Jack Murphy Stadium
The Chargers broke countless hearts when they finally announced they would be relocating to Los Angeles, leaving the residents of San Diego in shock, confused and heartbroken.
Some fans decided to decided to follow them to their new locale, while others decided not to support such horrible ownership and what many believe to be an incredibly poor decision.
I have with me a good friend and fellow staff writer who’s made the decision of choosing a new team, Chris Hoke.
Chris: First off, thank you for conducting this interview. It’s been a long six months since greed and selfishness took my hometown team away from me, leaving me to wonder where the fuck do I go from here.
Charlie: No problem at all! I would like to briefly go over your time as a Chargers fan and ask you a couple of questions about the process of being a free agent fan, so to speak. How long were you a fan of the Bolts? Was it a born-to-now thing? This move must’ve really crushed you.
Chris: I was Chargers fan for 25 brutal seasons. Basically since I was a little kid I grew up watching them with my grandpa and my brother. It become a Sunday tradition in our household. No matter how bad the bolts were my brother and I stuck our team.
Hearing about the bolts was definitively soul crushing. I’ve seen the Chargers get killed in their only Super Bowl appearance. I was there for LT’s last game as a Charger. I was there when the Jets beat us in the playoffs in 2010. I thought those were soul crushing experiences. They pale in comparison to losing your hometown team. It’s like your brother died. I would never wish this kind of pain on any fan. It’s truly been one of hardest times in my life.
Charlie: I’m sure if we take the Spanos family out of the picture, were looking at a much different outcome in this whole process. So that being said, what was a couple of moments being a fan that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life? There’s got to be a part of you that wants to see the players still succeed and do great, right?
Chris: As much as I despise Dean, If you took the Spanos’ out of the picture maybe things would’ve worked out. It wasn’t just his fault though the city of San Diego needs to take some of the blame. For the last 15 years both sides did this dance. Dean would come up with plans to renovate Jack Murphy Stadium or build a multi-purpose center downtown, which would host a number of sporting events. Each time Dean would do this the city turned him down; finally capping it off last November when Proposition C failed miserably. The city and Mayor Faulconer basically left Dean no choice but move the Chargers. So no, I don’t believe the end would be better without Dean. San Diego losing the Chargers was inevitable.
I don’t know if you ever went to any Chargers home games in the Q Charlie, but when the Chargers were winning there was blue and gold everywhere. This city was buzzing. One of the things I will miss about home games was the calm before the storm. The music would start and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” would hit. Then smoke would filter out of the Chargers helmet then the cannon would fire and then the starting units would be introduced. You just got that electric nervous feeling almost like you were in the game. Those nerves would be turned up even more if it was a rivalry or a playoff game.
As far as moments I’ll cherish, every game I went to was with my brother. Win or lose we were always there next to each other for support. The shared experience of moments and memories like that were enough to last a lifetime.
If I had to go back and pick one game. It would be the Colts wildcard game in 2010 when Darren Sproles scored in overtime in one of the craziest overtime endings ever. Shocking the then Super Bowl Champion Colts.
Football and the Chargers were more to me than money or the games I went to. It was family. Not Dean, not Roger Goodell or anybody will ever take that from me. Family is forever and I will forever be a San DIego Chargers fan!
As far as the players, some have handled this in a way where they can put the true San Diego Chargers fan into their perspective. Take Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates for example. They have both expressed how much San Diego meant to not only their careers but to their families as well. For those players I will cheer for them and hope they finish their careers on top.
Now for those players such as Keenan Allen, who by the way was caught wearing a Raiders hat after he was drafted; we know which team he gets soft against. Allen wasted no time burning his bridge with SD fans by tweeting how excited he was to play in LA only moments after news broke about the Bolts departing from San Diego. I would say that in my eyes those players don’t exist to me and that true Chargers fans should question those players loyalty to not only the team but to us the fans.
Charlie: Safe to say that Darren Sproles game winner has to be a top-3 moment in every Chargers’ fan memory. It was amazing. Still gives me goosebumps to this day watching it and seeing Peytons’ helpless face. *Devilish Laugh*. Now that you’re a free agent fan, have you narrowed it down to any teams in specific that you are gonna cheer for from here on out? if so, how did it come down to them? Whats the process on picking a new team? What plays a big role in attracting you to become a fan? I’m sure given this experience, a huge part has to be ownership.
Chris: I have narrowed it down to three teams. Those teams being the:
Green Bay Packers
For me it came down to several reasons,
First of all with the Packers, I’ve always loved the Packers and the history that comes with this franchise. Not to mention they are publicly owned. The team cares about its fan base. It would also be nice to be a fan of a franchise that knows what it takes to get to a Super Bowl and win.
Secondly, the Philadelphia Eagles. One of the oldest franchises in the league. Like my former team the Eagles have struggled to win a championship. They have had two Super Bowl appearances. One was in 1981 where they lost to the underdog Oakland Raiders. The second loss came in 2004 at the hands of the New England Patriots. Why the Eagles though? My best friend comes from Philly. So I’ve already become a secondary Eagles fan. Since I am now a free agent the idea of being a part of a fan base that is loyal to its team no matter what would be a breath of fresh air compared to the fair weather fan base of the San Diego/LA Chargers.
Lastly, the Chargers. I still can’t call them that disgusting cities name because really it makes me sick to my stomach. It’s like the New York Yankees moving to New Jersey and becoming the New Jersey Yankees. It would make a New Yorker sick. I digress though many may call me a hypocrite since I said “I would never cheer for a team in that city.” However, the Chargers have been all I have known for 25 years. I’ve grown up with this team. They are my blood. They are the bond that my brother and I have always shared. The Chargers are like family to me. If I were to pick them it would be not because of that shithead of an owner. Not because the Mayor of San Diego had a stick so far up his ass he refused to see the grander picture. It would be my heart. My heart has belonged to this team. Whether I like it or not it will always belong to this team.
Charlie: It truly sounds like you have limitless love for the Chargers even after this whole disaster. That’s why you and I connect in good ways. The Packers and Eagles are pretty fair choices as well. Both places can get very cold though, so if you plan on taking trips to see the teams, at Lambeau especially, make sure to bundle up. So before we get into the actual team that you’re rocking with, how has this decision affected relationships with fellow Chargers fans? Do they understand why you’re doing this? I’m sure people feel your pain to some degree. Have you lost any followers on social media?
Chris: I live in Missouri and just moved from Nebraska. I’ve adjusted to cold weather I actually prefer it as well. As far as the transition to being apart of the bolt family on social media to a free agent fan. Man, its been rough. In fact its been one hell of a past seven months. Some have accepted it and understand why I have done it. Some have chosen the same path. Such as former BoltBlitz writer Zak Darman. Others who I have considered close followers have shown anger towards myself and others saying “we were never true fans” which is preposterous. I believe as humans we all grieve in certain ways. Of course I haven’t helped my own cause when I have drunkenly mocked the bolts and L.A. For that I apologize. It was a part of the seven steps of grief anger. In fact after this interview I will no longer be talking about the move or how much I hate Dean Spanos. The subject on this matter is now officially closed!
Charlie: Hypothetical question here, lets say you pick a team that isn’t the Bolts and they end up over exceeding expectations and making playoffs, how would that make you feel? Would you consider coming back? I myself would welcome you back with open arms. Everybody makes mistakes right? All 3 teams are good this year so there should be no letdown where ever you choose to land.
Chris: If the Bolts finally exceed expectations that would be a shock. I mean every time this team is predicted to “take over” the AFC West this team falls flat on its face. So I would be shocked and happy for the players like Rivers, Gates and other veteran guys who deserve to go out on top. However I would not change my mind to be Chargers fan again. Though I’ve thought about trying to be a fan for just one year. Like a player does when he signs a one-year contract. That’s not for me though. When I pick my team this is gonna be the team I stand by till I die!
Charlie: Is everybody in the Hoke family going to be following you on this decision or will this be a solo mission? Somebody in your family had to have either helped with your decision or entice you to go a certain route? Joining a fan base alone can be like switching schools as a kid.
Chris: As I’ve stated in an earlier question. My brother will be remaining a Chargers fan. The rest of my family is either fans of different teams or they are not into football in general. So no, this is something I’ve done on my own unfortunately.
Charlie: Alright so by now, I’m pretty sure the people are on their toes. Everybody can feel your pain and love for the Chargers throughout the article. A lot of people understand you and share those same emotions. Hopefully, this article and your decision can help others and their futures as football fans. With all that being said Mr. Man-of-the-hour, what team are you going with? Who are you going to support going forward? This is a huge decision and it has me so ecstatic to find out! I just hope you’re choosing to stay with us!
Chris: Oh man, This is a question I’ve asked myself over and over for the past seven months. Its taken a lot of soul-searching to get to this point. Being that I’m the man of the hour and I’m a man of my word.
I’ve decided to take my fandom with the Chargers to LA. At the end of the day this is my team. No owner can strip that away from me. I’ve seen these players such as Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates come up from nowhere to be the NFL’s elite. More so than this the Chargers are family. As the line in “Fast and the Furious” series always says “You don’t turn your back on family.” As hard as it is to cheer for a team in a city I hate, things change and I will learn to love this team again. I would once again like to apologize to all the bolt family I’ve spurned for the past seven months. It was a part of the grieving process. I hope you all can forgive me and let me back into the bolt family once again.
Again, Charlie I would like to thank you for these wonderful questions and helping me to close a huge chapter in my life. I look forward to cheering with you on Sundays. Go Bolts!!
Charlie: Yesssssss!!! Words can’t describe how hyped I am to hear you say that. I sure as hell speak for the entire bolt family when I say “welcome back”. Something told me all along you were going to stay with the team. Your passion for this team stretches further than most. This would definitely would not be the best time to leave anyways. The talent on this squad has everybody hyped for the future and I’m truly happy that you are able to look past all the destruction and let downs over the years to stay with them. It’s only going to make winning that much better. I truly am grateful to have found out your great decision first! Next round is on me!
Charlie LaFurno and Chris Hoke
( Photo Credit: Jesse Arroyo Jesse Arroyo Photography www.ArroyoPhotos.com )
Every team in the NFL has some terms and idioms that are very specific to their organization; terrible towel, the 12th man, and the red sea to name a few. As a San Diego Charger fan, there are five terms you should know and memorize in order to increase your knowledge of the organization and become an even better fan. Now, some of these have been used since before my time, even when my parents were young football fans. Don’t feel bad if you’re a little behind, because even the players and experts need to know the specific terminology used.
San Diego Super Chargers
If you have ever been to a Charger game at Qualcomm Stadium, you have heard the fight song. If you haven’t been to a game, you need to stop what you’re doing and buy tickets to the next home game. The song was written in 1979 and had an undoubtedly disco sound to it. It was re-written in 1989, excluding the disco flare, and is used at home games after scoring and victories. It’s so popular that I have met various NFL fans that know the words and can recite it. I can hear it now, San Diego Super Chargers, San Diego Super Chargers (very high voice).
Not to be confused with a Crossfit workout called the Murph, but way back before many were even born, Qualcomm Stadium was named Jack Murphy Stadium. Yeah, it really is that old for all you kids born after 1998. The stadium was once named after Jack Murphy, a sportswriter who built the support for the stadium back in 1965. Before he died, Bob Murphy, a former New York Mets broadcaster and brother, still referred to the stadium as Jack Murphy Stadium. To this day, there are still those that call the stadium “The Murph”.
Last year, the Chargers marched into Denver and defeated the Denver Broncos in a Thursday Night Football showdown. After the game, Deion Sanders and company interviewed Philip Rivers. What caught most eyes while watching the post-game show was Rivers’ shiny bolo tie that a fan made for him. Ever since then, the bolo tie has been a symbol of how well Rivers can play in clutch scenarios. It was so popular that you can now buy t-shirts with the logo on it. I haven’t seen this yet, but someone please wear one for the remaining home games.
Have you seen this saying all over the Chargers website or even on tickets? It’s because the Bolts are a family that includes their fans and charging as one is one of the main goals of the organization. When fans gather in the stadium, getting as loud as possible when the other team is on third down is charging as one. Even gathering at a tailgate party or meetup defines this whole concept. Have you seen a team successful without working as one? I haven’t.
This is a term used by a lot of fans, personnel, and experts. Basically, it means get ready and prepare for the Chargers to play some football. It can be used many ways, but if you notice on Facebook or even Twitter people say the term “Bolt Up” in a positive way. Anytime I say it, I’m usually pumped up, heart beating fast, Chargers jersey on, beer in hand, and ready for kick off. Even if you Google search Bolt Up, you won’t find much, but that’s ok it’s a Charger thing.
I guarantee that using these expressions will make you an even better Charger fan. Also, don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm for Bolt pride. Sure, I might sound silly screaming the Charger fight song in the middle of a Packers bar or referring to “The Murph” while living in Arizona, but I don’t care because I remain a fan; I know you all do too.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of the beginning of this offseason, there is one phrase/term that stands out to me that could have been included in this article, “Next man up.” Many fans are sick of hearing it, but, the fact of the matter is, it has been exercised and used to the fullest in San Diego.
The San Diego Chargers defeated the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night, 12-9. However, unless you listened to simulcast on the Chargers Radio Network or lived outside the blackout area, you didn’t see it live. I did. At the stadium formerly known as Jack Murphy Stadium. This game was the first of what I hope to be many games I hope to see in person this season.
I’ll spare you fine readers all the fun of getting to San Diego, the horror of living outside of San Diego is a story on its own. Like many fans who fly solo, I loath having to pay $20 to park at the Q. Fashion Valley Mall intimidates me because I take their threats of being towed seriously. Fortunately, a vacant lot adjacent to Fashion Valley provides free parking and a short hike to the trolley stop.
Of course, every other Chargers fan had the same idea so I reluctantly squeezed into a car. Then it hit me, the trolley door that is. A transit cop reminded me to clear the second step and I obliged. I bumped into the gentleman in front of me and assured him I was carrying a pencil in my pocket. In the next stops, the crowded car found creative ways to make room for those leaving the trolley and there were a few.
As the trolley approached the parking lot, many fans near me remarked how they should have parked there instead. I still believe that $20 is too much for a man flying solo. If I had three other fans in the car with me and we’re tailgating. . . . well, I suppose it is a better investment.
The first thing a fan will notice upon arrival at Qualcomm Stadium is the bronze stadium of Jack Murphy and a dog. Tonight, Gate K was closed and so Gate J had to do. With increased security measures, a female fan was turned away because the only bags permitted beyond the gates had to be transparent. I hope she didn’t take the trolley. I emptied my pockets and removed my Chargers cap, per the guard’s instructions. My paper ticket was scanned and I was inside. My $23 ticket meant a hike to the view section. Fortunately, an escalator provided a one-way ticket to the top. I could hear the National Anthem, so I had to hurry.
My seat was in section 61. I was in section 37 meaning I had to walk half-way around the stadium. As the sections passed me by, I couldn’t help but notice how empty the concessions were. When I located my section and stopped for a beer, I found out why. The Super Chargers Dog cost $8 and a Coors Light served in an aluminum bottle ran $9. And how much of that goes to the team?
The announced crowd of over 51,000 was treated to a game where both teams seemed to be allergic to the end zone. Yes, with the exception of Nick Novak, Mike Scifres, and Mike Windt (he’s the long snapper), it was the final audition of about 22 men who were on the roster bubble. Many fans who sat around me confessed that if it wasn’t for GroupOn they wouldn’t be there. One college-aged woman who I assumed didn’t watch football cheered on the Cardinals in an attempt to upset her friends. I spent a chuck of the game explaining the rules to her.
With the game tied at nine in the middle of the third quarter, the fans demonstrated how bored they were when they decided to make a wave. Of course, they do the wave with the Chargers driving down the field (when the crowd should be on its best behavior). I refused to participate. It made six laps before petering out.
The wave has been in existence since 1981 (do a Google search and you’ll find another reason to hate Oakland). Yes, the phenomenon has been alive for almost 33 years. I repeat, the wave started at an Oakland A’s game on October 15, 1981 and have been a distraction ever since. On Thursday night, this particular wave wouldn’t have been so bad if the Cardinals had the ball instead.
By the end of the third quarter, it was pretty clear that Brad Sorensen was not going to do enough to make the team and it was time to beat the crowds to the trolley station. Since every loyal Chargers fan wants to add to his collection of apparel, I thought I’d check out the Chargers team store which was located at Gate A. I’m sad to report it’s not there. However, the good news is the store has moved to bigger location behind Gate G. As a guy who thought that the best place to buy Chargers apparel was Sports Fantasy, I was blown away. Honestly, I’m not hard to please. I did have a difficult time justifying why I should pay almost $300 for a sewn on genuine jerseys. Also, I won’t be talking about unauthorized jerseys that can be purchased from China (another story for another day). Perhaps I’ll return when it is open on a non-game day.
The trolley ride back wasn’t too bad (minus one individual who forgot his manners and hit a bunch of riders with his bike). The crowded trolley thinned out at Hazard Center since I can only assume the owners here don’t have a problem with fans using their parking and taking the trolley to the stadium.
For a moment, I thought the stadium was adequate and didn’t need fixing. Of course, with the price of fielding a championship caliber team always going up that viewpoint won’t fly with the constant threat coming from the north. For this season, I’ll believe that the Chargers have as good as chance as any team in bringing the Lombardi Trophy to San Diego. I’ll enjoy as games as I can afford at Qualcomm Stadium.
My only wish for now is that fans make noise when the opponent has the ball, helps the offense by staying quiet, and if at all possible, lower the price of beer.
Finally, call me David Downer, but kill the wave. It had its moment but after all these years I think we’re too busy live tweeting to even bother participating.