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O Blessed Misery – Charger Season is Over

     It’s with great delight that I greet the New Year and that’s because football is over. Dead and over for Charger fans - and being a perennial diehard, I count myself in on that group of stubborn, foolish, cranky bunch of San Diegans.

     You wouldn’t believe how much football I watched this year! It’s just so fascinating – no team could do what they do. And do it so consistently. Week after week after week. So every week I tuned in to see if they could maintain their record.

     Every Sunday – and even one Monday evening not too long ago – I rushed home from less important errands, darting through traffic like a wild man so as not to miss the opening kickoff. I figure you can predict the entire game just from watching the opening kickoff – when the Chargers are playing.

     So I’d grab a Pepsi and a bunch of peanuts and settle in for the coin toss. The Chargers always scored excellently on that part of the game. Seems like they had first possession more times than their opponents had it. But not for  very long…

     After the coin toss, I suffered through a dozen or so dumb commercials and listened to the commentators not talk about how wonderful the Charger players were or the intriguing plays they were about to execute - and waited impatiently for the kickoff.

     When the Chargers received, more than a twenty yard return and I knew there was hope for a win. Hope, I said – not probability. Less than twenty yards, might as well plan on a disastrous sixty minutes. When the other guys won the toss, if they ran the ball clear to the fifty yard line or beyond… Disaster.

     The Chargers against the Browns. The Chargers take on Green Bay. The Chargers meet the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Chargers face the Raiders. The Chargers play New England.

     Notice I didn’t use the word “tackle” in there.

     In spite of the losses, they gave me a good show all year, those Chargers. I’ll give them that. We had quarterback controversies; we had Martyball analyzed to death, and we even got a few good plays. We had lots of mouth from Marcellus and not so much from Brees – until close to the end.  

     Those Chargers even won a few games – which only added to the suspense. After a win, I tuned in with great concern that the momentum might carry them along for one more game and ruin their record. Would Tomlinson run down the field for a touchdown? Catch a pass at the thirty and take it seventy yards for a touchdown?  

     All season long, some insane streak of curiosity kept me glued to my seat, kept me showing up for the opening kickoff. Could they keep up that steady pace of foul-ups, turnovers and fumbles? Would they ever sack the quarterback? Convert a third down? And how about those occasional touchdowns that kept us in suspense - until the next series of downs?

     But now it’s over. Blessedly over. We have only a short period of relief until the Padres show up in their new ballpark, ready to make us all proud once more to be San Diegans. Maybe they will, you know…

     That’s the password for the faithful. Maybe. Maybe we’ll win a few games this season. Maybe we’ll play 500 ball this year. Maybe we’ll…

     Meanwhile, there’s basketball galore. Exciting, down-to-the-wire games and high-scoring routs and great big tall guys doing miraculous things with that fat round ball and then hangin'-on hoops at both ends of the court. Too bad San Diego doesn’t have a professional basketball team.

     But then maybe the NBA knows something the NFL and MLB don’t know.

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