The Coast News Group
Chargers QB Justin Herbert. Photo via Twitter/Barstool Sports
ColumnsNewsSportsSports Talk

Bolts are gone, but remain a lightning rod for locals

It’s that time of the year when the tourists exit North County, the hint of fall visits the air and Sundays, for some, still mean Chargers football.

Some habits die hard and watching the Bolts on autumn weekends was an event that generations of locals embraced. 

Rockin’ Chargers gear on Friday in the office — before remote became routine — was one of the joys, and signs, that a Chargers game was around the corner.

That intersection is now a blind side to thousands as they turned from the Chargers when the organization did a pivot toward Los Angeles. 

If the Chargers were going to mimic Eli Manning and determine that America’s Finest City wasn’t right for them, then those loyal backers could certainly return the feeling by rebuffing their once beloved Bolts.

But not everyone told the Chargers to go pound sand and an informal survey of North County watering holes on Sunday confirmed it.

If ducking into any of them, the Chargers-Dolphins game was being shown and usually on the establishment’s biggest screen.

The Chargers, like they usually do, played to their script in losing late to the Dolphins, 36-34. The squad many once cheered to flourish, was bombarded with a mixture of jeers, too. 

Instead of winning their “home” opener they again blew a lead thanks to a defense which was as sturdy as Chargers owner Dean Spanos’ assertion that he didn’t want to leave San Diego.

The diverse reactions during games are among the interesting tidbits when ex-Chargers boosters watch their former bunch. It’s a love-hate relationship, with many of those jilted San Diego customers loving to hate on the Chargers.

But others stiff-arm the notion that lousy ownership, i.e. the Spanos family, warrants them ignoring the Chargers. Why should Team Spanos wield such power to derail what was once a San Diego tradition like no other.

While the disappointing Padres certainly have a stranglehold on area sports, it wasn’t always so. This region was Chargers Country and it wasn’t even close, with other teams taking a backseat to everyone showing their lightning bolt!

The easy answer here is everyone has the freedom to stay true to the Chargers — and not the owner — or be done with the conniving NFL business model. 

It’s the one that encourages fans to surrender a big chunk of what they have — financially and emotionally — until a better deal is constructed in a different city,

The Chargers didn’t blow off San Diego because of a lack of support, as it was a following that often supported a vastly inferior product. Those believers turned out not for their connection to the Spanos family, but their family. 

Having the Chargers’ backs, regardless of their record, was passed on from San Diego grandparents to parents to children.

It’s a delicate dance on Sundays and this Sunday the Chargers waltz off to Tennessee. They’ll play the Titans, while at the same time many remember the Chargers.

Make that the San Diego Chargers and it’s a comforting stroll down memory lane.

Make that the Los Angeles Chargers, and the meme of the guy shrugging his shoulders comes to mind.

The Chargers are gone, but they’re not dead to some. The Chargers are gone and that’s enough for many to switch the channel at kickoff.

After scribbling about them for three decades, I still tune in. I was never a Chargers fan, but I was always interested and that’s truer now more than ever.

With the Bolts’ Justin Herbert serving as my quarterback in our fantasy league, I try not to miss a snap. But I respect others who snap whenever the Chargers enter a conversation.

Just be wary when asking the barkeep to mute the Chargers. The sound of silence, when it comes to the Chargers, isn’t for everyone.

But if they aren’t your cup of tea, we can read those leaves, too.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] and follow him @jparis_sports

Leave a Comment