The San Diego Chargers make the news often these days, with stories that depress and anger the casual and die-hard fan alike. You can’t live in San Diego and not know that the Chargers had one of their worst seasons in years in 2015, ending the season with a record of 4 wins and 12 losses. Those numbers hardly seem to reflect the heartbreak inflicted on fans as defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, week after week. And, pouring salt in the wound, after threatening for years to leave town, the Chargers filed their petition to move to Los Angeles just last week. So if your Charger fan loved one, caregiver, or homecare companion seems a little down this month, be kind – the team they love is a gold-digger, and they just learned that their love means nothing.
There are fans in San Diego who are older than the team itself, as old, even as Balboa Park, and they still love their team. One such fan, centenarian Dr. Blake Talbot, spoke to The San Diego Union Tribune in December of last year about his memories of the Chargers. He’s been a season ticket holder since 1961, paying $3 to $5 per game!, when the Chargers moved down to Los Angeles to play in the Balboa Stadium. In the article, he mentioned that his favorite player was Lance Alworth, nicknamed ‘Bambi’ because he ran like a deer down the field. Dr. Talbot mentioned that he would love to meet Alworth before he died, as he was still his favorite player, even after decades. Lance Alworth’s daughter, who happened to read the article, mentioned his wish, and the centenarian’s ardent fandom, to her father, and Bambi decided to deliver a Christmas miracle.
Lance Alworth, now 75, and his wife, visited Dr. Talbot on Christmas Eve, sharing memories and misty eyes as they discussed the glory days of both the Chargers and ‘Bambi’ Alworth. They reminisced and bonded over a 1963 AFL championship, a beloved coach, and a string of winning, fairy-tale seasons in the 1960s that San Diegans don’t think much about anymore. While Dr. Talbot got to meet his favorite player, and ‘Bambi’ got to meet a superfan, they both got to relive a special chapter in San Diego history. Complete with signed jersey and football, of course.
As we hear about owners’ meetings, new stadium referendums, and environmental impact reports, the olden days when the Chargers were on top and the fans had it all seem like a fantasy. These two seniors remind us that San Diego has been a NFL town for more than 50 years, and that has special meaning for the Chargers’ legion of fans keeping the faith. Go Bolts! Or, Stay Bolts?