This series is going to wrap up with a look at being a little out of place from a sports point of view. Don’t fret, I’ll be back when the season gets underway. Now…
San Diego is a beautiful place to live. The weather is great, the people are pretty laid back and you have no idea what sports teams anyone follows. I didn’t notice it much at a younger age. I would wear my Wings jersey out and about and get a few nods and high fives from fellow transplants happy to see another supporter. However, the more sporting events I went to the more it became clear that most people who live here aren’t from here.
Even if you’re a Second Generation San Diegan, it’s likely you grew up watching your family’s football team. The Chargers are probably an afterthought unless they’re on their way to the playoffs and an odd sense of SD pride swells up in you. I’ll admit, even though the Lions are my first love, I adopted a similar shade of blue for my AFC team pretty quickly. I assumed my first Charger game would be similar to home. Mostly home team fans with a few away jerseys sprinkled throughout the crowd. Nope. Depending on the team, you can expect up to half of the crowd to be wearing the wrong colors on Sunday. For example…the below was taken last year at Qualcom.
San Diego – Transplants Everywhere!
The eclectic collection of transplants became even more apparent as I entered my professional career in San Diego and ended up in an office with coworkers spread over three floors. That’s a lot of god damn people to be around on a daily basis. Sure, I sit next to a Chargers fan and there’s a good amount of them in the building but there’s also the Eagles fan in IT, the Bears fan downstairs, and the world’s most obnoxious Packers fan that ended up leaving but was quite vocal while here. There’s even the Chargers fan who decided that he was sick of the nonsense and started following the Browns (I told him that was the most ludicrous thing I had ever heard but this guy defends the Star Wars prequels so clearly there’s no reasoning with him.) I even avoid a particular hallway so I don’t have to look at a four foot tall Vikings painting staring me in the face. The point is, while I had to wait three years for another Lions fan to get hired (another odd case as he’s from here and as an adult chose the Lions), it’s really fun to have a lot of the league represented in one building. No more so than when two members of the mixed bag that is the collective fandom face off against one another.
Thanksgiving of 2015 was a spectacular victory for the Lions, it’s even more spectacular when you’re on a text message thread with your fellow office football friends that includes a bitter Eagles fan. A few gems are displayed below.
“I am done. Fuck football. Onto the survivor series.”
“This game will Lions fans believe they are good. Fact is…we are just bad.”
“Kelly…STOP TRYING TO RUN EVERYTHING AND JUST COACH”
Sending a screen grab of the Golden Tate walk in touchdown was some serious icing on the cake.
The funny thing is, even with all the shit talking, we have all found a semblance of being part of the same fan base simply because we all love football, the prodding is all part of the fun. I’ll even try and pull for their teams if a win wouldn’t negatively impact the Lions; with a few exceptions obviously. As much as I enjoy my NFC North talks while a massive painting attempts to stare into my soul, I hope the Vikes SKOAL all the way to 0-16 next year and the same for the Cowboys. Sorry buddy, wounds take time to heal and the 2014 Wildcard game feels like a wound I got from Greg Hardy.
I do miss home sometimes. It would be nice to have a whole group of people talking about one specific team or a facet thereof but luckily that’s what r/detroitlions is for. Like I said, San Diego is a beautiful place to live. On top of all the obvious perks, there are a lot of people just looking for friends who like football. Had I ended up in Chicago or Denver, I doubt I would find anyone not wearing orange.