The Chargers Are Shocking The World

The Chargers Are Shocking The World

After a sluggish start, L.A.'s newest team has Super Bowl aspirations.
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The Los Angeles Chargers are lighting up the NFL, and every week they get closer and closer to locking up their ticket to the playoffs. However, the most shocking factor in the Chargers improbable run is that after an abysmal 0-4 start to the season, L.A. could actually end the season with an unthinkable result: a Super Bowl championship.

When last season ended, the controversial decision to move the Chargers out of their long-time home of San Diego to a new location just outside of Los Angeles stirred the hearts of many fans. The Chargers’ front office had betrayed their fanbase in a move that was the result of a clear-cut money grab that even the greediest of owners would shake their heads in disbelief at.

In fact, when the Chargers lost 3 of their first 4 games in the NFL’s smallest stadium, the idea of moving the Chargers back to San Diego was not too far fetched.

However, in Week 5 of the 2017 season, the Chargers traveled to New York to play one of the only other 0-4 teams in the league, the Giants. After a convincing win over New York, the Chargers became hell-bent on turning their season around and becoming the 2nd team in history to make the playoffs after starting the season with four consecutive losses. Now, with the playoffs only 3 weeks away, the Chargers are in a prime position to take home a division title and secure a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Over the span of their last 9 games, the Chargers have managed to win 7 and currently find themselves in a deadlocked tie with Kansas City for first place in the AFC West. The Chargers and Chiefs will break that tie this upcoming Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium, with the winner most likely securing the AFC West title.

However, with the way the Chargers have been surging, it only makes sense for them to come out on top next week. Los Angeles has the perfect opportunity to drive the final nail into the rest of the West as they play a Chiefs team that has lost 4 of their last 5 games on Saturday and a mediocre Jets team the following Sunday. The Jets will be forced to play without their starting Quarterback, Josh McCown, who broke his left hand during Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Broncos. The Chargers will finish the regular season at home against the Raiders, a team that has struggled to find their footing all season, and will most likely be missing star receiver Amari Cooper after he suffered an ankle injury on Sunday during Oakland’s 26-15 loss to the Chiefs.

All three of these games are incredibly winnable for Los Angeles, as they will continue to make their playoff push and look to secure a division title within the coming weeks. The Chargers’ stars are certainly shining bright, as well, as Quarterback Philip Rivers has posted 300 passing yards in 3 consecutive games, while Wide Receiver Keenan Allen has surpassed the 100 receiving yards for the fourth consecutive game, a feat no Charger has ever accomplished before. If Rivers and Allen can keep up this level of production, they would unquestionably become the most proficient QB/WR duo in the league, surpassing Atlanta’s combination of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, and even surpassing Pittsburgh’s legendary combination of Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown.

It is obvious that the Chargers will ride their wave to the playoffs through the passing game, as Keenan Allen, Tight End Hunter Henry, and even Running Back Melvin Gordon all provide Rivers with viable threats downfield as the Chargers will look to pummel their opponents through the air. Los Angeles demonstrated this deadly passing game on Sunday as Josh Norman and the Redskins defense had no answer for Rivers and the Chargers, as L.A came out on top with a convincing 30-13 victory over Washington.

Victories like these will continue to pile up if the Chargers keep playing at this pace, and a playoff berth seems imminent for the Bolts. However, L.A might not be a team destined for an early exit, like many people would seem to believe.

The Chargers’ main strength is their passing game. The more they throw the ball, the better their chances of winning are. In order to reach the Super Bowl, the Chargers would most likely have to play the New England Patriots, whose main weakness this season has been their defense against the pass. In fact, the Patriots shockingly find themselves 29th in the league when it comes to their defensive play against opposing Quarterbacks. New England’s star corner and Super Bowl 49 hero, Malcolm Butler, has been a non-entity for the Patriots, and their weak defense against opposing air games has made life just a little bit more difficult for Quarterback Tom Brady and the rest of the New England offense. The Chargers would also find favorable matchups against the Ravens, who are missing their star Cornerback, Jimmy Smith, and even the Steelers, who have given up 20 points in three consecutive games.

However, the road to the Super Bowl absolutely runs through New England, but the Chargers still have at least a month before they can even think about a meeting with Brady for an AFC title. For now, they can at least find solace in the fact after an abysmal start to the season, they control their own destiny, and have a chance to become the second team ever to reach the playoffs after an 0-4 start.

That other team? The 1992 San Diego Chargers.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Taking A Step Back From My Sport Allowed Me To Be Able To Work On These 3 Things

Sometimes you need time away to appreciate the things you love.

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Since the age of nine, horses have been my whole life. Before college, I never had your typical teenage experience. My weekends were spent driving two hours one way to train with a top show barn. My mom and I lived out of our suitcases during the summers, traveling from one show to the next.

The only glimpse of the senior prom I got was through Snapchat's my friends sent of them having the time of their life, while I was going to bed at nine to make sure I had plenty of sleep to compete the next day. I even graduated early to go work for a show barn in Florida for five months. I missed out on a lot, but it never felt that way because of how passionate I was about the sport. I was all in, I loved the thrill of competing, the early mornings, the long days, and most of all: the horses. If you would have told me that I would be here writing about feeling burned out a year ago, I would have laughed.

Going away to college and having to put a bit of pause on my athletic career allowed me to take a step back, breathe, and realize there is so much more than horse shows and blue ribbons to this world. If I could instill a piece of wisdom to my younger self it would be that taking a step back at times is the best thing you can do for yourself. Here is what I learned:

1. Mental health

As many of you know, the pressure of succeeding can put a toll on anyone. I have always been extremely hard on myself, but when I was showing almost every weekend I really started to notice that I would feel upset more than I felt happy. I could win the class but still, come out of the ring criticizing myself over every little thing that went wrong. Because of this, I went into the ring nervous and doubtful. It wasn't fun anymore.

After taking a step back, I have realized that there will always be ups and downs in any sport. I now go into the ring much more confident and I come out smiling- even when it didn't go as planned. There will always be another chance.

2. Physical health

Like any sport, riding takes a toll on your body. After working in Florida for five months, riding up to 12 horses a day, I really felt like something was wrong with my back. However, I pushed through the pain, convincing myself of the quote "no pain no gain". I continued to ignore it, until one day it was unbearable.

I went to the doctor and sure enough, I had herniated my L5 disc. He told us this was completely preventable if I would have rested or taken an hour out of my day to ice and stretch when the pain started. After months of healing and being on a first name basis with my chiropractor, I have realized just how important it is to put my wellness first.

3. Relationships

Taking a step back has also allowed me to develop better relationships with myself, family, and friends. Before, I had such a narrow mind frame and would allow my performance to dictate how I treated people that day. Now after a rough day, I am much better at putting it behind me and not dwelling on it.

I have also realized that I need time to just be "still". Practicing yoga, or meditating for five minutes has made a world of a difference in my relationship with myself (yes, that is a thing).

While packing up to go to school this past August, knowing I would be taking a step back from the sport I love, I felt as though I would never ride as well as I did when it consumed my whole life. But I couldn't have been more wrong. I am now going into the show ring with a clear mind and leaving with a smile on my face.

To my surprise, it has been more than me starting to have fun again- I am riding better, and getting more consistent results than I had before. So, to all those athletes out there that fear to take a step back from their own sport, I am here to tell you that it may just be the best thing you can do for your performance and yourself...

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