OUR SPORTS WORLD
Forty years is more than enough...
It was Air Coryell that got me started as an eight year old fan of the San Diego Chargers. It was the cool lighting bolts on their helmets, the cheesy disco theme song, and the cannon fired after every touchdown that got my attention. It was players like Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, and Charlie Joiner that lit up the scoreboard and made me love the sport. I stayed through the lean years when players like John Friese, Babe Laufenberg, Billy Joe Tolliver, and David Boston littered the roster. I celebrated the gritty 1994 underdogs of Stan Humphies, Natrone Means, and Junior Seau that went brought this city it’s only Super Bowl appearance. And then it was Marty Schottenheimer’s club with Seau, LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, and Philip Rivers that showed San Diego the best football the city has ever seen.
But all of those eras have the same things in common. Heartbreak and disappointment.
Now, it's more than that. In the last fifteen years, the Chargers have found new ways to do break hearts and disappoint. Penalties at the worst times, missed kicks at the end of games, dumb decisions by dumb players, dumb decisions by smart players, turnovers when they couldn’t have them, and failed defensive stops when they needed one. We’ve seen them all. And a few we couldn’t believe when we saw it.
I see organizations like New England, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and New Orleans that have lost players to injury, or free agency, or retirement. And they keep thriving. The Patriots lost Tom Brady for the season in 2008 and still won 11 games. New Orleans lost Drew Brees for five weeks this year and were undefeated during that stretch. Baltimore dropped their Super Bowl winning quarterback and built their entire offensive philosophy around Lamar Jackson. Pittsburgh are on their third quarterback after an 0-3 start and are back in the playoff hunt again.
I thought the team was Sisyphus trying to push the rock to the top. But I realized that I was actually Sisyphus and Chargers were the rock. It’s time I stepped aside and let the rock roll down the hill by itself.
The Chargers? The only thing you can count on as a fan is that they will be behind the NFL curve as they slip on the banana peel. And then, they'll get hurt. Maybe Browns, Bengals, and Jets fans have iron constitutions or are gluttons for punishment, I don't know. But I believe my fandom with the San Diego Chargers has made me see the world through pessimistic eyes. And that’s no way to live a life.
I tried to stay. When many San Diego fans burned or donated all their Charger gear, mine stayed in my closet, ready to wear for the season. Even after a tumultuous and ill-advised move up north the I-5, I tried to stay with it.
But no more. All of those jerseys are now in a Goodwill donation bin close to my house. There’s better things to do than cheer for a team that you know in your heart of hearts will find a million ways to break it in the stupidest way possible.
So long Chargers. I’ve filed for divorce from your team because of irreconcilable differences. I’d wish you good luck, but since as long as Dean Spanos is in charge, all of the luck in the universe isn’t gonna help one damn bit. As they said, you can't fix stupid. For the longest time, I thought the team was Sisyphus trying to push the rock to the top. But I realized that I was actually Sisyphus and Chargers were the rock. It’s time I stepped aside and let the rock roll down the hill by itself.
Is there a version of Tinder for football fandom?