It started back in 1961, the city of San Diego finally had a football team in the NFL--the Chargers. Throughout these past 55 years, there have been some ups. The Dan Fouts Era in the 70's, Junior Seau's legacy, not just for the team, but for San Diego itself, the Super Bowl appearance of 1995, and the LT, Gates, and Rivers Era. There have also been many downs. Take this past season, for example, it was hard on every fan and player involved. Being a Charger fan has taught me so many things, and seeing them go to LA felt like a knife going through my heart. I could not begin to think about what past players and legends would think about this move. I could not imagine LaDainian Tomlinson being inducted into the Hall Of Fame in Los Angeles. I did not want to imagine Antonio Gates breaking the touchdown record in Los Angeles. And I knew that the Chargers would not be accepted in the 'City of Angels'.
I have been living in LA for about 6 months now and hardly any of the people I have met from here are Charger fans, it is always either the Raiders or another team. Of course, this is not a bad thing; but it might be for this football team. In San Diego, there are so many fans who have loved and supported them through every losing season, and have also celebrated with them through every winning season.
My entire family, on both sides, is made up of Charger fans. I grew up with the games on every Sunday or Monday night. I learned the ins and outs of football by watching them play. My uncle has bought our family a Charger ornament every year since I can remember. Little did we know, the 2016 ornament would be the last. Little did we know, the last game I attended would be the last game played in Qualcomm Stadium. The lessons I have learned through the years from this team will stay with me for the rest of my life.
One lesson I have learned from the Chargers is perseverance. Through every losing season, I witnessed the players never giving up, and I took that to my personal volleyball career. I give credit to the Chargers for teaching me to never give up and never stop trying, no matter what the score is. From players like Philip Rivers and Junior Seau, I have learned extraordinary leadership. Watching first-hand what Rivers is able to do, despite having all odds against him, has given me the perfect example of what it means to be both a captain and a leader on and off the field. Seau is the reason my number was always #55--I wanted to play at the intensity and the power in which he did. The last--and probably the most important--lesson the San Diego Chargers taught me was loyalty. Many 'fans' of the team would only support them if they were having a winning season and towards the end, the true fans remained. Those fans, like me and my family, stayed loyal to them; never supported another team over the Chargers, and always supported them--win or lose. Since the city of San Diego has been so loyal to this team and the players for so many years, I wish the owners showed us the same loyalty, and didn't take our team.
When I went to the last game against the Chiefs, I was sitting next to a little girl and her father. This girl was maybe 3 or 4 years old, yet she was cheering for everything and rocking #17 on her jersey. I couldn't help but think of my first game I went to, in the same stadium, wearing #21, when I was the same age as her. It made me sad to think that this was probably her first and last game in San Diego.
At this moment, I don't know what to think or what is the correct thing to do. Do I become a fan for a city I dislike? Or do I begin the search for a new team to support? All I know, is I will never love and support a team as much as I did for the San Diego Chargers.