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It's Time To Start Running

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by BlueandGold, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. BlueandGold

    BlueandGold The Oracle

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    The ball fell harmlessly out of the reach of Chris Chambers, and the crowd of 75,000+ erupted in sheer joy. The game was over, and the once-mighty San Diego Chargers, 14-2 and 11-5 the two previous years, were 0-2 to start the 2008 NFL Season.

    While Denver celebrated around them, a stunned Charger team filed into the locker room. It was the second stunning last-second loss in a row, a heartbreaker, and now the team that had been the preseason Superbowl favorite, a team that had every expectation of dominance, was looking up at the AFC West. And it hurt.

    "It should hurt," Philip Rivers said later. "If you're a competitor and you care, it ought to eat at you and bother you."

    "You're ticked," Head Coach Norv Turner said, echoing his quarterback. "[But] then you know that no matter what you do, it's not going to change that decision."

    And yet, like his team, there was a spark in the veteran head coach, shining through the anger and dissatisfaction.

    "You have to move on. It's gone. We get ready and we get started [and it's] not going to be a thought in my mind, because my mind says, 'How do we prepare to play our best football game on Monday night?'"

    LaDainian Tomlinson's statement was even stronger.

    "When you're 0-2, people start to panic. It's human nature. Even we can start to panic."

    Then, with a knowing smile tickling the edges of his mouth, the first ballot Hall of Famer says softly, "But, it's a long season."

    ---​

    The Kentucky Derby is a long race.

    The gates fell open at the starting gun ,and the 13 horses, the best 3-year-olds in the sport, broke onto the track. Among them, but starting late and towards the rear of the pack, was a big red colt with a white blaze and three white socks. Most of the 134,476 people watching on that day in 1973 were watching that big red colt. Horse of the Year in the year prior, people were expecting great things of him.

    However, this horse, that so many people watched with great expectations, was a notoriously slow starter.

    In his maiden race at Aqueduct the previous July, he had started slow, and was not able to make up enough ground to win. Still, he finished fourth in a field of twelve after starting out tenth.

    At the Champagne Stakes three months later, he had started last out of he gate. In the meanwhile, his stablemate Angle Light leapt out of the starting gates like a horse possessed and blistered the track by running first 3/4 mile in just under 1:10. After a half mile in a mile long race, the red horse was still in last. But as the horses at the front began to tire, the two-year-old had only begun to run. In one quarter of a mile, the colt had passed the entire field to take the lead, then went on to win by two lengths. However, he had bumped one of the horses while coming out of the last turn. While the jockey had done his best to steer the horse away from the other, the track officials disqualified him.

    The winner of one of the most memorable runnings of the Champagne Stakes in 101 years, a race that he had won without question... had lost. A remarkable quarter mile for naught.

    That was seven months ago.

    The red colt, running steadily in 11th place into the first turn of the 1973 Kentucky Derby, began to run.

    ---​

    ""We can't get ahead of ourselves," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said two months ago. "We've got to make sure we take care of right now."

    His statement was one born of hard experience, of a 1-3 start in 2007.

    Coming off of a 14-2 record the year prior, the sudden shocking nature of the Chargers' three consecutive losses to the Packers, the Patriots, and the Chiefs (after an opening day win against the Bears) had turned many preseason prognistications upside down.

    The Chargers had lost to the Kansas City Chiefs on the last day of September 2007; and if there ever was panic, it was then. The fans had begun booing the team, and with four minutes left in the fourth quarter the crowd had begun chanting the name of the coach who had preceded Norv Turner.

    "MAR-TY! MAR-TY! MAR-TY!"

    The Associated Press called the Chargers "a mess". Fans and media alike assumed that things were spiraling out of control for the last-place Chargers. The players were not far behind.

    Lorenzo Neal: "Things are getting away from us, and before you know it, you'll look back six or seven weeks from now and say, 'What happened?'"

    LaDainian Tomlinson: "The way we've been playing, I can't say I blame [the fans for booing]."

    Philip Rivers: "We're frustrated more than anyone else outside."

    The Chargers were in the rear of the pack.

    But while the large part of the media moved on to the more interesting story of New England's torrid undefeated streak, the Chargers started to run.

    ---​

    The big red horse blasted into the first turn, and slowly but surely began moving up the field. Tenth place... then ninth... eighth... seventh...

    The colt sped into the straightaway, gaining speed. Suddenly, directly in front of him, was Angle Light, his fast starting stable mate from the Champagne Stakes.

    The announcer, Cawood Ledford, with mild surprise in his voice as if noticing the sudden challenge from far back in the field, said briefly, "Secretariat has made a sudden move and is now sixth."

    ---​

    The Chargers had recovered from their 1-3 start to enter the eleventh week of the 2007 at 5-4. After winning a close game with the defending Superbowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, the Chargers headed to Jacksonville hoping to build momentum for a postseason run.

    Instead, the Chargers lost 24-17 in a game the newspapers called "a self destruction". Philip Rivers threw an interception to Sammy Knight with little less than two minutes remaining to seal the defeat.

    "I know I'm a little angry, some other guys are [too]," then-Charger safety Marlon McCree stated after the game.

    Philip Rivers added, "The goal obviously was to not be 5-5."

    But even in the lee of a difficult, deflating loss, the Chargers did not lose hope.

    McCree continued, "We've got to channel that anger and disappointment and dig ourselves out of this hole. We've just got to keep fighting."

    Philip Rivers, the second year QB whose hold on his locker room appeared to be slipping, said simply: "The goal was to give us a shot in January and that goal is still obtainable."

    It was more than obtainable - the San Diego Chargers would not lose again for another two months, in the AFC Championship Game.

    ---​

    "Secretariat is now fourth and is moving up on the outside, and is now third!"

    The colt had passed Angle Light and was still gaining speed. As the field came out of the last turn, his hooves kicked up the track dust marking his now-legendary stride. Around and behind him, horses were fading back. Secretariat only gained speed.

    Now he was in second, flashing down the straightaway, gaining relentlessly on the leading horse, Sham.

    "Secretariat is in the center of the racetrack and driving!" Ledford cried.

    The crowd's roar rose in crescendo as Secretariat continued to run... past Sham, past everyone, into immortality.

    ---​

    "It's a long season," LaDainian Tomlinson said, smiling gently, answering questions at a press conference only one day after the painful week 2 loss to the Broncos.

    "We've got four months. We're in the first quarter of a season, [but] this is a four month season and I can promise you, I promise you, it's like I told you last year... you can take this to the bank... this team is like a quarter horse and in the end, it's going to come running.

    ---​

    The Kentucky Derby is a long race... 1 mile and a quarter. It was the longest race Secretariat had ever run up to that point, and even his most ardent fans were unsure if the grueling race would be too much for him.

    Instead, Secretariat set a world record time, 1:59 2/5, in the Kentucky Derby that stands to this day. In fact, no horse would run the Derby in under two minutes until 2001, 28 years later.

    More remarkably, Secretariat ran each quarter mile segment of the Derby faster than the one before it. He was still accelerating when he crossed the finish line at world record speed.

    He came running.

    ---​

    The San Diego Chargers are 0-2.

    Many have begun to dismiss the preseason favorites, looking elsewhere for other stories, winners, huge winning margins and undefeated records.

    But, as it was a year ago, the players have not lost hope. Instead, they move forward into the future with the assurance of a team that has been there before, that has come through the fire before, and know they can do it again.

    “Being 0-2 and not getting off to a (good) start, it’s either going to make you a better player and person or it’s going to make you worse,” Philip Rivers said on Monday. “We aren’t going to stay the same. Hopefully it’ll make us better. That’s what we’re planning on.”

    Is it even possible? Can they put on a repeat comeback, return to greatness from last place two years in a row?

    ---​

    One month after his legendary Run for the Roses, Secretariat would run the Belmont and win the Triple Crown in what many consider the greatest race ever run by a racehorse.

    In front of 67,605 spectators, he would run the fastest 1 1/2 dirt mile in history, in two minutes and 24 seconds, shattering the old record by over 2 seconds. It still stands today; in fact, no horse has ever come within a full second of that time on dirt.

    The slow starter's greatest race.

    Perhaps the San Diego Chargers, having started slow but finished fast once, merely have their greatest race ahead of them.

    They just have to start running. :bolt:
     
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  2. sickswonnyne

    sickswonnyne Well-Known Member

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    Who wrote this? U did?
     
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  3. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    its truth
     
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  4. BlueandGold

    BlueandGold The Oracle

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    Yes, I did.

    It's was LT's quote about the quarter horse that brought the comparison to mind.
     
  5. Gridreaper

    Gridreaper BoltTalker

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    ...Great read! Right before that desparation hail mary fell helplessly to the ground, I remember thinking "in a game as bizarre and unfair as this, justice would be served if Chambers had come up with it". Even before that, I could almost visualize Sproles finishing off his masterpiece with yet another TD return on the kick off.
     
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  6. sickswonnyne

    sickswonnyne Well-Known Member

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    Wow. This is kinda too good for just a forum ha. It'd really resonate with me if I had ever seen Secretariat run.
     
  7. BlueandGold

    BlueandGold The Oracle

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    Ask and you shall recieve.

    This is his Kentucky Derby.



    edit:

    Here's a very well done SportsCenter piece on Big Red. It kind of allows you to put your mind into the times, which gives you a better idea of what that horse meant.

    PART 1:


    PART 2:
     
  8. Sydalish

    Sydalish Addicted to Sports

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    why you gotta make a girl cry at work? hahaha! excellent piece - printing it now to give to my parents [die-hard fans themselves] - you should send it to the front office :)
     
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  9. BOLTS4LIFE

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

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    Very well researched and written! :tup:


    Rep.
     
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  10. TheBeast

    TheBeast BoltTalker

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    Your threads are awesome keep up the goodwork :tup:
     
  11. pure-sol

    pure-sol Well-Known Member

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    Crazy good man. I read it thinking that it was a piece from the UT or something. Way too good for a forum post, where proper punctuation and spelling are all too often found to be lacking!:tup:

    Reps!
     
  12. twilight15

    twilight15 BoltTalker

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    Dude, nice post!
    I expected you pulled this from another article or something.
    :tup:
     

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