San Diego Chargers fans share their emotions & thoughts on home finale & the Chargers organization

Chargers fans by Marty Caswell

by Marty Caswell

December 20th, 2015 could very well mark the last time the Chargers play in San Diego. Understandably, generations of San Diegans that have supported and loved the  Chargers faithfully during their 54 years in San Diego have mixed emotions as the season of uncertainty comes to an end and the dark cloud of Los Angeles looms.

I asked Chargers fans to share their thoughts and emotions through email and twitter, their heartfelt responses are below and will be updated often.

Chargers game by Marty Caswell
Chargers game by Marty Caswell

“I met my wife at a Padres game, but she fell in love with me at my Charger tailgate parties. We both had season tickets for several years, only giving them up because we now have 2 kids of our own. I hate that this might be the last game the Chargers ever play here. I will never follow the Chargers as a fan up to LA. I may never watch an NFL game again. The saddest part about them leaving is I will never be able to take my kids to a San Diego Charger game in their life. I can tell them stories about how we had great times there, and what it was like when we had a team. I remember the ’94 season fondly, I was there to welcome you back from Pittsburgh, watched the Super Bowl inside the stadium, and I traveled to countless other cities to cheer you on. I thank you for giving me an opportunity to win my future wife over. Dean Spanos you are breaking my heart and thousands of other fans that have been loyal to you and your family. I say good bye and I hope you nothing but the worst when you move to LA.”
pic dallas game
Brian Reardon

 

Greetings from your listener from Africa.  Only my second time writing, but I knew I had to after listening to the podcast of Lee Jenkins from yesterday (I missed hearing it live last night as the city electricity went out but the Voice of San Diego Morning Report liked it so had the link).  While I go back more years than Lee (1st Chargers game attended Thanksgiving Day 1964 at Balboa Stadium San Diego – Buffalo – John Hadl and Lance Alworth, Jack Kemp the Buffalo quarterback) everything Lee said hit the nail on the head in describing exactly how I feel as a longtime Charger fan (including how I don’t think I could ever cheer for the Los Angeles Chargers), despite the fact that I’ve lived most of the last 27 years of my life in Africa.  I’ve been ridiculously addicted to listening to all of the podcasts to do with the San Diego stadium all this last year (why did I actually like hearing the podcasts with Mark Fabiani before this year?) but listening to Lee it brought tears (the first) to my eyes.

I hope that maybe this Sunday for a change Charger fans will buy up the tickets being resold knowing that this might be it and that at the end of the game everyone stays and stands up and gives the Chargers a standing ovation (win or lose).  I know most of the players might not get it, but Philip and Antonio would.  That’s my two cents worth.
Jeff Stoker
Yaounde, Cameroon

 

3 fans parking lot

 

“When I think of all the games I’ve watched at that God forsaken hell hole of a stadium I am overwhelmed with inexplicable grief, pain, and sorrow. It’s the feeling I had when I witnessed Marlon McCree fumble away the interception that would have sealed the win against the Patriots in the playoffs. After all these years you would think it would have subsided, yet I feel it as strongly today as I did back then.”

“Yes we won a lot of games at the Q, but losing hurts far more than winning feels good, especially when we’ve never won the big one.”
“Perhaps one day I’ll look back fondly on the Sunday afternoons I spent watching LT, Jr., Philip, Gates, Rodney, and the rest… but now all I feel is relief that it’s finally ending. I look forward to spending my Sundays more productively than having my heart broken. “
tracy
 
  

“This morning as I could hear the first Sprinter pass through Vista I woke with tears streaming down one cheek and realized it was not the sound of the first commute that woke me but the memories of all the years of our Chargers here in San Diego and the reality the end is near that flooded my eyes an jarred my sleep.”

“But how can this be this is the Holiday Season, we should be happy, rejoicing, decking the halls, but no we loyal faithful Charger fans are preparing to bid farewell to our team, our treasure, our other reason for the season…… I keep envisioning the scene from the Grinch who stole Christmas where the ornament rolls into Cindy Loos’ room waking her. As she carries the ornament into the other room she sees Santa shoving the Christmas tree up the chimney and says “why Santa, why are you taking our tree?”.  Why NFL, why are you taking our team……………………if I could only draw.”

“I was born 30 days after the Chargers arrived in San Diego, grew up with parents who while not Pro football fans were avid college football fans. I played football with the boys in the neighborhood until 5th grade when the boys told me I could no longer play, but could be a cheer leader. I ran home crying because all I wanted to do was play football. I have that awful feeling again.”

“I must admit I have not listened to much radio, or TV this week and my husband had us cancel the UT recently because he did not want any more bad news on our doorstep or anything to do with LA. But yesterday I did listen to the news and sports radio and  it is so sad and probably why I woke with tears. I have so many common memories that others have shared having gone to Charger games since the late 70’s.”

“I was there as Louie Kelcher assisted Rolf Benirschke on the field in 1979.  I sat in the midst of Raider fans with a girlfriend close enough to hear Dan Fouts words #^*()  and savor a victory in November of 1985. After the  purchase of my first  home in December 1994 I was so broke that I could not even afford a refrigerator for my new house and my TV sat in the corner on the floor where I watched the Chargers beat Pittsburgh. I scrambled around the house through boxes to find enough money to put gas in my car so I could be at the Murph to welcome the team home…..That gas money included a $2 bill my grandmother gave me years before telling me to save it for something really special…Grandma that was special.”

“I began dating my husband while he had one season ticket, we would arrive at the stadium buying a ticket from anyone just so I could get in and usually by the second half I could get a seat close to him. We even planned our January 2000 wedding around football….999  was a rough season. I can always see my husband running down the stairs after any touchdown to high five with others and we both did the run when LT broke the record and was hoisted on his teammates shoulders in 2006.”

“My best memory though is in 2007. My brother was critically ill, waiting for a heart transplant and while visiting him at his home he joked about my Chargers and the upcoming game against the Colts. He would raz me about my love for football and my Chargers and that Saturday as he walked me to my car so slowly with that drug bag hooked to him keeping his heart stimulated he said the Chargers have as much chance of winning against Manning as I have of getting a heart. In a light rain that Sunday November 11th the Chargers intercepted Payton I believe six times with the final pick by Clinton Hart to seal the game with under 20 seconds to go.  I could hear my brothers words and my eyes swelled all the way home, that week on November 15th my brother got his heart transplant. That year though deathly afraid of needles I first attended and donated at the Charger Blood Drive.”

“So hear I sit as the day breaks thinking of all the memories of having the Chargers and how different this holiday season feels, and realizing how different this new year will be. The Chargers are not just some rich owners team they are a part of our hearts and souls.”

“And while the NFL, the Spanos Family, and the other team owners can shove my loyalty, that heart of an ornament up the  chimney they can not take the true meaning of being a Charger fan away from me. There may not be that moment tittering on the top of the mountain where the NFL’s heart grows so big that they realize where the Chargers belong is San Diego but I will always remember all the good times. Thank you to the players especially who have given a reason for the season all these years.”
Sara Lawyer

“I’m a 60 year old native San Diegan and lifelong Charger Fan born at the Navy Hospital. My dad was born in National City and a huge sports fan whose sports idol was fellow native Ted Williams who was just a couple years older than he was. He loved all the 4 major sports and raised me to be that way also. I don’t know if I was at the first game the Chargers played at Balboa Stadium at age 6, never thought to ask him before he passed away, but I would be surprised I wasn’t. Some of my earliest memories are going to Charger games there and Padres games at Westgate Park.”

“The Chargers have disappointed me so many times it’s expected now. I don’t want it to be that way, but how could it not? You may ask me; what about the 1963 AFL Championship? Don’t remember anything about it. Nothing. That was a mystery to me for most of my life, why don’t I remember anything about that? I vividly remember them losing in ’64 and ’65 to Buffalo, but I couldn’t remember 1963. Finally about 10 years ago I figured it out. What happened in late 1963? The JFK assassination happened and that overshadowed everything else happening in the world for months. Unfortunately, I still seem to remember everything about that day.”
“I was with friends when they beat Pittsburgh in ’94 and was at the stadium when they came back that night. I was crying when they came out on the field. That and the ’84 Padres comeback against the Cubs are the best sporting memories of my life. The Chargers joining the Rockets and Clippers will be the worst.”
Tom McGee

pregant  ady

 

 

“I believe that Sunday is the Chargers final game in San Diego. I stopped being a fan of the Chargers before the season when their rhetoric clearly indicated an undeniable desire to call greater Los Angeles home. If I still lived in San Diego, I would make ZERO effort to go to Qualcomm on Sunday, nor will I attempt to watch it on TV. I want that reprehensible owner and team out of our beautiful city as soon as possible.”
Stoops
“Go Gulls! Go Padres! Go Aztecs! Go Sockers!”
Tim Stoops
 

“I’m a bit torn.  all year long, since the news broke about the carson project, i’ve been the guy who has remained optimistic and have told every one who brought it up that, “its not up to dean if he wants to go to LA, the rest of the owners will decide….a lot of things have to fall into place before anyone gets to LA”.
“So now that we have arrived at the final home game of the 2015 season for the chargers, i’m not exactly sure what to believe anymore.  part of me wants to show up early, stay late, and really take in what may be my last chance to enjoy a home nfl game in my season ticket seats in san diego.  the other part of me is still believe everything i’ve been selling to everyone who’s asked me about the chargers stadium situation. “
“I’ll be there sunday, with a bigger group of friends than normal.  friends in town for the holidays, others who refuse to sell their tickets, and more over, its 1 of 8 home games we get to cheer on our home team. This picture below was taken at the home opener agains the lions this year.  the crowd was pumped with excitement that we can finally put aside the stadium talks and get down to football. all that hope is now lost, just 3+ months later, but there’s going to be a lot of emotions about all the memories if we do in fact find out in january, that our chargers are bolting out of town. ”
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 “I know a lot of my friends will be back at Danny Coyles in SF for the game and a lot of them have already said they can’t bring themselves be LA charger fans so this is the end of an era not only in SD, but around the world for charger fans who congregate on sunday’s to root for the gutty little chargers that found ways to sneak into the playoffs so many times in the recent years.”
Omid Aminpour
 

“If this really is the last home game in San Diego it will break my heart, but I have a little faith” #saveourbolts
tristan farida
Tristan Farida
 
 
“We will be frying a turkey in the parking lot for one last tailgate. We’re season ticket holders since 1988 but not blaming chargers for leaving just disappointed in how they have treated city and fans this year . On field team has been the hardest to watch over our 25+ years.””Let LA have them but they will fail there for sure.”
Dave Stormoen
 
family

“Reality…it’s starting to set in.  If this is the last game in San Diego for this team, there are so many emotions.  There’s a part of me that wonders if this all would be happening if Junior were still here.  Maybe I’m just looking for the hero to save our team.  I’ve sat in the stands so many times and seen so many games.  I would beam with pride as they show the San Diego skyline on Monday Night Football…because that’s my city…this is my team. ”

“If this is the last game…I’ll still have my memories.  The Chargers intercepting Manning 6 times in one game, LT breaking the single season record, the Super Bowl run and so much more.  While the team may leave, the memories will always be there.  Just sad my two young kids may not get to have the same memories.”

Justin Holmerud

 

“I was born in San Diego, and my family is all from East County, but I grew up in the High Desert. My first memories of watching  football was the Air Coryell Chargers win the epic in Miami in the ’81 playoffs and the ice bowl in Cincinnati that followed the next week.  Since then, I watched as many games as I could with my dad. They usually showed Raider games on TV, but every December, we would come to my grandmothers house in El Cajon, and the entire family (usually around 30 people including friends and neighbors) would all get together to watch the Chargers play. My dad took me to my first game at the Murph in 1990. I think we had Jim McMahon and Billy Joe Tolliver and a bunch of nobodys on that team, except maybe a rookie linebacker from Oceanside that wore #55. That team stunk, but I loved the atmosphere, and the tailgating, and how a kid from a small desert town that was the only Charger fan in school could come to a place where there were 60,000 family members there screaming to cheer on our Bolts. Over the years it became a tradition to make the trip down to San Diego for the season finale. As an adult, I ended up moving to San Diego and now North County. I got to see a lot of great players, from Junior Seau, Rodney Harrison, Marion Butts, Natrone Means, Stan Humphries, and Leslie O’Neal to LaDainian Tominson, Drew Brees, Lorenzo Neal, Shawne Merriman, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, and the current players Rivers, Gates, Floyd, Weddle, etc. I was at the game when Rivers and Floyd connect for the first TD in their careers, I was there when LT scored his record breaking touchdown, there for Marty Schottenheimers 200th win, I stood all day in the rain for the win over Tennessee in the ’07 playoffs, and eventually became a season ticket holder. I did not renew my season tickets this year, however. Like most, I was disgusted with the way that Dean Spanos and his puppet Mark Fabiani have treated us fans, and the city that we love.”
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“I have watched every game this season, except that disaster at home against the Chiefs. I was on a flight that day. Usually I’m in need of a strong drink by about the second quarter. This season has been worse than the Ryan Leaf era. At least then we had hope that things would get better. It sure looks like there is no hope of this team staying here after this Sunday. But I’ve decided that I don’t go to root for Dean Spanos. I’m going to root for Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd, Eric Weddle, and the SAN DIEGO Chargers. My children are not born yet, so they will never get the experience that I had with my father taking me to the stadium to see the Bolts play. I doubt that we will ever go to LA to see a game. Not because of the drive or the traffic, but because it’s a terrible city to watch a football game in. My very first Charger game was a Monday night game at the LA Coliseum against the LA Raiders. I was 10 years old. Girls threw things at me for wearing a Charger shirt. And a grown man showed me his gun after telling me to shut up after I cheered for a Dan Fouts touchdown pass. That was the one and only time I ever got to see Fouts and company in person. My dad swore we would never come back to LA to watch a Charger game. And I will not be taking my children there either.”
image002

“So if this is it on Sunday, I wanted to make sure that I get a chance to say good bye to the team that I’ve loved and spent countless thousands of dollars on over the past 35 years.  I’d rather go to a meaningless game between 2 rotten teams, than to look back and say that I sat home and watched my Chargers play their last game in Americas Finest City. On a positive side, my wife is from Wisconsin and assures me that the Packers will NEVER leave Green Bay and that theres room for more cheese heads. I can’t imagine switching teams, but the thought is starting to look like it could become a reality. Regards from yet another depressed fan.”
Anthony Jones 

 
 
“My “Tatay,” which is Filipino for grandfather, couldn’t drive ….so we would grab the bus and take the 2 hour drive to get to The Murph. My best memories as a child growing up was attending these games when we could, and the only times we were able to attend was when had extra money, or when my Mom, who worked for a hospital would get them from patients. We also would try to sneak down to the field level just to talk to the players. Never asked for autographs, just chatted with them. That’s my Tatay (a lawyer in Manila) walking down the stairs sporting a stylish Member Only jacket and that’s me at 7 years old with the camo gear.”
 bo
“After my Tatay passed, and during my odd teen years,  my Dad and I would attend as many Padres or Charger games as we could. Second photo was probably around 1991 – 1992?”
“When I finally got a brother in 1985, you better believe he came out of the womb wearing a Chargers shirt. Thats him in front of the old video board with a Marlboro ad to boot!
Truly hurt this is happening. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know who, where, or what to blame. There’s too many complex issues and numbers being thrown around that is way above my pay grade.”
bo scoreboard
“What I do know is that the Chargers have meant so much to our family. It was not just a sports team or sporting event that we attended, they were much more than that. Two generations of Charger fans have experienced the worst and best of times with this team, unfortunately if they do leave, our third generation will never be able to experience the heartache and joy that we’ve been a part of over the last 35+ years.”
Bo Navarro

fan wide

“I will miss the team and the games.  But the one good thing about them leaving is the Spanos family will also leave.  Good riddance to an owner who doesn’t care about winning.  The only thing they care about is making money.  That’s the only thing this team is to them- just another family business.  John Elway has forgotten more football than thus family will ever collectively know.  And they are just plain cheap.  No sense of community or civic responsibility  because that doesn’t make you any money. ”
Adrienne Bell


3 fans
 “I’m a 30 year season ticket holder. Going to be a sad day for me. I’ve backed this team through mostly bad years and now feel betrayed by the Spanos family.
Lots of great memories though at the Q. Nothing better than a home playoff game, the sense of the community rallying together and watch many great players. Going to miss it all if this is last game.”
Jeff Huston
couple
 

“The best memory I have from Qualcomm is definitely the time the team came back from Pittsburgh after the AFC championship game on the way to the Superbowl. My Dad took my younger brother and myself down and it truly was awesome. Seeing the Steve Young scarecrow being passed around by fans and the fans unclipping the SF 49er flag at the top of the stadium was just hilarious.”
“From the current QB, the best memory I have is that 8-8 season. Watching them beat Jay Cutler and his Broncos to win the division was probably the greatest feeling I ever had at a game. And of course, seeing the Darren Sproles walk off only a week later was just epic. “
“Its very sad that it has come down to this. There are so many players in this Stadium game it is difficult to assign blame to any single individual or party. One thing I do know for certain though….Spanos is a perennial loser and he’s trying to take his team to an extremely disloyal market. Look at the Lakers…They were legendary with Kobe in his hay day but have been HORRIBLE as of late and those fans have abandoned ship. I have a strong feeling that in 2 years time Dean Spanos will be pacing back and forth in his luxury suite saying to himself “What the hell have I done?”
“I will leave it at that.”
Michael Anderson
 
 6 fans

“I am a life-long charger fan. Grew up in San Diego, but currently attend school in NY. I of course don’t remember it, but I went to every charger home game the year I was born, the same year they went to the Super Bowl – 1994. I have always had great experiences at Qualcomm and with the charger organization. Was lucky enough to go to the 2003 super bowl at the Q with my father. Had the experience of a lifetime when I was 8 years old and was on the sideline for a home game against the broncos. During pre-game warm ups a ball came rolling off of the field and Junior Seau was the player that came to pick it up. He stopped to talk to me, even had a professional photographer take a picture of us and had the picture sent to me. Will remember that forever. “
“I am flying home Sunday morning for the winter holidays and will be going to the game on Sunday with my dad. I am excited for the game, but am expecting it to definitely be a strange atmosphere. It will be a weird feeling as I leave the game, knowing it could be the last ever.”
“I have heard many fans saying that they will no longer root for the team if they end up in LA. Although it will be very sad if they ultimately leave SD, I will always be a charger fan, regardless of where they play their home games. It has been a tough season to watch, but lets hope they come out with a win!”
Sean Hickey
 

“The notion that this will be the last Chargers game in San Diego defies easy description. I grew up in San Diego, went to many games with my father during the glorious Fouts years and when I moved away I followed the team closely and enjoyed their Super Bowl run from afar. But the A.J./Turner did irreparable harm. I rooted for them to lose, to expedite their removal. I was exasperated by the news media that seemed so hesitant to call out incompetence because they appeared to like Norv personally. I refused to wear Chargers gear until A.J./Turner were gone.””There was a bolt of energy when the new GM and coach came in and I had a renewed, optimistic, “told-you-so” attitude that the team wasn’t that far way from the playoffs with a different coach. But now I’m drained. The media jumped on McCoy early and often because he was not apparently liked, but now he deserves the incessant criticism, as does Telesco. But most of the wrath is on Spanos family, for the way they’ve treated San Diego lately. At every opportunity they’ve been insulting to fans. And to what end? So it’s easier for them to leave or easier for fans to say so long?””Egregious incompetence on the field, incredible arrogance off the field has led to despondency and now sustained apathy. Sure, I listen and read everything I can, but only to satisfy curiosity about a city I still love.”
Paul Szydelko
 
“Season ticket holder for the past 17 seasons and all I can say is that each home game this season has been dreadful. Although I’m only 28 years old I can not remember the atmosphere in the stadium ever being this bad. My glory days were from 2004 -2009 with players like LT, Merriman, Phillips, Edwards, Sproles, Jackson, and of course jamal Williams winning the division 5 out of 6 years. Qualcomm stadium was not an easy place to play back then, now it almost seems like teams love coming the Q and its painful for die hard loyal fans like myself. Whether the team goes or stays the magic is gone, I do not enjoy the atmosphere that once was my favorite place to be. The 3-10 record has nothing to do with it, it’s the way ownership has alienated the loyal fans like myself. A Spanos ran franchise will NEVER win a super bowl EVER.”
Thomas Gallegod
 


I live in Poway and am a born and raised San Diegan. I am a life long San Diego Padres, San Diego Chargers, and San Diego State Aztecs fan. The fact that Sunday is most likely the final San Diego Chargers home game is incredibly sad and heart breaking. All my life I have loved the Chargers. Drew Brees, Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers, Nick Hardwick, Jamal Williams, Eric Weddle, Clinton Hart. I have had great memories with this team, from the 14-2 regular season in 2006 to the 2007 playoff run to the AFC Championship Game, to the wild 2013 season finale to clinch a playoff spot, and everything in between. Every Sunday sitting down with friends and/or family to watch my beloved Chargers has become a tradition. Even through the heartbreaks of the 2006 playoff loss to New England, yes the Marlon McCree game, and the 2009 playoff loss to New York, yes the Nate Kaeding game, both of which crushed my Super Bowl dreams, and the struggles that followed 2009, I remained a fan. San Diego as a whole loves the Chargers. Unfortunately, Dean Spanos does not care about us. He only cares about how much money he can make and that kills me inside. He is about to make a colossal mistake to leave his loyal and passionate fans for a city in which they will be behind the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, and Rams/Raiders (whichever one they team up with in Los Angeles) in terms of rooting order. The fact that Sunday will likely be the end of the Chargers in San Diego breaks the heart of me and so many others. It is really quite unfortunate.
Dave Leland

 

“I was listening to your show earlier today and you and Marty were talking about whether fans will be going to the final Charger game Sunday because they think it might be the last ever game in San Diego. I am.   And the reason it is important to me to go is that my family was original season ticket holders from 1961.  I went to the first Charger home game and want to complete the circle and go to the last.  I did the same thing last year thinking that game would be the finale, but the Chargers announced the next day that they were staying at least one more year.”
“I don’t know if Sunday will be the absolute finale but it sure seems that way based on the news I’ve read and listened to over the past months.  I went on Stub Hub and was able to buy a ticket in the loge level behind the end zone.  I have no idea how the crowd will act, though I doubt there will much, if at all, bad  behavior.  I think a lot of people are pretty much resigned to the team leaving and probably will just mill around, gazing at the field as the team goes into the locker room. The fact there is another tenant, the Aztecs, will keep people from ripping out seats or other similar behavior. Qualcomm will be around for a while.   Last year, I noticed a lot of milling around while out of the speaker system Jackson Brown’s version of “Stay” was playing.  I suspect it will be a rather melancholy atmosphere.”
“Personally, while I have some nice memories of Charger games of yore, I think I’ll eventually get over it, though I would imagine when they are on television I’ll still watch.  The team is in my genes and it will be a hard habit to break.”
Rob Cohen
 
 
I believe many fans like me are heartbroken.   I am heartbroken primarily because we have been through a lot of sports tragedy recently.
Many of us are still in shock of losing Junior.  Last year we lost Mr. Coleman and Mr. Padre.  With the passing of Tony especially and rumors of the bolts bolting a year after is unbearable. I will be at the game on Sunday cheering for the Chargers.  I will not root for them if they leave America’s Finest City.
Adam Cavazos
 
 
“Never thought that this would be their last game in SD, really thought they would come to their senses and agree to a stadium with the City. It’s going to suck seeing our legacy leave, great players like LT, Seau, Alsworth, Fouts, Rivers, Gates the list can go on forever. If there is one thing that I will miss is the roar of the crowd after every touchdown. But this is not the end of SD football, we will have to wait until we get another one but whoever comes here will be welcomed in open arms.”
Austin Peregud
 
 
“My anger/dissapointment is directed to the owernship. Dean has ran this franchise in the ground ever since he let AJ stay and let Marty go. I’ll ask this; is the Franchise better off this day than when they let AJ and Norv go? My feeling is no! My wife who used to have season tickets cannot watch them in their current state. I believe you get what you deserve and the way the Chargers have treated San Diego and their fans, has put such a bad taste in my mouth, I’ll miss having a team but at this point go already!
They will not be supported in L.A. Dean I have piece of advice in wanting to go to L.A., be carefull what you wish for!”
Don Rediker
 
 
“The Chargers have been such an important part of my life. Yes, it has been fun and mostly heart breaking to love and follow this team, but the most important thing that the Chargers have given me are family memories.”
joseph crudo
“From 1979-1982 with Fouts, JJ, Chandler, Joiner, Winslow and Miami game and the Holy roller to 1992-1995 with Seau & Natrone and A Super Bowl‎ to Marty with Brees,  LT, Rivers, Merriman et al. 14-2 and so close but not quite ever good enough…. With all of that I was always spending time with family and friends. It was always an event to go to the game. We got there early, bbq’d, drank, had so much fun. We hugged and cheered when we won, we hugged and were sad when we lost. I’m saying “we” cause the Chargers are a part of the family.”
“With the chance that they are leaving to L.A., they will become dead to me and my family, they will not be part of the family anymore and I will miss all of those fun times with family and friends.”
Joseph Crudo 
 
 

I’m a third generation Charger fan. My grandfather had season tickets from the first season at Jack Murphy Stadium until his death, at which point they passed on to my uncle. He chose to sell them, but only just before my father bought some of his own in 1978 while he still lived in San Diego. He’s had them every year since then, and that has allowed for my family and I to be at nearly every home game since my birth in 1987. Over the years, our fandom and support of this organization has remained constant, and rewarded by offering us opportunities to attend more than 250 home games, as well as away games including Super Bowl XXIX, and the 2007 post season victory in Indianapolis when Philip busted his knee, and Billy Volek needed to step in to finish the game for him. Sure, we’ve been dealt some bad hands over the years like the 1-15 season, Ryan Leaf, Marlon McCree, or post season Nate Kaeding, but they all pale next to the great times like being there to see Junior Seau do his thing, or LT break the single season TD record, or every regular and post season game where I’d scream so much I wouldn’t have a voice for half of the following week.

And after all of that here we sit at 3-10, with the last tickets of this season, to potentially the last Chargers home game in San Diego. It is a surreal feeling to be honest, because despite all the changes life has thrown at myself and my loved ones, one constant has always been that whenever August rolls around, it’s time to get the grill cleaned for tailgating because it’s almost time to get out to the Q to watch our Bolts. Perhaps it’s appropriate that my father’s season ticket contract concludes this season. Driving a couple hours to San Diego from El Centro every week is a journey our family has been happy to make for an organization that appreciates our doing so, but this is clearly no longer an organization that does so. Every instinct I have as a Chargers fan tells me that I should stand with them, even if they move to LA, but the sad truth is that I have no intention to do so if they are chosen to relocate. When a significant other leaves you not just for someone else, but for the person who has been your rival, and you still love them and spend money on them it isn’t called being loyal. It’s called being pathetic, and people usually tell those who do this to have some self-respect, so that’s what I intend to do. My family and I are San Diego Chargers fans, so we will be at the game on Sunday out of respect for what has been a life long tradition of ours, as well as the organization that appreciated our loyalty. After that? Let me get back to you in January.
Jonathan Conway

 

“My name is Sergio, came to the U.S. In 1989 from southern Mexico, I was 9yrs old. I had no idea what American football was or about the Chargers. Slowly, I started to absorb the culture and football. I also discovered apple pie and the Padres. I slowly fell in love with your city, with America.”

“Fast forward 6 yrs, it went from empty stands, fans being shown wearing paper bags over the heads, bad, bad, bad scene to my senior year in high school and the SD version of the play happens!!! Chargers vs. Steelers, Chargers were going to lose, etc. The ball gets bat down, game is over and our city erupts! I explode with a joy I had never known as a sports fan, our Chargers win. Cars all over my neighborhood honking their horns, people yelling and cheering, people being shown at Charger park waiting for the team, what an amazing time. I was a full fledged San Diegan and American.”

“Then there was Seau, Brees, Merryman, LT, Rivers, Scott and BR morning rallies at House of Blues, tail gating at the Murph/The Q, flyovers on game day, playoff wins in the rain against Colts, games on Tv, an entire wearing powder blue and gold, buildings with the bolt running down the side, buses with signs saying, “Go Chargers.”

“Sunday come, I will go say bye to my team, my SD Chargers. I will probably cry and finally leave that stadium with an unexplainable, indescribable sense of loss and emptiness. Will I support them in L.A.? Not sure, I will probably watch them, but it will definitely be painful to realize my Chargers will no longer be supporting my beautiful city of San Diego, America’s finest city.”
Sergio Leos

 

“I am a high schooler living in the Bay Area, but lived in San Diego for 10+ years. Been the team’s biggest fan since 2005. Had season tickets from 2006-2013 and have experienced everything imaginable watching this team in person, both good: LT breaking record in 06, 14-2 season, 21 point comeback in Santa Clara 2014 and bad: 4th and 27, leading Denver 24-0 at half only to lose on MNF, McCree fumble. Team has been a huge part of my childhood as I’ve attended over 50 games and watch every game religiously. I rock my Chargers gear here at school weekly, even though friends tease me mercilessly this year because of it. It’s just heartbreaking to think that the city and football team that raised me may go their superate ways. San Diego deserves the Chargers and the Chargers deserve San Diego.”
Luca

 

“Greetings from a longtime listener in Alaska. First time writing but after listening to all you podcasts this week I decided to write a few of my thoughts as a lifelong charger fan. Like many of your listeners my first memories are of Balboa stadium and the only championship victory. I was seven years old and recall attending the victory celebration it was amazing to me. From that point on I was hooked and my identity as a Charger fan began. I went to training camps, attended some games, collected cards and autographs. I hated the Raiders, hated any team from LA and loved the Coryell Aztecs who made Jack Murphy stadium bearable during some very lean years. My parents, sisters, brother and  friends all rooted for the home team despite the loosing seasons.  When I left San Diego the Chargers followed. I recall where I was for every monumental victory and defeat. In my log cabin in Montana for the Miami victory to my basement in Alaska for the Superbowl loss. I have attended games in every decade and with this team every year since 2005. I saw LT break the record, saw Jim Harbough beat us in a playoff game and witnessed Fouts, Muncie and crew destroy Pittsburgh in 1979. I love Charger blue as does my extended family, the majority of who still reside in San Diego.”
“For myself I will loose a part of who I am when and if they move. Surprisingly my anger does rest on the Spanos family, they are who they are representatives of a corporate elite where money is the bottom line. However I am pissed at the lack of recognition the die hard fans of San Diego deserve. For some of us our lose is no less than Cleveland or Baltimore. Our loyalty is just as great and our identity as Chargers fans is just as deep. I only hope our story is told.”
Thanks Greg Heath

 

The Chargers decided to leave a long time ago.  I know this because A.G. Spanos told me so.

 

“It was the look in his eyes that struck me first.  Surrounded by two equally suited men with crisp pleats and dark shoes, the look in Spanos’ eyes said everything I needed to know.  As we walked towards each other through the throng of Packer faithful quickly filling Lambeau field to capacity, both of our small parties stood out.  Him and his corporate-suited companions walking briskly through the pristine campus and me and the few Charger faithful proudly donning our #17 jerseys.  There we were, us faithful few, inside this small-town sanctuary to football, a near-perfect conclusion to our own cities dilemma.  Yet in that moment our eyes locked together he had no words for us faithful few, no kind gesture, no knowing nod.  He didn’t need to say a word, for in his eyes it was clear he felt the same sorrow a King feels towards the lowly beggar.  We had already been cast aside for something greater and he could do nothing to soothe the ache of his team’s fans.  No, it was too late for that.  The ship had already sailed and we were left desperately jumping into treacherous waters in our futile attempt to hold on. ”

“Charger fans, there is something we need to finally come to grips with.  It’s something we’ve suspected for a long time, but have fought to keep it from crippling us to the very core.  Our one true love is leaving us, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

“I didn’t grow up watching Hadl or Bambi or Coryell.  As a child of the 80’s my earliest recollection was simply watching practice at the old Balboa field and having players walk up and sign my football, though I had no knowledge of who they were.  Like many of us, 1994 was the year our hearts began to bleed blue.  Humphries, Means, Seau, Pupunu with his coconut touchdown dance.  Yes, they lost in the end but we loved them anyways.  And that pretty much summed up much of those forgetful decades: Lovable longshots.  Sure we had our moments but let’s be honest, they were never the perennial winning team that we all longed for.  But quite suddenly things began to change.”

“Clear as yesterday I remember ‘The Draft’.  You all know what I’m referring to.  Yes, we had Drew Brees, but immediately this new quarterback from NC State intrigued me.  I spent hours soaking up every bit of early-internet history I could on his high school and college career.  I became convinced that he would someday take our little city to the promised land.  When Drew went down on that last game of 2005, I knew exactly what needed to happen and I was in full agreement with Chargers brass that Rivers was the future.  I even flew to Oakland to attend his very first regular season start, a 27-0 Monday Night Football butt-kicking at the hands (and legs) of one LaDainian Tomlinson.  Rivers only threw 11 times, but we all knew it was only a matter of time before this team was top tier.”

” Him and Tomlinson brought about a rise in respectability we had rarely known.  There were stories on ESPN (ESPN!!).  We’d regularly be in conversation about Super Bowl contenders.  Corporations and video games alike clamored for the likes of Merriman, Rivers and, of course, #21.  In Madden football Gates was practically unstoppable.  Stuck at 3rd and 50?  Throw it to Gates.  Every. Single. Time.  These were the halcyon days of my generations Charger fans.  And they were glorious, if not tortured.  Always tortured.”

“I am starting to think its in our nature.  We’re ‘underdog’ type of people here living in the very shadow of the behemoth that is Los Angeles.  Dean Spanos has every right to move his team, its true.  He’s running a business after all.  And while the northward move into a ripe mega-market rips at our very soul, he will have accomplished what all the prior Charger teams could not.  They’re will no longer be underdogs.  Dean has cracked the very foundation of what it means to be San Diego fan.  And as much as it pains me to say, we are free from the precedent our fathers upheld.  Leaving San Diego behind means we are no longer responsible for our long tradition of regional loyalty.  And it is this tear in the fabric of what it means to be fans of the Powder Blue and Gold that releases us.  The equation has been forever changed.  Charger fans, through our tears and our agony, we are free. ”

“Yesterday my wife, freshly moved from Arizona, asked what I wanted for Christmas.”

“I told her I wanted a Cardinals jersey.”
Damon Grant

 

“Let me preface this by saying the Chargers and NFL are a distant third on my list, maybe even fourth as MLS and the Premiere League are creeping closer to it.  However, being a native San Diegan, the Chargers became my team in the earlier part of the 90’s.  Losing them won’t be fun.  I’ve never understood why the infatuation with the NFL is so great, but I understand that it is an infatuation and that the Chargers moving will be a major body blow to the city of San Diego.  As much as it bothers me, it isn’t Padres or Aztecs or LA Kings flags flying around on the backs of cars.  It’s the Chargers.  There’s a reason for that, even if that reason escapes people like Darren and myself.  Around the time Norv was hired I made the subconscious decision to start rooting for my fantasy team more so than my actual team.  The Chargers fell from second on my list to third, behind the Padres (both will ALWAYS be behind the LA Kings).  I think that has honestly helped me with this relocation talk.  I’ve built up an indifference towards the team a little bit, a callus that has actually benefited me during a time that would otherwise be considered tumultuous.  At this point, I want them to leave.  I want people to stop caring so much and to see the NFL as an entity that has grown to the point of so much popularity that it has to eventually collapse in on itself under its own weight, like a supernova.  Because after loving this team like San Diego has, and (mostly) supporting it, once the Spanoses pack their bags, all that will be left is a massive black hole. ”
Chris Long

 

“I got married and honeymooned in San Diego in 77’ and moved to San Diego in 78’. My first game was the “Holy Roller”. Since my seats where behind the Charger bench, my most specific memory is of fans yelling at players to get down. The only who would was Rolf. I partnered with a coworker the next year and attended every game until the 2001 season. I,was ticket stub saver also and we were Field 7 row 11, seat1 and 2….saved every ticket. Great seats. I remember Al Davis walking around the stadium before the championship game in 80. He had a white jumpsuit on and walked the perimeter of the field enjoying every jeer. It had rained and the tarp was covering the field. The ground crew rolled the tarp so that the water all went on the Raider bench. It was beautiful….but we lost.”

“So it goes…you win some and you lose some. Some coworkers from Temecula proudly had 50 yard line seats in the last row of the upper deck (Ha! View) for years. They and a contingent of friends were our loyal tail gate partners at section P3 for many years. Most of the time I drove (my car caught on fire for a KC game once but we still made it before kickoff)……sometimes we took the bus from North County Mall.”

“During the 94 Championship game vs Pittsburgh, I was destressed enough to go over my buddy Dennis’s house at the half. I was the happiest guy in the world when they pulled the game out. I know you have probably heard this repeatedly…there is nothing that can repeat that feeling and the night that followed at the Murph. I packed three kids between 12 and 13, my older female coworker, into my soccer-mom van and had a great night down at the Murph. I’ve spent 2 years at New Year’s Eve in Times Square and they are comparable.”

“I was lucky enough to get Super Bowl tickets and meet up with Leslie O’Neil’s family on game day. We had seats in the next to last row of Joe Robbie and got our butts kicked. That flight home was the worst in my life. I gave up my tickets in 2001. The 1-15 season was too much plus …..there was Leaf.”

“If they choose to go I will miss them. If they choose to go I do not believe I’ll watch NFL football ever again. I may be wrong but I know Ram fans who have felt that way and have lived that way. It will tell me that the chance of the most dollars is the most important thing in the Chargers priority list.”
Larry Waldalavage

 

LOYALTY RECOGNITION PROGRAM

This was originally written on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Chargers.

“I though perhaps you would like to have my perspective as a very long time, original S.D. Charger season ticket holder – Day one to 1997 when they gave up on many of their most loyal fans.   Our tickets date to Balboa Stadium – yes I can remember when MCRD had the best pro football team in San Diego!  Prior to the new San Diego Stadium opening, we were invited to tour the then under construction facility and pick out our future seats.  We did:  Almost 50 Yard line, under cover in the shade & on the isle, ten steps to the beer cart & twelve to the men’s room – perfect (Plaza Sec. 36, Row 19, seats 1 & 2)!  For almost thirty years we were not only Charger Fans & enjoyed the games, but became extended family with many in our section – saw their kids grow up, celebrated births, marriages & deaths (brought the widow to future games) etc.  Many of these folks we only saw on Game Day.”

“Then in 1997 with the stadium reconstruction and the advent of “Gold Club Seats”  our section was ELIMINATED.  As these were some of the very best seats in the house, this became the location of a new luxury Suite.  If we opted to move to another area in the new Gold Club Section, our cost would go from $780 in 1997 to $4,474 for the 1998 season (including security deposit)!! I guess having faithfully paid for these seats (in advance each year) for in excess of thirty years Spanos did not trust us anymore!   There was a minimum of a three year agreement.  This was called the Loyalty Recognition Program for Season Ticket Holders in the Renovated Areas.”  So much for our 30 years of Loyalty.  The team was good then and the Chargers knew they would sell all these seats. 30 years of ours & many other’s loyalty meant absolutely nothing to them.” 

“As we could not afford this luxury (my father had recently passed away) we opted for their offer of the “very best available seats” out of the Gold Club area.  These “very best available” seats turned out to be on the MINUS TEN YARD LINE!!  With a transfer fee!!   I wrote several letters to the Spanoses without even the courtesy of a reply from either them or their peons.  I had numerous telephone conversations with very low level people in the ticket office and the Gold Club office with no results.  They simply did not care about us & our thirty years of loyalty through thick & thin.  Some Loyalty Program!!”

“The only communication I ever received from the Chargers was a “Dear Chargers Season Ticket Holder” form letter Dated March 3, 1997 telling me “how much they value me as a season ticket holder” and that if they do not hear from me by March 7, 1997 our seats will be made available for “new sales.”  They could not even bring it upon themselves to send a personalized letter.  I have not set foot in “The Q” since and am a loyal fan of whichever team the Chargers are playing that week & root for them to beat the Chargers.”

“The Spanos family, Golding, McGrory et al are all the villains in this and the sooner the Chargers leave town, the better as far as I am concerned. I hope this gives you some insight you may not have had into how the Spanos’ conduct business and reward loyalty.”
Scott MacLaggan

leo fan

“57 years old, and a native. I really latched on to the Chargers in the early 70’s ,when Harlan Savare sold us on. The idea that he could build a team with veterans like George Allen did.”

“Deacon Jones ,Dave Costa,Tim Rossovich, and Johnny Unitas came to town. An exciting thought to a kid who had just started playing highschool. When I couldn’t attend, I laid on the bed and listen on the radio,as Dennis Pardee punts were described as beautifully arcing wonders in the sunny afternoon day. I was in the west end zone,when Unit as dropped back to pass, and Wilbur Young broke loose from the blind side (KC),and crushed Unitas,separating his shoulder ,and the last of his playing. While a skinny legged kid named Dan Fouts jogged in to replace him. I’ve been through them all. “
“Never knew what to think of the Spanos family. Not sure if I ever trusted them. I hate that this hasn’t worked out. But I sort of decided to be OK with it. I played for the Aztecs in the late 70’s when we loaded that stadium. It can become that again. But watch and see…They’ll build that nice statium. Fan Fouts will call games there and say…”Gosh folks…this place is nice.”  The Spanos will market to us. They’ll make it simple for us to attend their games, via shuttle etc…and people will go. But LA will never embrace them like we did. So they’ll probably resent this in fuel time.”
John Nikos

 

 

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