Bears fan Bob Haskell sports a dress at Rodney's Sports Bar in Highland after losing a bet to Packers fan Joe Philipps, on the right. | Photo provided
Updated: February 20, 2014 6:19AM
Bob Haskell is a lifelong Chicago Bears fan.
Joe Philipps is a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan.
So when their beloved teams played each other in the last game of the regular season, a friendly wager was a no-brainer.
What was the bet for the two co-workers from Highland? The loser had to wear a woman’s dress into their favorite watering hole, Rodney’s Sports Bar in town.
As we all know, the Bears lost, so Haskell lost.
“I didn’t dare try to get out of it because I knew there was no way I’d let Joe out of it,” Haskell told me.
Earlier in the season, Philipps lost a similar bet when his Pack lost to the Bears, so he had to wear a Bears jersey into Rodney’s for a couple of hours. And he did. Not a big deal, really, even between Bears and Packers fans.
But sporting a dress certainly upped the ante on this new bet, so much so that when word got out it raised some eyebrows. And some side bets, too, including at their workplace, Progress Rail Services in East Chicago.
“Lots of people said they would be there to see it,” Haskell said.
This is where the straight-up-the-middle bet takes an end run turn and some razzle-dazzle, thanks to Haskell. He quarterbacked a creative play to turn an obvious negative into a productive positive. How? By taking pledges and donations for a cause that touches most of us — breast cancer.
“Breast cancer has touched me and just about everyone I know in some way or another,” he said. “So I announced that I would be collecting donations for breast cancer research and awareness.”
“I just wanted to have something positive come from the Bears loss, and since I had to have a dress on, I didn’t want to mock women in any way,” he said. “It seemed natural that I collected money for something like breast cancer awareness and research.”
Haskell noted that the popular “Fight Like a Girl” slogan sort of reflected how he felt when it hit him that he would be donning a dress. He decided right there that all the money he raised would be donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.
“I also created a Facebook event to bring more attention to it, and it was very well received,” he added.
Leading up to the, ahem, dressed-up event, his wife, Cindy Haskell, was a true team player through the whole thing. “Most importantly, she helped me get into the dress,” Haskell said.
On a wet and dreary night earlier this month, Haskell’s friends, family and coworkers waited for him to emerge at Rodney’s, from the joint’s “powder room.”
They joked, applauded and took photos when he strolled into the bar, with some patrons tucking their donation into his armless dress. In fact, he ended up keeping the dress on for several hours so other donors could do the same or drop money into his collection jar.
“I just want to extend my sincere appreciation for coming out to see me, but most importantly to support the war on breast cancer,” he told everyone.
When it was all said and done, Haskell raised more than $300 for breast cancer research. And all because of what started as a friendly, if not silly bet between two football fans. Congratulations are in order for Haskell’s overtime touchdown score.
But wait, there’s more, as those bad TV commercials always scream.
With the NFL playoffs taking place today, and the Super Bowl in two weeks, other betting fans should steal a page from Haskell’s playbook, I say.
The Super Bowl is clearly the granddaddy of gambling opportunities for novices and addicts alike. Whether we’re betting in the office pool, against the local bookie, or with others online, the official sports books will handle more than $100 million in wagers.
Not only on the game’s final score but dozens of other “side bets,” too. The gambling chances are almost endless even though most of us will surely get tackled for a loss.
This year, however, when placing your bets with a friend, co-worker or opposing fan, first consider where your wager should go. To each other? Or to a great cause — any cause, any charity, any needed benefactor.
You will still “win” your bet, as Philipps did, but so will others who could use your philanthropy-through-football donation. Plus, I doubt anyone can call Haskell a loser for his betting-line of scrimmage audible. He turned a losing bet into a winning play.
Connect with Jerry via email, at email@example.com, voice mail, at 713-7237, or Facebook, Twitter, and his blog, at jerrydavich.wordpress.com.