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I love the San Diego Chargers

Addressing how, and why, I love the San Diego Chargers and professional football.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

I know that sometimes, here and on other places around the internet, people question my fandom. They say that I dislike or even hate the San Diego Chargers.

Training Camp is a few weeks away, and the preseason is a few weeks after that, and I can't sleep. I can't sleep because all I can think about are the Chargers. In my head I'm trying to figure out depth charts, training camp battles, personnel groupings, how things might look a year from now, what if Whiz was actually a wizard, and what gods I can pray to for a healthy Chargers roster this season.

I scrutinize a lot of things. I try to look at everything from a logical point of view. I often take a step back and take off my powder-blue colored "fan" glasses to get the full picture. I'm like a scientist that is in love with the Higgs Boson and I want to dedicate my life to the study and pursuit of finding it. This is how I love.

Ask anyone who knows me, nobody spends more time inside of their own head. It's actually why I love sports. Nothing gets me out of my own head better than watching a game. When the ball is in the air for 30 yards and Keenan Allen is streaking after it, I lose the ability to think, move, and breathe until I know what happens. No amount of deductive reasoning would help me in that situation and I absolutely love that.

I have been to hell and back with this team. I was there for 1-15 and Ryan Leaf, and I was there when LaDainian Tomlinson was carried off the field on the shoulders of his offensive line.I have a tattoo of a Chargers bolt on me. I decided a long time ago that this was my team, and I've spent most of the time ever since reasoning my way through their coaching decisions, roster moves, and overall performance.

I live and die with the successes and failures of the Chargers. I will criticize them for those failures because that's is the result of my analysis. I don't hate the team, far from it, I just can't turn my blind eye to the negative parts of being a fan. Even if they aren't necessarily something to be celebrated, those are still negative parts of something that I love. They're still things I want the team to embrace in hopes of learning from.

I like the positive stuff too. I cheer and jump and scream and dance with the rest of you after big wins. When I was in the press box for San Diego's week 17 squeaker of a victory over Kansas City last year, I stayed and stared at the empty field long after the rest of the press had packed up and gone to the postgame press conference. For me, the story was still on the field. It's always on the field. It's the thing that makes my heart and brain stop for a split second. It's the magic of sports.

You can't truly feel that magic until you're tethered to a team so thoroughly that you're afraid of them. I know damn well that the team can send me spiraling into a bad mood for days or weeks on end and I fear that. I also know that they can put me on cloud 9, as they did with their playoff win against the Bengals. It's the reason I watch and the reason I keep coming back.

So, in summary, I am sorry if I occasionally come off as negative. I'm sorry if I sometimes emotionally separate myself from the team. I'm sorry if I'm willing to criticize them for mistakes as loudly as I applaud them for their successes. This is just the way I'm wired and my way of being a fan, but I can assure you that I love the Chargers and the NFL just as much as any other die-hard fan.