This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have, where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December used to hold such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that make it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.
Dec. 12: Passionate Fans
Many fanbases have unfair associations attached to them (Santa and Philadelphia, for instance), others are just larger than reason seems to dictate (when we the Cowboys last any good? The Raiders? Oh, right, 2016. But before that..!!). The Chargers’ fanbase doesn’t have much in the way of national acclaim or big-name fans (heck, the biggest of which is probably Russel Wilson). This is not an anti-Spanos article, and this is not an anti-LA article. This is an article about how Bolts fans’ blood runs powder blue.
This fanbase, however small compared to others, is passionate. It always has been. When the Chargers were welcomed into San Diego, there were preceded by a feverish campaign by local sportswriter Jack Murphy. Once San Diego had its Chargers, they were a favorite staple for local enjoyment and pride. Heck, they even got a mention in the 1997 movie The Lost World: Jurassic Park. To date, no other football teams have been mentioned specifically in a Steven Spielberg movie.
The Chargers and their fans don’t have the luxury of 5 or 6 Super Bowl rings to hang their hat on. Everyone loves a winner. It’s no wonder that the Patriots, Cowboys, Steelers, and even the old dynasties have their fans. Chargers fans are not fairweather fans (well, okay, that’s meant in the non-literal sense), they follow a team that sucks.. unless they don’t. But there’s no expectation of a postseason run when each season starts, it’s just good old-fashioned football they crave.
To address the elephant in the room, yes, the recent move to LA has splintered the fanbase. The Chargers almost certainly have fewer fans today than they did this time last year. That’s terrible, it’s unforgivable, and it’s reality. However- the years of threatening to move brought out something incredible in fans. Fans poured their hearts into hundreds of disparate campaigns to keep the team in San Diego. Everyone from the original lawyer who wrote the paperwork in 1961 to bring the team to San Diego, to the Chargers Twerk Girl, to Bolt Man counseling the Mayor, to 27+ different local moving companies refusing to move the Chargers came out to show their support, voice their frustration, and bleed for the team they love.
After the move, well, things looked pretty dire. But the passion remained, even if the war to keep the team looked to be over. As reported in USA TODAY, Joseph MacRae is a San Diego native and lifelong Chargers fan who, like many in the city, was not only upset about the team’s move to Los Angeles, but also the way it went down. So, MacRae made a GoFundMe page to raise money to publicly disparage Dean Spanos. What started as an effort to simply purchase billboard space in Los Angeles has turned into a $20,000 campaign. MacRae has raised enough money to purchase flyovers at StubHub Center before every home game this season, on top of the originally planned billboard.
"Am I petty? Absolutely. Am I salty? Definitely," MacRae told USA TODAY Sports. "But it’s just the way that (Spanos) treated San Diego. He deserves this, man, to be honest with you."
Not every fan agrees with his sentiments, and not everyone approves of his methods. However, even the LA faithful must crack a smile with the sort of schadenfreude that comes with such a public spectacle.
Fans of the Chargers are passionate, they are creative, they are often funny, and they can endure a lot. This coming week will certainly test the fans as well as the team—all have endured harder challenges and come out stronger!
-Jason “That’s MR. Fan Boy to you!” Michaels