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Appreciating what you’ve got while you have it

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It’s impossible to know how the Chargers season is going to play out, but we should appreciate a special team while we have it.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In life, it’s easy to take things for granted.

I could delve into just how miraculous it is that any of us are actually on this planet right now, but I’ll leave that to the evolutionary biologists. Instead, let’s go smaller. It’s probably a fair assumption to make that you thought nothing of loading up whichever internet browser you use to come onto Bolts from the Blue and click on this article. Why would you? Using the internet is as ubiquitous to you as breathing or blinking. It seems more of a necessity than a luxury bestowed on only the fortunate - yet nearly half of the world’s population are still to be connected to the rest of us online. Despite that, who doesn’t get annoyed if a website takes two seconds to load rather than one? (If you can honestly raise your hands to that question, you’re a better person than me).

From what I know about American ISPs, there’s a fair chance the majority of people reading this have gripes about their internet provider that doesn’t make them feel particularly fortunate. That’s fair enough, so let’s go even smaller. What about food? Eating food to sustain yourself is possibly the most innate human behaviour there is, but it’s 2019, and we’re in the modern Western world. If you need food, all you have to do is drive to your nearest Supermarket, where you’ll be presented with an abundance of food from all over the world, neatly pre-packaged for your convenience. The only work that we have to do (apart from choosing what we want, where the sheer variety of choice can paralyse an indecisive person like myself to the point where I get 17 packets of cookies and no actual meals) is taking our bags - which get packed for us - walking the short distance to our car, loading them in, and unpacking them when we get home. That can annoy us too, though, so we’ll grumble about having to go through such an outrageously arduous process. When are we getting robots to do this for us? Would it kill those scientists to do a little work for once?

If we don’t like a certain Supermarket for whatever reason (maybe the workers don’t pack our bags as efficiently as they could, or maybe they only have food from four continents instead of six), we can simply go to a different one that we do prefer. Sometimes, though, we can’t find the energy to cook for ourselves. We’ve had a hard day at work browsing the internet, nervously looking over our shoulder for our boss and switching to a spreadsheet we don’t really understand whenever he appears. That’s draining; we deserve a treat. Why not go out to a restaurant, where professional chefs will make whatever it is we’re craving most? Fear not - if that restaurant won’t, we can simply go somewhere that will.

Sometimes, though, we can’t be bothered to actually go outside to a restaurant and eat. That’s such a hassle! No problem. We can just grab our phone, press a few buttons, and whatever we desire will turn up at our doorstep before we know it. If the app told us it would be there in 20 minutes and it takes 21, we won’t be best pleased about that, either. How hard is it for them to have our food arrive at the arbitrary time they said it would?

This isn’t just a modern problem, but technology has definitely exacerbated it. The gift of technology has given us the curse of instant gratification. Indulgence is all around us, and it’s meant that we struggle to be ‘bored’ for even a second. How many times do you sit down to watch a TV show, only to pick up your phone and mindlessly flick through it when the action drops off? Even as I’m writing this very article, I’ve got music playing from my Spotify account, and the Women’s World Cup on in the background (Come on England!). The constant urge to be doing something - anything! - at every second of every day means that we can avoid being alone with our thoughts. We don’t like our thoughts. They’re tangible, real. Scary. So we use our devices as a means to repress them. The only time they can come out is when we lie in bed trying to fall asleep - as they inevitably do. (Is it any wonder so many people suffer from some form of sleep disorder?)

Never being alone with our thoughts means we can suppress the negative emotions, but it also means that we don’t get the chance to ever really sit down and bask in all the wonderful, beautiful things we have in life. By being so connected, we miss out on connecting with the world around us.

In America, ‘Thanksgiving’ is celebrated. How incredible. A day purely to reflect on all the joy in your life, surrounded by the family that you love. Well, okay, maybe not a whole day. That seems excessive. If we don’t even like embracing our feelings for a minute, how are we meant to do it for a day? Fear not; there’s three games of football on, serving as the perfect distraction. We like football, and we love the Chargers. Even then, though, we don’t necessarily appreciate them. Granted, at times there’s not a lot to appreciate (hi, Mike McCoy!), but that (hopefully) won’t be the case next year.

We don’t have a crystal ball. Sitting here in June, none of us know anything about the way the season is going to pan out. That ignorance in itself is beautiful, because it lets our Utopian-like imaginations take control. The Chargers are unbeaten until they aren’t - and until they aren’t, there’s no reason that they won’t continue to be. (Apart from logic, but why ruin Utopia?)

With that being said, there are some things I do know about the Chargers season. I know that they’re going to win some games. They’re also going to lose some, and that’s okay too. Hopefully, they’re going to win more than they lose, and that will give them a good chance of making the playoffs. The only thing that’s better than January football is playing in that oh-so-tantalizing game in February, and the Chargers go into the season with a not completely unrealistic chance of reaching that game. The very nature of the NFL is that every team goes through periods of health, and periods of being the Cleveland Browns. As Chargers fans, it can sometimes feel like we suffer more than most. It’s rare to go into a season with a legitimate shot at winning the SuperBowl, and it’s almost unheard of to be going into a season with a roster that’s as talented as this one.

On paper, the Chargers have very few holes. They do exist, but they’re minimized by the vast amount of sheer talent that the Chargers have. Led by a future Hall of Famer at Quarterback, there’s an embarrassment of riches at the skill positions. There are Oceans less deep than the Chargers RB room. As for the defense, the biggest weakness is the name for the secondary, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more skilled unit than the JackBoyz anywhere in the NFL.

Realistically, this is one of the most talented Chargers teams we’ll ever have the fortune to witness playing in our lifetimes. It won’t last forever, but that’s all the more reason to embrace and appreciate it while it is here. Soak it in. Enjoy the moment. This is your team, and it looks like being a damn good one this year.

Here’s one more thing I know about the Chargers: They might manage to grasp that elusive ring this year, or they might not. Either way, they’re going to give us all a lot of joy watching them this year.

Hopefully, I’ll be seeing you in February.