With the draft season and schedule release behind us, we are entering the doldrums of the NFL offseason for the next 3 months. Unless there are a few signings, there might not be much to discuss until training camp starts. With this being the case, I thought it would be a fun exercise to get to know the great community here at BFTB a little more. Since I first stumbled upon this site in 2017 looking for Chargers draft coverage, I have been hooked being able to comment and post about my favorite football team. While I was expecting to be the outsider to a bunch of San Diego natives, I was admittedly surprised to see fans from all over the country chiming in. Over the years the site has grown to include more nationwide fans and even fans in different countries and continents!! It has been a blast to share exchanges and ideas with such a large array of fans and have gotten to know a little more about some of you. As I was reading through the comments of some posts lately I started wondering how the Chargers, a team with a notoriously small fanbase, had gained fans from such a wide array of areas and wondered if there were any great stories associated with becoming Charger fans? It could be anything from family birthright or a favorite player to the time zone or awesome uniform. I know I have a unique story which led to my fandom, so I thought it would be cool to hear yours. I will get us started on this journey into Charger Fandom.
As some of you may know, my name is Erick and I live on the East coast just outside of NYC on Long Island which is just about as far as you could be (in the continental USA) from either San Diego or Los Angeles for that matter. I have been a true fan of the team since I was about 10 years old somewhere around 1986. I guess in a weird way I can attribute my fandom to my father and my pee wee football coach. That was my first season of organized football. I knew how to throw and catch, but knew almost nothing else. Since those were my only redeeming football qualities, I was made the starting WR and the backup QB. Truth be told, I was just happy to get out there with visions of me stiff arming my way into the end zone. When it was time to get uniforms the coach just assigned them based on positions. Since I was also the backup QB I couldn't get a # in the 80's so I was given #14. The kids on the team thought I was so lucky because the New York Jets QB, Richard Todd, was #14. When I got home and showed my dad I said "isn't this cool, I'm like Richard Todd, he's #14 to." My dad, with a look of disgust said "you don't want to be him, that guy sucks." So my natural reply was "OK then who is a good #14?" Without hesitation my dad said "Dan Fouts on San Diego wears #14. He's a QB also and he's great." The only thing I knew about them was the cool helmet with the lightning bolt because I had one of the plastic mini helmets you got for ten cents from the vending machine outside the supermarket. Now my dad was a huge football fan in general and didn't really have a team, but leaned Giants slightly. Without a team being passed down from him, I was able to explore my own fandom. Now, being in the NYC area and having two local teams, we usually only got the Jets and Giants as our two games for the Sunday slate. However, if those games were a blowout or ended a little early the networks would give us bonus coverage from the west coast games that were in the 4th quarter. This is where I was able to get a glimpse of the Chargers in action and I was mesmerized. However, back in the '80s there was no internet or Amazon to be able to order merch of any team, so all that was available to me was Jets and Giants stuff being sold locally. Luckily, my dad was a NYC cop who worked in Mid Town Manhattan which had a store called Jerry Cosby's. There you could get merch of every sports team from posters to jerseys. That is where my favorite Christmas gift from Santa came that year. My San Diego Charger wristbands. I wore them everywhere and especially at every basketball practice and game that season. From there, my Chargers swag collection grew as my dad was a frequent customer at Cosby's. A few years later, they opened up a giant sports bar 5 minutes away that played all the games every Sunday and I was able to follow them even closer than just reading the box scores in the news paper and the rest is history. The growth of the internet and broadcasting has made it easier and easier for me to follow my favorite team from 3,000 miles away to become the fan I am today. Who knows who I would be following as a fan today if my dad never said the words "Dan Fouts." Well that's my story. Now it's time to hear yours. Feel free to add any nuggets of how you became a fan, any cool stories about being a fan or any cool experiences you have as a fan. Anything is fair game and no story or comment is to weird or long. This is YOUR story and I want to know all about it, so lets hear it!!!