I haven’t always been a Chargers fan. There was a time when I was much younger and naive that I’m not proud of...
Until about 5 years old I was a fan of the Raiders. I know, terrible right? Even worse, I was a Jeff Hostetler fan. For those of you that don’t remember or know that name, lucky you. This was the fault of my older brother’s best friend at the time. He was a Raiders fan and to annoy my brother I too would root for them. What makes this even more of a sin is that my brother actually chose my name because of Dan Fouts and my parents decided it was perfect. When I became old enough to realize the error of my ways, it was the 1994 season.
What a year for Chargers fans. Great memories of watching the games with my family and the excitement of the Steelers game is something I’ll never forget. Then came Superbowl Sunday. Right from the start, as soon as the 49ers got the ball, my brother said: “As long as they don’t give up a deep pass to Rice they should be ok...” Famous last words. Third play of the game, deep pass to Rice for a touchdown. All downhill from there. One fond memory I have is Natrone Means running in for a one-yard touchdown, but otherwise, I pretty much blocked the rest of that game out.
Then came what felt like the eternal dry spell. I was so excited when the Chargers landed Ryan Leaf in 1998. My brother and I were doing everything possible to collect as many of his rookie cards as we could, as he would undoubtedly be taking the league by storm. Watching that Kansas City meltdown is permanently etched in my brain. That freight train called reality sure can be harsh. I was telling everyone how amazing Jermaine Fazande was going to be too... whoops. I can’t be too angry though as these times would eventually lead to the best years in my lifetime as far as my Charger fandom is concerned.
The LT era is something I’m proud to say I got to see up close 40 plus times. When the Chargers made the playoffs in 2004 my brother got season tickets for us so we could get playoff seats. Living six hours away be damned, we were making every home game. We would do this for the next five seasons until we couldn’t stomach a Norv-lead team anymore. There were times we would make that drive for the game and drive right back afterward. It may seem crazy, but I enjoyed every second of it.
Not being from or having ever lived in San Diego, the relocation process didn’t affect me nearly as much as most. I would still be a fan of the team no matter the city, especially as close of one as LA is (remember I make a six-hour drive, they are basically right next to each other in my view). My fandom is connected to memories of my family and the great times we had traveling to and from games, rooting for them and being sure they would win even though they were atrocious in the early 00’s, thinking they were going to lose every game in the mid-late 00’s even though they were good and everything else in between.
For as much as I will miss the Q, my memories of the amazing times I had there will never fade. I may be in the minority, but I look forward to the memories I will create with my loved ones in the future wherever the team plays.