Natalie Mander, Sports Editor

Two teachers at Joliet West have taken Bears’ games tailgating to a new level for the 2013 football season. Mr. Karczewski and Mr. Gentile have created the fanBEARlance, a renovated ambulance that is taken to the home games of the Chicago Bears football team.

Mr. Karczewski and Mr. Gentile purchased the ambulance in late November of 2012 as a way to take tailgating up a notch. He and Karczewski now take the fanBEARlance to every Bears home game. “We bought the ambulance with the intent of tail gating. After doing some renovations, we took it a few home games last season,” says Karczewski.

The fanBEARlance is fairly noticeable from afar. With a customized orange and navy blue paint job, it catches the attention from onlookers. “We get really good reactions from people. A lot of honks, double takes and waves when we’re driving to the games,” says Gentile. Karczewski also adds, “People love it! They want to look on the inside… It’s pretty cool to see the reactions we can get from people.”

The top of the car includes a rack that allows people to stand on top. As for the interior, the back of the fanBEARlance is decked out in in a U-shaped couch that can seat up to ten to twelve people. With a built in top of the line speaker system to play music, Karczewski and Gentile can entertain and unwind with others.

More recently, the fanBEARlance made an appearance at Joliet West’s Friday flyover on September 27th. Staff and students noticed the wild car right away, often commenting on the exterior decal that can be seen from miles. Athletic secretary Mrs. Hauert commented on the fanBEARlance and even got a view of the inside. “I think bringing the fanBEARlance to West the morning of the Friday Flyover was a FANTASTIC idea!  Between the fanBEARlance, the rocking music, and the delicious breakfast made by teachers, I hoped it would bring more excitement to the students. I thought it was an excellent way of tying it in to our morning Tiger tailgate party,” says Hauert.

Besides Hauert, many other staff members have seen the fanBEARlance and have been fortunate enough to tailgate with the duo on Sundays. Mr. Plechaty, Mr.Ruch, Mr.Mart and Mr.Narducci are just some of lucky people to tailgate in the car. Narducci commented on the van saying, “I am quite impressed with all of the detailing that they both have done to it, but I definitely would have went with a green and gold color scheme instead.  Mr. Karczewski & Mr. Gentile have been gracious enough to invite me to ride along with them to a bears/packers game, and I cannot wait to join them again in the future so that I can taste Mr. Karczewski’s award winning gumbo.”

Gentile and Karczewski are always thinking of ways to improve the fanBEARlance, including adding vinyl blue and orange carpeting to the interior. In November, they also plan on bringing the car to a 5k charity race called the Ditka Dash to show some more Chicago sports pride.