WBEZ | Soldier Field http://www.wbez.org/tags/soldier-field Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 'Valor Games' for disabled veterans to begin http://www.wbez.org/news/valor-games-disabled-veterans-begin-108375 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Vets 130812 AY.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Hundreds of veterans and service members are set to compete in the annual Valor Games Midwest.</p><p dir="ltr">The event for the disabled begins Monday and ends Wednesday. Competitions include cycling, archery, powerlifting and indoor rowing.</p><p dir="ltr">The event is geared toward veterans or active service members who have been wounded or are ill. The first Valor Games started in Chicago two years ago, with events spreading to San Francisco, San Antonio and Durham, North Carolina.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s sponsors include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Chicago Park District. Organizers say about 220 participants have registered for this year&rsquo;s games. Among those participating is Air Force Sergeant Israel Del Toro, or DT.</p><p>A bomb exploded under his truck eight years ago in Afghanistan. Del Toro lost fingers on both hands, had over 130 surgeries, got skin grafts for most of his body and wears a brace on his right leg. But for the next few days, he&rsquo;s cycling, powerlifting, and competing in the discus and shotput contests.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought all throughout my therapy, I could never work out at free weights, and when they encouraged me, &lsquo;Come on DT, try it, try it,&rsquo; I ended up winning gold in it,&rdquo; &nbsp;Del Toro says. &ldquo;That first Valor Games, I always say, that was the first time I actually got under a bench and started working out again.&rdquo;</p><p>Four years ago, Del Toro was the first disabled airman to re-enlist. For veterans who have left the military, he says the games can help them regain part of that experience.</p><p>&ldquo;They can start acting like they&rsquo;re back in the military, tell the same jokes they used to, pick on each other, &lsquo;cause that&rsquo;s just the camaraderie you don&rsquo;t get anywhere else,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>Howard Wilson, a retired Marine Corps veteran, agrees. After leaving the Marine Corps, he lost most of his vision through glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve. He has competed at all three Valor Games in Chicago, and says despite the competition, everyone was working together at his first competition.</p><p>&ldquo;You had competitors, but everybody was still on the same side. We egged each other on, we made such each other do our best,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The disability just opened up a new chapter in my life. I knew my vision was getting worse, I got depressed, started thinking about what I couldn&rsquo;t do. You see things slipping away: driving, your independence, you don&rsquo;t have to stop yourself from doing what you were doing initially, you just have to find other ways of doing it.&rdquo;</p><p>He says he is reinventing himself through sport, and hopes to qualify for the US Paralympic wrestling team.</p><p>Sport makes it easier to cope with injuries and depression, says retired Army Sergeant Noah Galloway. He was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and lost his left arm above the elbow and his left leg above the knee. He has since run two marathons and a series of races, including two <a href="http://toughmudder.com/">&ldquo;Tough Mudder&rdquo;</a> obstacle course races. He gets sponsored to run, but doesn&rsquo;t call himself a professional athlete. He says veterans just need to start participating.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been at the bottom. I&rsquo;ve suffered the depression. I wanted nothing more than to have my arm and leg back, but when I accepted the fact that this is who I am, and I got up, and I got back in shape, and I started taking care of myself, everything turned around,&rdquo; Galloway says. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not looking for Paralympian athletes, we&rsquo;re looking to take care of our veterans.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alan Yu is a WBEZ metro desk intern. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/Alan_Yu039">@Alan_Yu039</a></em></p></p> Mon, 12 Aug 2013 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/valor-games-disabled-veterans-begin-108375 Running for my life http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/running-my-life-107317 <p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid--58c1691-ce11-60a4-2f06-213d24709f93"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bg-header.png" style="height: 173px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="" />Saturday I&rsquo;m running the <a href="http://soldierfield10.com/">Soldier Field 10 Mile</a> race and there is a chance I may cry at the end of it. I mean, there is a good chance my bones and feet and various chafed bits will cry both figuratively and literally but there are other things going on as well.</p><p dir="ltr">This is my first big race since I had the baby in August. When I signed up for the run in January, I envisioned the race being the cap on my post-baby physical transformation&mdash;all the baby weight would be lost and I would be in shape again. I&rsquo;d be back to normal.</p><p dir="ltr">Having run eight pretty undramatic miles on Saturday, I feel physically ready for the race. I can envision crossing the finish line and (let&rsquo;s just be honest) posting my triumphant photo on Facebook and then wearing my finisher&rsquo;s medal as I drink my lone complimentary beer. Barring any dramatic weather or broken legs, worst case scenario, I will run/walk this thing and that will be that.</p><p dir="ltr">As for the other stuff, the weight, the shape, the normal? We&rsquo;ll see. Depending on the day, I&rsquo;m six to eight pounds away from being back to my pre-baby weight. I gained 45 to 50 pounds with this kid (believe it or not towards the end I didn&rsquo;t feel like getting on the scale that much), which I know is making my former boss&mdash;who used to pinch her forefingers and thumbs together to show me how tiny my fetus&rsquo; stomach was to caution me against thinking I had to &quot;eat for two&quot;&mdash;probably weep. I have no regrets about this though. My doctors were happy with me and while I enjoyed some treats, I didn&rsquo;t go all Jessica Simpson with <a href="http://www.thefrisky.com/2012-03-14/jessica-simpson-is-craving-slutty-brownies/">the slutty brownies</a>, either. I ate like a pregnant lady, not a normal lady and not like two pregnant ladies, either.</p><p dir="ltr">The weight loss process has been...interesting. The first 20 pounds came off in the hospital (thank you, water weight.) The next 10 came off with a modicum of effort. The next 10 with even more effort, and so on. Each bit has required more and more fight, though, and now I&rsquo;m at the place where I&rsquo;m really working at it, to the tune of getting up at 6 a.m. every morning to work out, missing the best time with the baby when he&rsquo;s well-rested and cute and happy. I just wanted to put that out there for the moms who are struggling with losing the baby weight: it&rsquo;s not just a matter of trying a little harder or putting some baby carrots in your purse to snack on.</p><p dir="ltr">It means spending time working out that could be spent with your partner or baby or resting or working and all of that is precious time. Instead of taking the easy, delicious route of ordering in or the nutritious, family-style route of cooking with the family, I often prepare my own, separate, lower-calorie dinner. I&rsquo;m not saying this is the right way for anyone. It&rsquo;s just what I&rsquo;m doing. I&rsquo;m being transparent about this as a salvo against the magazines and trainers who say you can be a yummy mummy or a hottie mommy or a bodacious breastfeeder or whatever the hell it is if you just prioritize yourself and whatnot. It&rsquo;s a drag, especially those last few pounds that nobody knows about but you but you suspect if you hold onto them will replicate over and over again and then you&rsquo;re on <em>What Not To Wear</em> crying about how you used to care about how you looked before you had kids.</p><p dir="ltr">For the normal, well, whatever. There is no normal anymore and what is normal to me now is only going to be that way for a short amount of time. I laugh at what I thought I knew six months ago just as I know that the me in five years will wet my pants in hilarity over the ignorance of the me now.</p><p dir="ltr">For a while I thought that my life is a shelf that can only hold so much stuff and that I need to remove a few things like cooking or a social life in order to include items like exercise and time with the baby. But a doctor I just saw this week who specializes in moms who struggle with normal and work and babies and stuff implied that maybe such compartmentalization is not ideal. I have to wait for my next appointment to find out what household feature my attitude towards life should more ideally resemble. Perhaps a soothing koi pond?</p><p dir="ltr">Finishing the race will not be the thing that brings my pre-baby body back (and the post-race pancakes won&rsquo;t help) but in a new world where a lot less feels in my control, having set a long-term goal and accomplishing it&mdash;and getting a medal for it, no less&mdash;it will make me feel better about all those early mornings.</p><p><em>Follow Claire Zulkey <a href="https://twitter.com/Zulkey">@Zulkey</a></em></p></p> Fri, 24 May 2013 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/claire-zulkey/2013-05/running-my-life-107317 Farewell to the Big Red http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/farewell-big-red-103931 <p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s pioneer pro football team was playing its very last home game. &nbsp;</p><p>The date was November 29, 1959. The place was Soldier Field. The Cardinals were facing the Bears. &nbsp;</p><p>That&rsquo;s the <em>Chicago</em> Cardinals. They&rsquo;d been here first, long before the Bears &ndash; or the NFL.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-29--1959 Cardinals.jpg" style="height: 213px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="The 1959 Chicago Cardinals (author's collection)" /></div></div><p>The team started out as a part-time, semi-pro outfit in 1898. They became known as the Cardinals after they cut a deal for some cardinal-red uniforms. In those days the only money the players got was by passing the hat among the spectators, or winning bets from the opposing team.</p><p>When the pro league was formed in 1920, the Cardinals became a charter member. The team played their home games at Comiskey Park and had some early success. They won NFL championships in 1925 and 1947.</p><p>But as the seasons passed, Chicago became a Bears&rsquo; town. The Bears had the star players, the publicity, the money. They were the dominant team in the NFL. The Cardinals usually posted a losing record. They were the team you went to see when the Bears were on the road.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-29--Ollie%20Matson.jpg" style="width: 230px; height: 325px; float: right;" title="The Big Red's last star (author's collection)" /></div><p>By 1959 the Cardinals&rsquo; owners were trying anything to stay in business. They traded off their one headliner, halfback Ollie Matson, for nine players. They abandoned Comiskey in favor of Soldier Field. When the team scheduled two of their &ldquo;home&rdquo; games in Minneapolis, rumors circulated the Big Red would be leaving Chicago.</p><p>So now came the Cardinals&rsquo; last home game of the season, against their cross-town rivals. The South Siders were in last place with a 2-7 record. The Bears were 5-4, and still had a shot at a division title. Though temperatures stayed in the 20s, a standing-room-only crowd of 49,000 jammed Soldier Field.</p><p>The two Chicago teams always faced off near the end of the season. More than once, the underdog Cardinals had upset the haughty Bears and cost them a championship. Would it happen again?</p><p>On the first play from scrimmage, the Bears quarterback threw a long pass. Two Cardinal defenders went up for the ball&ndash;and tipped it into the hands of the Bears receiver, who went 76 yards for a touchdown.</p><p>After that it was no contest. The Cardinals lost, 31-7.</p><p>The team played their final two games on the road. They lost those, too. By the time the 1960 season began, the Cardinals had moved to St. Louis.</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/farewell-big-red-103931 Bears win big over Vikings http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-win-big-over-vikings-93176 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-17/Bears AP Charles Rex Arbogast.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears won big against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field Sunday night.</p><p>At halftime the Bears led 26 to 3, and the final score was equally comfortable: Bears 39, Vikings 10.</p><p>Bears quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 267 yards and wide receiver Devin Hester ran back a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Chicago scored on offense, defense and special teams.</p><p>Bears coach Lovie Smith said everyone played their A-game.&nbsp;</p><p>"All three phases really showed up. Hopefully that's who we are - the team you saw tonight. Defense needed to come back from the last couple of weeks really, and they came back strong," Smith said in a post-game press conference.</p><p>The Bears are now 3-3, and in third place in the NFC north division. Next the Bears head to London's Wembley Stadium for an international series game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.<br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-win-big-over-vikings-93176 Attention tax man: Here are a few more suggestions for nex taxes (won't you add yours to the list?) http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-28/attention-tax-man-here-are-few-more-suggestions-nex-taxes-wont-you-a <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-28/AP110813152391.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-28/AP110813152391.jpg" title="Tax any divot, gopher hole or nail-like objects at Soldier Field. We'll make millions! (AP)" width="512" height="312"></p><p>Heeeeeeey! It's better than tax time. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-27/inspector-general-ferguson-proposes-taxes-and-tolls-balance-city-budget-">It's tax idea time</a>!! Tolls on Lake Shore? No. More income tax? Maybe. Suburban toll? Ludicrous. Hey, has anyone asked me and the tens of ten of readers of this blog? In the past, I've opened up the flood gates to come up with new tax ideas. And I do it for free. I'm not some hoity-toity Inspector General who gets paid six figures. I am just a man of the people — people with good ideas. I'll start this annual list. It's one of my favorite blogs of the year. Please add:</p><ul><li>Bikes: They are getting a free pass. They get to use our streets and our sidewalks for free. I say you drop a license (like license plates) on bikes. You have to pay $30 a year to have a bike in Chicago. You apply the UPC code to the bike's frame and if you don't have one you get a $50 ticket. When you sell the bikes at bike stores, you can't walk out without one. Boom, that's a trillion in new revenue.</li><li>I've always liked the liquor store concept of staying open for 24 hours. It means you can buy beer at any time of the night. But the city puts a tax on that beer so a six pack costs something like $15-20. I say you do the same thing with everything from tolls to pints. Anything between 2-6 a.m. on weekends will cost you double. Hey, you can party all you want. But it will cost you.</li><li>Question for city: Are you charging any tax on panhandlers? Just asking. What about a sign tax? If you have a sign when you panhandle, you have to get a permit.</li><li>If your restaurant sells 'small plates,' then it has to get double taxed. That's just the way it is. Tax trends.</li><li>Fine the Park District $100,000 every time an NFL game has to be stopped because there is a huge nail in the field.</li><li>Tax Rosie.</li><li>Or just have a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/video-our-newest-pledge-drive-operator-really-wants-you-call-now">pledge drive</a>.</li></ul><p><strong>B story</strong>: <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/7888784-419/documentary-revisits-bartman-fallout.html">I watched the Bartman documentary last night</a>. What a great story and awful time for Chicago baseball history. The documentary definitely brought up dark memories of that time. It helped me realize why I quit the Cubs in the first place. Too many idiots. Although I've never been able to place it, that season featured fans that I didn't want to be associated with. The extra ingredient of the threat of blowing the World Series just brought out the absolute worst in a half of Chicago. And it was way before the Bartman incident. I'm sorry, but didn't Cubs fans flip cars after beating Atlanta in the first round? Didn't Wrigleyville turn into a Juggalo festival every day and night towards the end of that season? Didn't Chicago just turn into mush for a month? That's why I don't like the Cubs. I really don't have anything against the baseball team. I think it's just the fans — and not the fans on a lazy August afternoon, but the fans when the game is on the line. The NFC Championship game last year brought intensity and excitement, but nobody flipped a car. The White Sox beat the Boston Red Sox in the first round of the AL playoffs in 2005 and mobs didn't try to take down light poles. You expect that behavior from the Sox fan (it's sort of their reputation), but it never really happened. Even up to the World Series victory. It was jubilant, not frenzied. So yeah, that's why I don't root, root, root for the Cubbies...anymore.</p><p>And I know that I'm not alone.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>C story</strong>: The Occupy Wall Street movement got a nice shot in the arm on Facebook, thanks to a <a href="http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/44679119#44679119">stirring commentary from Lawrence O'Donnell</a>. So enough of the "mainstream media refuses to cover us!!!!" rant that floods my Twitter feed. Are we cool? What's going on with <a href="http://progressillinois.com/quick-hits/content/2011/09/27/occupy-chicago-protest-grows-despite-attempts-stop-it-video">Occupy Chicago</a>? It just goes to show, if you want the media's attention, get beat up by police. That's in the old mainstream media handbook: Anything about housing prices going down or police beating up college kids - automatic. (<em>Editors note: There is no such handbook</em>)</p><p>I will say this - the mark of a good protester is how you hold up when it is raining sideways. Today, it's raining sideways.</p><p><strong>D story</strong>: Yeah! <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/halvorson-announce-next-week-if-shell-challenge-jackson-democratic-primary-92515">Debbie Halvorson will announce this week whether or not she'll run against incumbent congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.</a> That's an old rivalry. It's not quite Green Bay/Chicago, but more like Detroit/Minnesota. It's definitely a noon game rivalry. But still, a rivalry nonetheless!</p><p><strong>Weather</strong>: Yeah, rain.</p><p><strong>Sports</strong>: Today is the last day of the MLB regular season. I have to say that it might have been the worst in recent Chicago history. These two teams were just downright awful. Nobody expected much from the Cubs and the Sox just imploded. Wait till next year. Sox GM Kenny Williams supposedly has a short <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/7914666-419/ken-williams-narrows-his-list-for-next-white-sox-manager.html">list of managers to replace Ozzie</a>. Oz will be <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/7030013/florida-marlins-introduce-ozzie-guillen-new-skipper">announced as the new manager of the Marlins this afternoon</a>. That press conference should interrupt regularly scheduled programming, eh? And will <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/7914751-419/aramis-ramirez-says-he-wouldnt-mind-playing-for-ozzie-guillen.html">Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano join Ozzie in Florida</a>?</p><p>Also, I can't believe that there hasn't been more media outcry over the fact that an NFL game was stopped due to a <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/866335-smg-management-of-soldier-field-a-sob-sod-story">nail-like object sticking out of the Soldier Field turf</a>. Is that not a story? It seems like a story, especially with the recent woes of the Park District to maintain a professional-grade field. Didn't they cancel Family Fest night because the field wasn't in shape? Will someone please tell me what is going on?</p><p>Kicker: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/mark-bazer/2011-09-27/you-are-soooo-tight-or-one-way-conversation-massage-therapist%E2%80%99s-92470">Have you had this conversation with your massage therapist</a>?</p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 13:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-09-28/attention-tax-man-here-are-few-more-suggestions-nex-taxes-wont-you-a Bears to play Packers on newly-sodded Soldier Field http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-play-packers-newly-sodded-soldier-field-92299 <p><p>The Chicago Bears will have new grass to play on this Sunday, just in time for their game against Green Bay.</p><p>Last season, the field drew complaints from both opposing teams and the Bears for being hard to play on and having ruts. In August, the Bears had to cancel a practice session, because the turf was deemed unsafe for players.</p><p>The organization that manages Soldier Field announced in August it was changing vendors, but was sticking with natural grass. Bears' head groundskeeper Ken Mrock says that more sand in the new grass will help keep the field dry.</p><p>“When we go into this fall season, when we have rain and things like that – and snow – and this field is heated, we can melt that and let it drain through, so that it gets off the top layer and it keeps the surface playable and safe,” Mrock said in a press briefing.</p><p>Soldier Field was scheduled to be re-sodded before the Bears' home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears and field management deemed the turf safe for play before that game and agreed to postpone the re-sodding until this week.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-play-packers-newly-sodded-soldier-field-92299 Bears to get new turf this season http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-get-new-turf-season-91085 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-26/AP110813152391.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Soldier Field officials say they're working with the Chicago Bears to make sure a new field is installed in time for the team's Sept. 11 home opener against the Atlanta Falcons.</p><p>The Bears canceled a practice earlier this month because the field's turf was deemed unsafe for players. On Thursday, officials with Soldier Field said they're working with an agronomist and a vendor preferred by the team to install a new natural grass field.</p><p>The field will be installed over Labor Day weekend. Officials say it "will best suit the team and will ensure the players' comfort."</p><p>Soldier Field officials also asked the NFL's Super Bowl groundskeeper to lend his expertise.</p><p>The field is owned and maintained by the Chicago Park District. The Bears have a lease to play there.</p></p> Fri, 26 Aug 2011 15:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/bears-get-new-turf-season-91085 Emanuel weighs in on Soldier Field turf http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-weighs-soldier-field-turf-90313 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_6413.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is weighing in on the long-standing controversy over the turf at Soldier Field. The field is run by the city's park district and is made of grass instead of artificial turf.</p><p>Last week, the Chicago Bears canceled an open practice at the stadium, blaming poor field conditions. Emanuel told reporters Tuesday the park district is looking into the matter.</p><p>"I want the players and the teams that come and the fans that want to go to the Soldier Field to find a method, or, actually, a facility that is reliable," he said at a news conference on an unrelated matter.</p><p>Bears' players have openly complained about playing on grass, saying there are too many divots. The Park District has said the field will be ready for the Bears' first pre-season game on Saturday.</p></p> Tue, 09 Aug 2011 19:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-weighs-soldier-field-turf-90313 Chicago Bears season ticket prices to rise for 2011 season http://www.wbez.org/story/american-football/chicago-bears-season-ticket-prices-rise-2011-season <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/bears Drew Migdal.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you're a Chicago Bears season ticket holder get ready to shell out more money for seats in 2011. Scott Hagel is a spokesman for the Bears. He said it's the first time in three years they've raised prices.</p><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about remaining economically competitive in our league and to build a championship team,&quot; he said.&rdquo; When you look at our environment we are the largest single market team, yet we have the smallest stadium in the NFL.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Non-club ticket holders could pay up to $15 more per seat while club ticket holders could expect to pay $10 to $30 more a game. Hagel said prices won&rsquo;t be affected for fans buying single game tickets.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In other Bears news, head coach Lovie Smith has signed a two-year contract extending his leadership through the 2013 season. Next year&rsquo;s season will be Smith&rsquo;s 8th with the Bears.</div></p> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 22:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/american-football/chicago-bears-season-ticket-prices-rise-2011-season Soldier Field groundskeeper says turf is ready for playoff game http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/soldier-field-groundskeeper-says-turf-ready-playoff-game <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_6805.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The head groundskeeper at Soldier Field says the turf is ready for Sunday's Bears playoff game.</p><p>Soldier Field is one of the last in the NFL to use real grass instead of artificial turf. Add to that hard surface the fact that Soldier Field is open to the air and not in a dome, and you have a recipe for players to complain about the conditions of the field. Earlier this season, Bears' Quarterback Jay Cutler said Soldier Field was one of the worst football fields in the NFL.</p><p>Groundskeeper John Nolan jokingly said he tried not to let the criticism get to him.</p><p>&quot;My steering wheel gets beat up a few times when I'm driving,&quot; Nolan said. &quot;But normally it comes with the job so we deal with it.&quot;</p><p>Nolan said the turf is as playable as it can be for the middle of January. He said it's been completely re-sodded in preparation for Sunday's game.</p><p>The Bears face off against the Seattle Seahawks at noon.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 15 Jan 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/soldier-field-groundskeeper-says-turf-ready-playoff-game