I get told, quite often, that I'm angry. I also get asked, quite often, why I am so angry. This is always done electronically, and always in regards to either this website or the social media properties tied to it.
It happened this morning, as a matter of fact, in response to this long rant (you can skip this rant if you're not interested, it's mostly just being used as an example of me being angry):
If you think the health of the San Diego Chargers players, and the continuing neglect and willful ignorance by the team to do anything to protect said players, is the reason why I often seem "angry" at the team...you're not right or wrong. It's just one small part.
The truth of the matter is, I love the Chargers. I love the Chargers with my entire being. I love them so much that I dedicate 10 or so hours per week "covering them" in blog form after working 70 or so hours per week at my full-time job (which is also in sports media, in case you were thinking that I need the blog as my "escape").
Just like most of you, a Chargers loss ruins my Sunday and sometimes my Monday. Just like most of you, I have jerseys for Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Antonio Gates. Jerseys that were purchased at a time when I didn't have much in the way of expendable income. That's how important it was for me to show off my team pride.
I even have a tattoo!
The Chargers are such a part of my existence, my thought process, my life and my being that I made them a part of my skin forever. I dedicate every gameday to them, often times turning down fun events and adventures with friends and family to make sure that, come kickoff time, I'm sitting in front of my television ready to take notes.
So, where does the anger come from? Why do I often rail against the team? Why am I one of their harshest critics?
It's because the Chargers don't deserve my love and adoration, and they don't deserve yours, either.
Many people dedicate a day of the week, and a part of their existence, to God and religion. My "religion" is the San Diego Chargers. My "god" is the people that work at Chargers Park, that stand on the sidelines during games, that have the ability to affect the outcome and, therefore, my emotions for the foreseeable future.
Those people, by and large, suck. Not just performance wise, but in terms of reciprocating appreciation and love. I could buy every jersey the team sells, season tickets, and scream at every home game until my throat bleeds...and would I ever feel like they noticed? They cared? It mattered?
No, but that's okay. That's true of most fans of most professional sports teams. We've moved past that level of crazy. We're okay with having proxies. Those proxies are the players. The ones we're screaming our throats bloody for.
Treat the players well. Take care of them. Make them happy, coach them up to help them progress in their career to the point that they can attain some of their lifelong goals, and give them a nice ceremony when they move on to the next chapter of their life. That is what we, as fans, ask for.
The current iteration of the Chargers, going back to at least the start of the Norv Turner era, does a terrible job at all of these things. The Mike McCoy era has far and away been the worst. The players aren't being taken care of. They're not happy. They're not progressing in their skills because they're not being coached properly. Even the ones that should be kept around for future entrance into the Chargers Hall of Fame are being shuffled out the door at an alarming pace.
What reason is left to root for this team outside of simple repetition and habit? What, outside of the name "Chargers" on the jersey, does anyone like about this team right now?
If you're rooting for them because of the players, be prepared for a rough offseason. Malcom Floyd, Eric Weddle, and Antonio Gates will likely be wearing different uniforms or watching at home from their couch next season. (Also, Philip Rivers is very obviously frustrated with the team and the coaching staff at the moment, and probably didn't enjoy his name being brought up in trade rumors over the offseason.)
If you're rooting for the players themselves, a logical viewpoint might be that those players would be better off with another team. One that more acutely values them, protects them, and puts them in a position to accomplish their lifelong dreams.
If you're rooting for them because they represent your home city, the team has done nothing to make you want to root for them this season. They have made it known publicly that it is their desire to move to Carson, which likely is not your home city, and are actively trying to facilitate such a move.
So, I ask again...why are the Chargers worthy of your love and admiration?
I'll stick with the team. I know that I'll outlive this round of coaches and GMs and ownership. I know that things won't stay bad forever. I know that we're one Marty Schottenheimer-like hire away from turning this thing around and having a team that we can be proud of again. I hope you'll do the same, but I also hope that you'll understand when I'm angry, why I'm angry, and sometimes realize that it's okay to demand more for the price of your love.