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Perspective From a Young Bolt Fan

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    By Loren Casuto

    Those who have heard of me know I am one of the younger Charger fans. My co-host on the Bolttalk pod cast has been a Charger fan longer then I've been alive. On the message boards and web sites today many have been Charger fans for decades. At 23 years old, I was too young to see the Air Coryell era and by the time I became a football fan, we had become laughing stocks for the previous decade. The reason for saying this is not to make a lot of people reading this feel old. Being a young Charger fan, it gives me a unique perspective on just how wonderful these last two years have been.

    I became a Charger fan in 1990; the highlight of that year was drafting Junior Seau who would become the face of the Chargers for a long time. The few positive names I remembered from my early youth were Gil Byrd, Ronnie Harmon, Leslie O'Neal and Anthony Miller; beyond that I suffered through names like Billy Joe Tolliver, John Friesz, Rod Bernstein, Quinn Early, Nate Lewis and Stanley Richard. I had seen nothing but losing, sub-standard Charger football with the names Winslow, Fouts, Jefferson and Kelcher having the same impact on me as Vietnam; something I read about in history books but did not mean much because it was before I was born. 1992 and 1994 were happy years for me as I finally saw a winning product in San Diego led by Stan Humphries and captained by Junior Seau. As a ten year old I was very proud and excited, hoping to see some great football similar to that led by Don Coryell and Dan Fouts. But after 1995, it all went down hill again as Bobby Beathard took us from a Decade of Decline to a Decade of Destruction. It was atrocious to many fans; to me, though I hated seeing such, it was going back to the same type of football I had seen when I was a young boy. The only difference were the names; Ryan Leaf, Bryan Still, Mikhail Ricks, DeRon Jenkins, Jason Perry, Kenny Bynum and Jermaine Fazande. The Butler era brought some new found excitement, which goes to show you how sad things had been when 8-8 was a positive year for a young Charger fan. But after 2003 I had to endure another rebuilding year as those names acquired by Butler would soon be cursed at.

    Growing up in the decades of decline and destruction gives me an even greater appreciation of today. I did not see Bambi run or Earl Faison's sacks or Fouts to Kellen Winslow or Louie Kelcher. During the darkest days of the Bobby Beathard era and between Don Coryell and Bobby Ross, many older fans could think back fondly to Air Coryell or the early AFL era when the Chargers were a dominating force. I could not do that; what could I look back on with fond memories? Jermaine Fazande's only 100 yd game? Ronny Jenkins? Terrance "Toast" Shaw? The only positives of my first eighteen years of Charger football were Rodney Harrison, Leslie O'Neal, Junior Seau and two years of Stan Humphries football. The best Charger football I've seen in person is the product you see today out on the field; and that makes me even the more grateful to AJ Smith and more excited to see Shawne Merriman, Ladanian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates on the field. In the past, a Charger player's name combined with the term MVP or Rookie of the Year or even the phrase "one of the best ever" would include canned laughter. Now, whenever you discuss the Chargers you talk about the best tight end and running back in the NFL combined with a top five Front Seven and outstanding young depth. The next few years will be the very best in Charger history because the team that is on the field is more talented then any during the Air Coryell days or the early AFL teams to the 1960s. Time to sit back and enjoy the ride.
     

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