If you want a truly character-building experience, root for a mediocre professional sports team. Mind you, I didn’t say a losing team because then, at least, you get predictability. But with a mediocre team you are subjected to veritable roller coaster every season. Will they win? Will they lose? Why the hell did they lose THAT game? How the fuck did they pull that one off? If you’re not already psychologically and/or emotionally damaged—believe me, this will do it.
I became a Chargers fan by default. OK, maybe not default per se but more like subtle bribery. You see, I was an Oakland Raiders fan for years. Being originally from the Los Angeles area I remember watching the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders with my grandpa and just sort of gravitated to the Raiders. Probably because I wore a lot of dark colors during my teenage years to reflect my requisite angst but also because I liked pirates. But, you may say, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are pirates too. Yes, they are. Good point. However, back in the 1970s and 1980s the God-awful orange creamsicle Three-Musketeers pirate uniforms just didn’t do it for me. Even after moving to Denver when I was twelve, I remained a Raiders fan which—coupled with the fact that I was a nerd extraordinaire—was traumatic. However, once I married my ex-husband—and moved to San Diego to be with him—he gifted me, er, us with Chargers’ season tickets.
That first year I proudly wore my silver and black to each home game, much to the chagrin of those among whom we sat; however, the more we attended games and the more I realized how much money we were investing in the team via tickets, memorabilia, and team apparel for hubby, I officially converted. Now, I don’t know how familiar you are with being “jumped out” of a gang but leaving Raider Nation is comparable from what I heard.
Not only did I survive but I embraced the Chargers wholeheartedly and continued to do so after my divorce. I maintained a Chargers blog for a few years. I wrote (and sporadically continue to write) Chargers articles for Sporting News, Bleacher Report, and Football Nation. I collected memorabilia—much of it autographed. My house looked like a 14-year-old boy’s room.
As a “sports writer,” however, my objectiveness is blatantly lacking. Not unlike my fantasy football draft process. If I don’t like a particular team (there are several) or a particular player, no matter how good he may be, I can’t bear to draft him. The same goes for my highly-opinionated articles which have drawn not-so-constructive criticism from my “fans.” But the point of my hours slaving in front of my computer doing research on NFL.com about players’ stats, histories, vertical reach, and favorite flavors of ice cream to write articles for which I’m not being paid is for exposure and to, hopefully, provide a humorous reprieve from the daily grind of life to my readers.
Addendum: Since the Chargers moved to Los Angeles last year, I no longer root for them. Well, not overtly.
“There’s two times of year for me: Football season, and waiting for football season.” ~ Darius Rucker
(Photo credit: Eric Neitzel, Flickr)