Super Bowl Parade Band Sacked By Bears Fans
CHICAGO (AP) _ Members of a high school marching band came away from the huge Super Bowl victory parade downtown feeling like victims of the Chicago Bears’ defense: bruised and battered.
The Lane Technical High School band’s plans to regale joyous Bears fans with brassy renditions of the team’s fight song, ″Bear Down Chicago Bears″ and ″Everything’s Coming Up Roses″ were crushed when the crowd grew to more than 300,000 people.
″Some of the kids were hyperventilating from being scared and being squashed,″ marching band director Eugene Mitofsky said Thursday. ″All the students and chaperones have black-and-blue marks and scratches.
″We started up a song a couple of times on the route, hoping the people would hear it and move back,″ he said. ″But I don’t know if the people could have moved back, even if they’d wanted to.″
Police and parade organizers said they had expected 125,000 to 150,000 fans to line LaSalle Street in the financial district to greet the champion Bears. Instead the crowd spilled into the street and zealous fans sought bird’s-eye views on light poles and street signs.
″It was a workday, a school day and it was cold,″ said deputy police Superintendent John Jemilo. ″Had anyone suggested the crowd would be larger we would have changed the route to something like Michigan Avenue.″
The Lane Tech band has played in many city parades on St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas, Mitofsky said, but crowds were dispersed along longer routes. And none was centered around an event like the Super Bowl that aroused such wild celebrating.
The band’s 115 members were unable to perform after a half-dozen instruments were lost in the crunch and the rest were damaged, he said. The city agreed to pay repair costs estimated at $5,000 to $6,000, he said.
″A guy in the crowd pulled off the bottom of one girl’s flute and told her, ’Now I have a souvenir,‴ Mitofsky said. ″One girl lost both her shoes.″
About 10 students were treated for hyperventilation, and countless others for minor injuries. One musician was put in a neck brace and another left on crutches after spraining an ankle.
″I got pushed onto my knees once and people started walking over me ... There just wasn’t any room,″ said Amy Mattson, 16, a flute player.
Mitofsky said the city’s Office of Special Events, which organized the parade, apologized to the school.
″The kids were disappointed because we put in a lot of extra effort ... and things didn’t turn out the way we wanted,″ he said. ″We’re not pointing a finger at anyone.″