In our newest edition of Fan Perspective, I am sitting down with Charger super fan Morgan Harpenau. He has been a fan of the Bolts for years. His love of the Chargers is strong and undying.
Let’s get right to it.
Booga: Tell us about how you became a Charger fan and when it all started?
Morgan: Boy, I am not sure of the exact year, but I believe it was the early 90’s. My reasoning was that I became a huge fan of Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau. When I was a child, the only sport I played was outdoor soccer. I thought that sports were played solely for fun. But every time we won a game, if I had made a mistake during the game, my father on the drive home would say the team would have achieved a better outcome. It wasn’t just about one play, it was about multiple plays. Being young and delusional, I didn’t really care.
Booga: Who is your favorite Charger of all-time?
Morgan: Drew Brees. He is a class-act and he has a huge heart and it was easy to look up to him.
Booga: If there was one moment in Charger history that sticks out to you, what moment was it and why?
Morgan: It was 2007 against the Titans. It was a dogfight. That game was wild. The defense was going ballistic. Chambers made an incredible catch which helped change the game. It was a hard-hitting game and very physical.
Booga: If you were to grade the 2014 Chargers, what grade would you give them?
Morgan: C. When you look at the teams they have beaten, it seems as though there is a lack of consistency on both sides of the ball. If I were to start with the positives, the team has played through a big amount of injuries. The whole “Next man up”, is getting old and I was expecting this team to play at a higher level than last year. They seem to be holding back.
Booga: I have already asked you this, but please elaborate on how your love of the Chargers began and explain how this all came to be.
Morgan: First off, it ran in the family; mainly my mom. I was a huge Padres’ fan and that was when they were still sharing the stadium with the Chargers. I only attended Padre games because my family didn’t enjoy attending football games with drunk people. After attending many Padre games, I built up my love for all of the San Diego franchises.
Booga: If there was one thing you could change about the 2014 Chargers, what would it be and why?
Morgan: I’d have to say the defensive line. There is no killer instinct. Liuget is the only member of the D-line to create havoc. That has to change. And it needs to change asap.
Booga: Which player is the most important when it comes to reaching the playoffs this year?
Morgan: It starts with Philip Rivers. He is the general of the team, and when the defense doesn’t do their job it is up to him to pick up the slack. His play determines whether or not the Chargers make the playoffs.
Booga: Why do you think that the 3rd ranked offensive line of 2013 has fallen so low during the 2014 season?
Morgan: Losing Nick Hardwick and Jeromey Clary was huge. DJ Fluker having ankle injuries has been a hindrance to the Oline. Ohrnberger has had health issues and that has not helped the situation. We are about to learn a lot about Chris Watt during the next five games. When you’re running with second-tier and third-tier players, it’s hard to compete with the defensive lines in the NFL.
Booga: Will Ryan Mathews return in 2015?
Morgan: No. I truly like Mathews, but due to health and his inability to stay on the field makes the decision easy for Telesco. I love his physicality, and his ability to change the game. But, his ball security is an issue and his coaches have shown that they might not have trust in him when it comes to the redzone.
Booga: Some fans have accused you of being a fake fan. What do you have to say to those people who don’t get it? They have questioned your devotion to the team, and they have gone as far as to say that you’re not a true Charger fan.
Morgan: Number one, I am not a pom-pom fan. Number two, I’m a fan of this team, and I can’t wait for San Diego to celebrate a Championship. Number three, I used to be a patient fan, but I thought that the squad could achieve a Super bowl victory in the Marty years. But, they ended up not getting the job done. Then that one guy was hired, and a lot of the fans were really pissed off. The fans were desperate for a Super bowl. The fans were impatient and they took the keys to the Ferrari and ended up with a Yugo of coach.
Booga: Why is it that Charger fans on social media doubt your love for the Chargers?
Morgan: Fans need to understand the intricacies of the game. I am not trying to be critical of fans. But there is a level of misunderstanding among the fans. I have been a fan long enough to understand that this is not a Championship team and they won’t be that for the next two or three years.
Booga: How will you feel when the Chargers win their first Super bowl?
Morgan: I would put my hands over my head due to joy and amazement. I would hug every Charger fan I could find! I would think back to all of the hard times and all of the money I spent on the gear and jerseys. Being a season-ticket-holder for two years, I sat through the Denver debacle, the Houston mess-up, and the 4th and 29 BS. And yet, I am still here, buying tickets and finding more Charger friends on social media and reaching out to as many fans as possible.
The year I became serious about Charger fandom was 2006 and I spent most of that time living in Portland, Oregon. I thought I was the only Charger fan north of the 619 area code for the first three years until 2009. I was wearing a Chargers hat at Trader Joe’s and someone asked me if I watched the games at Claudia’s sports pub. This was when the Chargers were 2-3 and went on to win 11 straight. Two of the first people I met at Claudia’s were JR and Al.
JR was captain high-five and made sure on every score he high-fived each person in Blue and Gold. Al Herre was like a hybrid of Sam Kinison and a San Diego sports database going back to the sixties. Often in his ’63 AFL Championship shirt, Al was, and is, the Portland Chargers mascot. With a mouth that makes sailors blush and Raiders fans ready to brawl, Al is impossible to miss. He is the owner and operator of Portland’s best Falafel stand, Fat Kitty Falafel.
JR is writer with a book out and plays drums in a metal band. Both are fun and interesting people who represent hardcore for the Bolts in Portland!
My first time at Claudia’s in 2009 there were at least 30 Chargers fans there, but it all started with these two, representing all by themselves. Now in their own words, here are JR and Al.
David Agranoff: So, you’ve both been Charger fans for a long time. How did you become a Charger fan?
JR Holland : Growing up in San Diego the Chargers basically stunk. My dad was a football fan, college and pro. His allegiance was to the game and players he liked. Barry Sanders was my favorite player, so I actually rooted for the Lions, for many years. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending…and ironically enough, the Lions stunk too. Anyway, John Elway and the Broncos went to the Super Bowl in 1988, which was played at the Murph, and My Dads girlfriend took me to a “Super Bowl Party” the week of the big game at the Murph…Denver fans were the absolute the definition of obnoxious, I never got over it. She was a HUGE Bolt fan, as well as her son. Passionate, supportive, throwing things at her ginormous television. That was where I learned what being a fan was. When the Bolts made that epic Super Bowl run, I was as stoked for her as much for the team. She sent me a baby blue AFC West Champions t-shirt with the old school Charger horse on it. (I had moved to Virginia for a couple of years. ’94-’97) My journey to Charger Fandom was long, and shape-shifting. Life happens during the off season, and being a fan STILL has different meaning to me year to year. That’s it.
Al Herre: Mr. David you do not become a Charger fan. It is born into you without knowing. I had a sense of fashion in the 60’s and watched the Chargers in black and white. I was a Niner kid by birth. Meeting Pete Shaw at my house and changed my forced upon allegiance. I’m not a niner hater, my NFC team always that broke my heart like SD as a kid. I was always straight up SD. Jerry Coleman Padres announcer to manager. The San Diego Mariners WHL entry and the ABA’s Conquistadors. I was given in 1969 for XMAS by my request at 8, the Viewmaster Charger reel. Imagine looking at a 3D pic over and over without movement. My for real first time watching was some drunk 60’s party on Whidbey Island in 67 on a B and W TV against the Buffalo Bills. Bambi lit them up!
DA: Al When you think of the Chargers, do you think old school or recent history?
AH: It crashes my brain. I guess I would say 78 thru 83. I have back up to prove how excited I was as a kid when Unitas came to SD. I was naïve, Harland Svare. 73 crushed me as a 12 yr old. For the brick in wall best moment for me was 94. I was living in NYC. The year I changed coasts we go w/Stan and Natrone. In powder blues half the time. My favorite moment is Dennis Gibson stopping that shit at the 2.
DA: JR what are your favorite Chargers memories?
JR: I’ve got a crazy good memory for Charger games, because I do more than “watch” them, I feel like I absorb them.
Drew Brees threw a pass to Eric Parker, just a little 8 yarder, that was thrown when Parker was running full steam past a defender on the side line. The ball was released before he was around the defender, and caught just on the other side, about knee height. He didn’t even have time to see the freakin’ pass. That was when I knew Brees was a Jedi.
In 2004, when LT got a first down to seal the game against the Texans, for his first season opening win. I loved seeing him celebrate. He knew the season was going to be different(from 6-10 to 12-4.) those are some personal faves…Volek, Nanee and Sproles winning touchdown drive against IN Indy was awesome…But. We went to Seattle on Christmas Eve 2006, In the rain for 4 hours, and seeing Phil “shiver me” Rivers put the dagger to the SeaChickens with 49 seconds left…..awesome. That was as close to a playoff game as I’d ever been, and we almost didn’t make it out alive. (Thanks, Al!)
AH: Bolts win with a minute left. Rivers to Vincent. It was like Custer’s Last Stand. I kid you not!
DA: Five Favorite Chargers of all-time?
AH: For pure fun in times of desperation…Little Train James. #33 Ronnie Harmon. Rest in Peace, Seau. Stan Humphries aka Hulk Hogan. Fouts and ALL he threw to…Jefferson, Chandler. Oh…Hank Bauer too. Are there better players than these? Hell yeah, but these are my favorites. Oh yeah Gary Garrison!
JR: Does Tony Gwynn count? RIP Seau…’nuff said.
Mr. Everything Himself, The Great L.T. for giving myself and my hometown a Barry Sanders to root for!!! Has there ever been a more ridiculously awesome guy?
Now it gets trickier…I can’t go old school cause that’s not fair….I loved Leslie O’Neil..met him at a golf course I worked at, golfing with Tony Gwynn (Leslie was golfing, not me) He was great, and I liked Ronnie Harmon…maybe not top 5 though….screw it! The whole 95 chargers are on my top 5!!! They went to the GODDAMN SUPERBOWL!!!
Jamal “the Wall” Williams and last but not least…..my man from Oregon Duck Football, Dan Fouts…but that was easy, I guess. I almost chose Eric Parker who I really, really like but that game against the Pats in the playoffs….Nevermind! Screw that! Marlon McCree fumbled that game away…ERIC PARKER IT IS: (5a He was underrated, and for the most part clutch. Career too short. bummer. But he (with a little help from Brees and LT) brought winning football back to San Diego.
DA: What is it like for you being Bolts fan in Portland?
AH:I ran the gamut. I preferred my days in NYC when all my stars aligned partially. 94 NYC! Imagine one bar in Manhatten…with the big dishes. Truth be told… Charger fever only exists in the true mother effah. Wherever she/ he/we all know. No body in Portland is from here. That’s why Claudia’s rocks. It’s the Charger bar, but everybody is welcome.
JR: I moved to Portland 2004 in July. September right around the corner I had to find a post up spot. Sports bars like that didn’t exist in MY San Diego life, and I just walked in. Packed to the gills with every fan you could think of. The chargers were on a tiny, little screen in the corner, and I sat at the closest table I could.
“This seat taken?” I asked.
“Have a seat,” in a low, gravelly voice as he spoke I noticed the bolt on his hat. “looks like I picked the right table” I said. That was Al. We beat the Texans. We met up again next week, won again and Al and I have watched every game since. (well…till i fathered a baby 2 years ago…DOH!)
The bar had great Ju Ju, so we kept comin’. With so many people there on Sundays, though, it was tough to get a seat, depending on where your T.V. was, so we moved to a corner in the back room and got a little sanctuary with 2 T.V.s and could run, high-five, drink as much coffee as we could, celebrate as much as we wanted, and it was awesome. It slowly grew from that and, eventually we grew 1 by 1. Josh and Matt and John were officially the next 3(I don’t even know their last names) and I would only see these people during football season. It was just a given. One time I gave a dude high-five, and said “You a Bolts fan?”( i think this was when we stopped Indy’s bid for 16-0…13-1 baby!!!) and he said, “no, I just like to watch you guys watch the Chargers”…that was when I knew we were weirdos…..Al’s blogging helped a bit too, I think.
DA: I will miss watching games with you guys at Claudia’s. Tons of fun memories. Seems like we were more creative bunch, writers, artists, musicians and a Falafel stand owner… Why do you think that is?
JR: Charger fans more creative than other NFL fans?…Sure why not? Have you seen the broncos mascot? if a naked dude wearing a barrel is considered a mascot. I don’t need him takin’ pictures with my kid! Seriously though. I’m not sure there is a correlation. I know we have the best weather, so there are things to do year round. I deal with seasons now and yearn for my 72 and sunny. I have also made friends with awesome peeps that are simply misguided. One thing was for sure we brought our shit to the HOUSE at Claudia’s! Costumes, flags, Light up Shirts! Doughnuts, Conga lines through the bar after a win”Cha Cha Cha Cha CHARGERS! Cha Cha Cha Cha CHARGERS!”okay, I take it back. We are the most creative. Those were the days.
DA: I am wondering JR if you could give BoltBlitz readers some thoughts about Mike McCoy and this new era of Bolts football?
JR: Mike McCoy has this team focused. It’s always been extremely talented, but dysfunctional. I remember wondering why we made everything look so difficult. Norv had some decent success early on, one 3rd and 1 conversion to a Superbowl ( i think we would have won), But he had the help from a weak division, and eventually went COMPLETELY WACKO!!! McCoy had disciplined football from DAY ONE! Whisenhunt was a damn fine OC, we’ll see if that production can continue, but…I think pieces we have can only improve on last year. He reminds me of a championship caliber coach. Sooooo, LETS DO IT!!
David Agranoff is the author of three novels published by Deadite press one of the world’s leading publisher of cult horror novels. His latest Boot Boys of the Wolf-Reich is coming of age horror novel about anti-racist skinheads in gang war with Nazi werewolves. All three of his novels are available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @DAgranoffauthor or look him up on Facebook.
In another edition of Fan Perspective on BoltBlitz.com, we have the pleasure of sitting down with a diehard Charger fan, Vincent Anthony Diano. He has been supporting the team for almost ten years and he hasn’t looked back since. He is currently in the law enforcement field and he’s always supporting your San Diego Chargers.
Booga: What made you become a Charger fan?
Vincent: In 2006, my dad and uncle bought me a ticket to the Chiefs and Chargers game. I decided to go and I got to watch LaDainian Tomlinson in action. It was awesome. I can’t tell you how cool it was to see him live. What a player.
Booga: Who is your favorite player of all-time and why?
Vincent: Eric Weddle. I say that due to the David versus Goliath principle. He may be a smaller player but he plays with so much passion. He plays bigger than what you would expect from a man of his stature and he is a natural-born leader.
Booga: What is your favorite Charger moment of all-time?
Vincent: My favorite moment in Charger history, in my time as a Charger fan, would have to be the Pittsburgh game in 2012 where the Chargers went into hostile territory and beat the Steelers. My sister is a HUGE Pittsburgh fan and it was nice to see the Bolts win in Pittsburgh.
Booga: What is your favorite Charger jersey that you own?
Vincent: I have two. I have a Rivers powder blue and a Ryan Mathews navy blue. I take them with me everywhere.
Booga: What are your expectations for the 2014 Chargers?
Vincent: I expect the defense to play a lot better. I have watched both preseason games and I saw a lot of positives and negatives during both games. But I understand that when you play teams in both the preseason and regular season, you can only show the opposing teams so much knowing that you are going to face them in the games that count.
Booga: If you had to guess how the Chargers would finish the regular season record-wise, what would that be and why?
Vincent: I would say that they have a very tough schedule but they’re a much better team than last year. I love the addition of Brandon Flowers. I am really looking forward to the three-headed monster at the running back position. I would expect a 10-6 record. That relies heavily upon an improved defense due to the draft and signing of Flowers. It’s also another year in Pagano’s 3-4.
Booga: How often do you visit BoltBlitz.com and do you listen to BoltBlitzLIVE on Mountain Country 107.9 with Booga Peters and Thomas Powell?
Vincent: I have yet to listen to the show and it’s only due to a lack of time to do either that or click on the website. I promise to change that. But, I will be listening and checking out this website.
On behalf of all of the staff at BoltBlitz.com, I’d like to thank Vincent for taking the time to sit down with us for this phone interview. He nailed it and we would love to have him call into the show sometime in the near future.
Thanks a lot for reading.