Over the last couple of years I have made comments here on the site and have often thought about writing a fan post. But what should I write about? Well, now that we are on the doorstep of a new season, it got me thinking about when I first started following the Chargers and what a roller-coaster ride it has been since then. I am planning to write a few posts about my journey as a Chargers fan in Australia.
So, how does a young Australian lad in high school become a Chargers fan? A sport not well supported in Australia. A sport often made fun of because of the wearing of pads and helmets. A sport often misunderstood as a game that stops to much and is played in 10 second bursts. Admitting that you like American Football at high school here is almost an invitation to get bashed. Here you come out of the closet for two things and one of them is your love of Gridiron. Things have mellowed over time but the general feeling remains the same.
Well the year was 1989 and once a week on the Government (non-commercial) television channel there was a highlights package of the NFL. I used to watch this each week. I was already interested in basketball and played this regularly so why not another 'American' sport. After a few weeks of watching I decided that my favorite player was Randall Cunningham, he seems to be a highlight reel waiting to happen, so logically I thought I would be an Eagles fan. No one at my school had even heard of Cunningham or the Philadelphia Eagles. I started asking a few of my friends about the NFL and the only names that were mentioned were Montana and Rice. People had heard of the New York Giants, the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys (more because of chick called Debbie).
One day our Physical Education (Gym) teacher suggested we play a game of Gridiron. He had lived in the US as an exchange teacher for a year. None of my classmates knew the positions or the rules of the game. He tried to teach us but most struggled. I had watched enough television by this stage to understand the basics of the game. I quite enjoyed playing the game for the first time and caught a TD pass from the teacher who was playing QB. He was impressed that I was interested in the game and after class gave me a stick-pin that he had brought back from the US. Guess which team was on the pin? That's right, the San Diego Chargers. On it was the horses head with the lightning bolt through it. From that time on I decided that this team would be my team. A team I had never even heard of before. Were they a good team? I wouldn't know. Who were their players? No idea, but from then on I was a Chargers fan. Goodbye Eagles (even though I still liked Randall).
I thought to myself I better actually learn the game properly and find out about this new team of mine. Hopefully this new team of mine is a great team. So I went to the newsagent to buy myself my first ever Pro Football Weekly Season Preview magazine for the 1989/90 season. So what did I learn about the Chargers? Well that might be a good place to start for my next post.