Thursday, January 12, 2017

Chargers Bolt

It finally happened.  We heard this morning that our beloved San Diego Chargers will be relocating to Los Angeles.  Here's a copy of the letter from the owner.
After much deliberation, I have made the decision to relocate the Chargers to Los Angeles, beginning with the 2017 NFL season.
San Diego has been our home for 56 years.  It will always be part of our identity, and my family and I have nothing but gratitude and appreciation for the support and passion our fans have shared with us over the years.
But today, we turn the page and begin an exciting new era as the Los Angeles Chargers.
LA is a remarkable place, and while we played our first season there in 1960 and have had fans there ever since, our entire organization knows that we have a tremendous amount of work to do.  We must earn the respect and support of LA football fans.  We must get back to winning.  And, we must make a meaningful contribution, not just on the field, but off the field as a leader and champion for the community.
The Chargers are determined to fight for LA and we are excited to get started.
Dean A. Spanos
Owner – Chairman of the Board

If you've been following at all, you know that the team has been trying to get a new stadium for a long, long time.  But like all things in San Diego, it's been difficult.  The city and county governments have not been especially helpful, there are plenty of people here who don't really care about the team, and the team hasn't particularly been the most cooperative partner.  But all that is done.  Now it's over.  We are losing the team.  I know that life will go on.  In the grand scheme of things, this is pretty small.  But for long time fans, it really hurts.

The local fishwrap (Union Tribune) has several good sports writers, but the senior one is a guy named Nick Canepa.  I don't know him but I like his writing.  He, like me, has lived here his whole life.  He, like me, went to Balboa Stadium, in 1961 when the Chargers moved here after one unsuccessful year in LA to see the new team.  I was an enthusiastic 11 year old fan who was thrilled to pay $2.50 for seats in the nose bleed section of the old stadium and watch my heros play some football.  Anyway, Nick wrote a great column this morning about their departure.  If I were more eloquent, I could have written the same things.  You can read it here.  Nick really covers the issues like only a long time fan can.  I can certainly relate to this, "the football team coming here was the biggest sports story in the history of this city, now surpassed by its leaving, to greener pastures under the yellow skies of Los Angeles, whence it came."  

He places blame on both parties, which is appropriate.  The city was typically dithering and spineless when it came to making a decision.  The team was classless in so many actions.  It's all just maddening.  If you're one of the cynics in the city that knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing then you don't care that they are leaving.  But Nick has a good take on that.  "But, if you’re happy about this, if you’re among those who wanted them to leave, well, that’s your right, but I feel sorry for this city. Because its quilt now has a huge hole in the middle of it, and I don’t know if we ever will find the proper seamstresses and tailors to make it right again."

And Nick brings up all the old names.  This brings back great memories but also makes a long time fan like me sad.  "In their wake are memories. Lance Alworth. Ernie Ladd. The Fearsome Foursome. The Seven Thieves. Gary Garrison. Dickie Post. John Hadl. Tobin Rote. Dan Fouts. John Jefferson. Kellen Winslow. Charlie Joiner. Wes Chandler. Ed White. Doug Wilkerson. Russ Washington. Leslie O’Neal. Junior Seau. Stan Humphries. Natrone Means. LT. Drew BreesPhilip RiversShawne Merriman. Dennis Gibson’s Pittsburgh batdown. The 1963 AFL Championship. George Pernicano. Barron Hilton. Sid Gillman. Don Coryell. Bobby Beathard. Bobby Ross. I could go on. So many names, so many great games, so many disappointments."

So for now NFL football is over in San Diego.  But I'm a football fan so I need to root for someone.  I couldn't imagine rooting for any of the AFC West teams, espcially the hated Raiders.  The LA way.  The 49ers...nope.  So who?  I've always liked the Packers and Steelers but I think you have to have some regional affinity to root for them.  Our son lives in Boston so maybe I could transfer allegiance to the Patriots.  So I guess it's the Cowboys.  Why the Cowboys?  Well, my daughter went to college in Dallas, our son-in-law is from Dallas and he's a huge Cowboys fan.  Plus I've always like Jerry Johnson.  And they are known as America's team.  So the Cowboys it is.  No looking back.  

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