Roughly nine months have passed since Dean Spanos made the decision to slither off to Los Angeles.
This move was totally money driven, as the worth of his football club has increased.
There is no doubt that the Chargers have more value now that they play in the second largest city in the United States.
A man with an extreme amount of money, that has a net worth of $2.4 billion dollars, cried foul when it came to paying for a new stadium. Sadly, that is the day and age we live in. The game is not a sport anymore. It is a business.
So here we are, the citizens of America’s Finest City, with a feeling of abandonment. Summer is winding down, and any thoughts of the Chargers are on the back-burner. San Diegans have much to keep their attention away from the drama, but yet fall is coming.
That inevitable feeling that comes every first week of September will manifest again. How will we cope? How will we adjust to watching the sport, and more importantly seeing them take the field, in a city we all dislike.
How can we cope? The team is gone and the sport is dead to us. Or is it?
Last week I found myself flipping through the channels on the television. I stumbled upon a football game and yes, the Chargers were playing. I said I wouldn’t, but I did. I watched a few plays. I witnessed the team I loved for the first time since their departure, and the feelings that came over me were complicated. Ultimately I could only stomach a few minutes.
To put your heart and soul into something, and for it to end the way it did, has crushed me. I know that I am not alone.
These feelings of uncertainty are flowing through most ex-Charger fans. I realize some have followed the team to L.A. and have pledged their alliance to the team. I have nothing against them and their decision. I respect that and I certainly hope they respect my beliefs. I am a native San Diegan. I am a former season ticket holder who bled the blue and gold of the Chargers my whole life. The past nine months have been misery.
I cannot help but to think about a dear friend of mine who passed away in 2013.
He and I were close friends for nearly 25 years. The man was a die-hard San Diego Sports fan. So much of a fan of the city that, in any of our fantasy sports, he flat-out refused to trade for a Raider or Dodger. Can you imagine that? The deal could be totally one-sided in his favor, but if an L.A. player was in the deal, he nixed it.
He understood what it was like to have passion for this city. That your team was like your family. He was put to rest in a Chargers jersey. His grave marker has Chargers all over it, because that was his favorite team. His passion. I often think of him since this whole mess went down. How would he be in this time of despair? How could he possibly cope?
Dean Spanos took a lot from us that day in January. The game of football was magical for most of us. He and his group have beaten any and all innocence out of the game. This is sadly a common theme for a sport that has internal problems. The National Football League should have stepped in and done what is right. But they didn’t. Greed outweighs all and the mighty dollar powers the economy we live in. The NFL is a business, not a sport. That is a sad reality.
With less than one week to the kickoff of the 2017 NFL season, the feelings of pain have not subsided. I do not imagine they ever will completely vanish. I have this naive idea that the NFL and the Chargers will return one day. I know it’s not going to happen. But it gets me through the day.
My heart is broken and I am not alone. The pain is real and all fans should rally together in an attempt to get through this. The San Diego Chargers are no more. I still see lightning bolts around town and they still make me cringe. Please realize if you feel this pain, you are not alone. There will be better times. We just don’t see them on the horizon yet. Stay classy, San Diego.