*hot townsummer in the city
when the sun beats down / and
burns the tar up on the roof ... just the old hot feeling
which brings back feelings of the Chargers training camp in 1963.
Roough Acres if there ever were any ... I worked there after high school
and recall the heat and the dirt and the laying down of the cornerstone for the Chargers' best alltime season (until this one !) Conversations among the scrub brush hills with various names you may know or probably (surely) don't.
No. 55 from USC ...my buddy, Frank Buncom ... passed away after being chosen by the Bengals in the expansion draft ... but still residing as the first name in the Ring of Honor at the Q. Two Big Bad gentlemen, Earl Faison and Ernie Ladd, liable to crumple up a metal bed and eject it from their cabin to underscore its lack of adequate size. Keith Kinderman from Florida (rookie DB who didn't make it) with the nerve to pretend bringing a tarantula into the meeting room and dropping it ... turning that mother out ! Humble career beginnings – Walter Sweeney, special teams terror ...Don Breaux, future QB guru ... **never forget your playbook !
Being called up to the Lodge in the night by Sir Sid himself to please remove a stray frog from the film room where he worked late, conjuring Offense –– no problem there, when you're working with T. Rote, J. Hadl, P. Lowe, K. Lincoln, L. .Alworth, D. Kocourek, R. Mix, E. Wright ... and quite a few more ridiculously talented fantasy selectees! (As Boston found out later that season in the Championship game, when they were Redacted, 51-10, to make the Chargers champions of the AFL ! ) WE TRULY RULED ... and will again !
This team feels like that team ... its diversity and unexpected strengths ... uncanny lack of hubris ... ability to work ... and level-headed lockeroom leaders.
I'm happy to make this Charger voyage in the company of Bolts From The Blue, a global / local posse worthy of toting the Lightning flag into the endzone again!
*Oh, yes ... it was an earlier hot summer, in 1959 ... a year after I discovered and began following pro football, and celebrated Johnny U's championship over the hated Giants ... the time when the football prospectus mags hit the newsstand, I read a short article announcing plans to form a new pro league, The American Football League, including a team in LA called the Chargers, after a credit card ... which immediately became my second-favorite team (after the Baltimore Colts). A year later, to become my FaveTeamForever when they moved to a hastily-renovated civic treasure, Balboa Stadium !
There were some 15-year old fans in my circle who considered it disloyal to abandon one's pre-AFL favorite team in favor of the somewhat-suspect new league ... and some like me who bought the ticket right away.
*And I'm still paying for it ... happily!