Bears

Big Victories: A journey to Cambodia

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Big Victories: A journey to Cambodia

Im in Cambodia.

Thats what Ive been reminding myself since I arrived here on Saturday night.

Actually, its come more in the form of a question:

Im in Cambodia??

Ive been told this is the best way to sum up your first 24 hours in this far-off land, a country bordering Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, a place over 8,700 miles away from home.

To get here, the trip began with a 13-hour flight from Chicago to Seoul, South Korea.  After a three-hour layover, there was another five-hour flight to Cambodia. The time difference? 12 hours ahead. As I write this, its 4:36am in Chicago. All of you are probably fast asleep. Me? Im waiting at the Siem Reap airport to board a final flight to Phnom Penh, amazed that I can actually remember my name.

Chuck, right?  

Its been an exhausting first 24 hours, but worth every second of it.

The reason for this extraordinary journey is due to the work of two remarkable human beings. Bill Smith is the longtime team photographer for the Bulls, Blackhawks, and Bears. 10 years ago, while visiting Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, Bill and his wife Lauren came across a vast garbage dump where impoverished children, some wearing tattered clothing, others nothing, were picking garbage for 25 cents a day.

The couple was left stunned, speechless.

Then, two thoughts entered their minds: How could this be happening in the 21st century? And what can we can do to help them?

The answers came in their combined mission to save as many kids as they can from living such a horrific existence.

In 2006, Smith and his longtime friend Joe ONeil, Senior Director of Ticket Operations for the Bulls, formed A New Day Cambodia, a foundation that has rescued over 100 children from the Phnom Penh garbage dump, providing food, shelter, education and a real first chance in life.

Despite coming to them with limited or no schooling, some children have since gone to college, others have gotten jobs in the workforce, while many between the ages of 8 and 21 currently live at the center, making remarkable progress.

Were here in Cambodia this week to see first-hand how Smiths foundation has forever changed the path of these childrens lives. Well also join Bill as he rescues more kids from the garbage dump.

Well have daily updates throughout the week here on CSNChicago.com. A full show will air on Comcast SportsNet at a later date.

It promises to be an inspiring journey.

Click here for more information on A New Day Cambodia.

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Bears-Lions prediction: Will special teams continue John Fox's NFC North woes?

Only three of John Fox’s 12 wins as Bears coach have been against NFC North opponents, while 12 of his 29 losses have come against divisional opponents. 

That’s a recipe for back-to-back-to-back last place finishes in the NFC North. And if the Bears can’t beat an Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers team, why could it beat a Detroit Lions team that has a healthy franchise quarterback?

The positive end of that answer is the Bears do have wins over two playoff teams (Pittsburgh and Carolina) while six of their four losses have been by eight points or fewer. Sunday’s game will probably be close, again (if it’s not, and the Bears are on the losing end of it, it would raise some significant concerns about the state of Fox within the locker room). 

So if the game is decided by one possession or less, this could be the difference: Detroit has one of the best special teams units in the NFL, ranking second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, while the Bears are 28th by the same measure. 

Getting Sherrick McManis back this week should help solidify Jeff Rodgers’ special teams units, but Jamal Agnew has two punt return scores and is averaging 18.3 yards per return. 

“Tough guy — he’ll return inside and outside,” Rodgers said. “He’s got multiple longer returns against people this year. it’s not just, ‘I had a long return in Week 2 or Week 1,’ and kinda held onto that. he’s been productive in a lot of games. certainly a guy that we’ve gotta do a good job against.”

If the Bears don’t do a good job bottling up Agnew, though, he could be the reason why the game flips to Detroit — or, at least, why the Lions keep the Bears at arm’s length. 

Prediction: Lions 24, Bears 16

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Will Kris Dunn build off career night?

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson react to a breakout game from Kris Dunn against the Hornets Friday night. They’ll discuss his development and how it impacts rookie Lauri Markkanen. Plus just how long will both the Wolves and Bulls be judged on the Jimmy Butler trade? Is Dwight Howard a hall of famer? And a new era in Philly with Simmons and Embiid. That and more on this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast.