 2014

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