It was the summer of 1982 – I remember it very clearly. I was standing in my room, with MLB wallpaper surrounding me. My father was ranting about his favorite baseball team, the Twins, and I realized that I did not have a team in any sport that I cheered for. At that moment, I decided to be my own person and cheer for the same team in every sport for the rest of my life. Should I get behind the Twins? I knew my dad loved the Twins and Vikings because he was born in Minnesota. I said, “I live in Arizona so what professional teams can I become a die-hard fan of? The Phoenix Suns – CHECK!” Now I knew there wasn’t any professional baseball of football teams in Arizona, so what should I do? I distinctly remember looking up at my wallpaper and seeing the San Diego Padres emblem. “Well, I was born in San Diego and I love baseball – CHECK!” Football was next on my list. How fitting was it that a few months earlier I had watched “The Epic in Miami” with my dad and now I was about to select the Chargers as my forever team. I remember my dad telling me after that game, “Son, this is a man’s game and this is how the game should be played.” San Diego Chargers – CHECK!
I was born in late 1972, the location was La Mesa, CA. I lived there for a few years until my parents moved my sister and I further north to Camarillo, CA. At age 5, my dad was transferred to Arizona where I would remain until after i graduated from High School. We were a middle class family that took summer vacations every year to San Diego. We would do the “touristy” stuff, Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Zoo, the beaches…etc., but every other year I would get to go to a Padre game at the Murph. I actually still have a pin that says “Goose Saved The Game” on it. In my teens, it became more and more apparent that I seemed to be the only one I knew to cheer for the Padres/Chargers. Then I met my longtime friend Jim, who had recently moved from San Diego to my town and he was a die-hard as well. I knew I now had a best friend for life.
After High School, I needed to leave. The heat, my parents and all the girls who broke my heart, drove me to find another place to call home. I was involved with my church and realized I had a special gift of listening to people and helping others. So I decided to find a Christian University where I could receive my degree in Social Work as well as continue to play baseball. I moved to Portland, OR where I attended and graduated from Concordia University. Now that I was in the NW, and the only other Bolt fan I knew had remained in Arizona to attend college, I was once again in a lonely place.
I remained a true Chargers fan and I was fine with being “different.” My first NFL game was in Seattle when the Seahawks hosted the Bills. The Hawk fans were loud and seemed to be passionate. I did like the fact that I was cheering for the home team, but it also make me sad that I had never seen the Chargers play at home. Should I switch? I mean, I could be living in the NW for a very long time. NO! I was not going to break the promise I made to myself. Then it happened – the 1994 SB team. It was like a sign from the football Gods paying me for my loyalty. The Divisional Playoffs vs. Miami was a blur, but I remember the best play, in my opinion, of our team’s history in the AFC Championship game. I know exactly where I was – alone in the basement of my now ex-in-laws, getting chills watching the replay of Dennis Gibson’s pass deflection that sealed the game and sent the team to their first ever Super Bowl.
I graduated college in 1996 and moved to Seattle, WA. Now even further away from the nest city in the world and still being the only fan I knew, I was once again on an island – literally too since I did live on Vashon Island briefly. I made the best of it. When MLB decided to have Interleague in 1997 I was torn – I was an old school traditionalist and loved the fact that the AL and NL never met until the World Series, but I also was a lonely Padre fan and couldn’t wait to see my Padres in Washington. In 1999, my last year living in Renton, WA., I was able to attend my first Charger game. It was a victorious game for the team, a battle of the FG kickers, but I was happy. There were a hand full of blue and yellow jerseys in attendance and when we passes each other to the food court or restroom, it was like we were long-lost family members. My eyes were open to the possibility that there might be other Bolt Heads near me but how do I seek them out?
In 2000, I divorced my wife and move to Florida where I remain today. Now I was even further away from Bolt Nation. Then about four years ago, while watching a game at Buffalo Wild Wings, I met another fan – Tom. His whole family, wife and two daughters, were all decked out in Sproles, Gates and Rivers jerseys. It was such a nice find especially with my wife’s family being die-hard Steeler fans (Anyone relate to my daily hell??) Being in the “melting pot” of Florida I seem to always be outnumbered – Bucs, Giants, Patriots, Steelers and Broncos overwhelm me. Even though Tom and his lovely family were here to share and enjoy the games with me, I still felt alone. Then I met BoogaP.
Like many of you, I owe Booga a lot for bringing me aboard BoltBlitz and introducing me to all of you. I joined Twitter earlier this year at age 41 and had no idea what was in store. After BoogaP and I followed each other, I sent him a DM about a tweet he sent wanting staff writers. I jumped at the chance since I love to write and what better way than to write about one of my passions, to write about the best team in America’s finest city. I stand here before all of you with tears of joy streaming down as I look at my life divided into two – the lonely soldier to now a part of the Bolt Family. Even though I am still profoundly sad that I am not out in San Diego and able to meet most of you, especially for the 2nd BoltBlitz Meetup, I feel that I am a part of this unique and tremendous community. I no longer walk around town or in Tampa Bay when the Chargers play the Buccaneers, wearing my jersey and feeling isolated.
I just wanted to take this time and explain my story of how alone I have felt my whole life and to express gratitude to all of you, especially BoogaP, for making me feel a part of the greatest community of fans in the world. #BoltUp #DieHardForever
Want to tell me your story? Want to ask me any questions about mine? Go ahead! Would love to hear from any and all of you. Comment below or find me out on twitter at @C_F_O_A
“PEACE….and Boltness Forever” – BWK