My beloved San Diego Chargers are moving to Los Angeles, and the news has hit me like a divorce. Ok, not exactly like a divorce I suppose, but like a divorce where she gets everything and you get nothing and you have absolutely no say in the matter whatsoever.
Ok, exactly like a divorce then.
The news that my team – my anchor-like connection to the city I was born and raised in – was moving to a city that literally couldn’t care less about them hit me so hard that I couldn’t face it for a week. It was pure denial, a straight-up Ten on the Dysfunction Meter. To make it worse, there’s nothing I can do about it. Nothing. I am the powerless alcoholic to owner Dean Spanos’ nuclear strike on the Jack Daniels distillery. So no amount of bitching and crying is going to do anything about it.
All I get to do is wonder why. Not, “why is this happening?” but “why the hell do I care so much?” This isn’t a cancer diagnosis. This isn’t unemployment and homelessness. It’s freaking football: Guys throwing a ball down the field while other guys try and tackle them. Nothing could be more irrelevant, right? I should be happy that I can now devote my Sundays to crafting the Two-State Solution in Israel and unlocking the secret to unlimited clean power through nuclear fusion (which I almost perfected during the Ryan Leaf years).
Well. Let me tell you why I care so much.
It was Chargers v. Broncos, January 2nd, 2006. Near the end of the 3rd quarter, Kelly Lynch comes off the blindside and sacks Chargers QB Drew Brees. It was a loss of eight yards, but worst of all, Brees lay there on the turf in obvious pain. The guy sitting next to me, wearing an old skool jersey and a backward cap, clutched my arm. “Sweet Jesus,” he whispered, and he just stood there, motionless, until Brees was finally carted off the field and waved at the crowd. This guy then pulled me in for a hug, looked at me and said, “It’ll be alright, bro.” He then went back to his beer, and we didn’t say another word to each other for the rest of the game.
I know it may sound a bit esoteric if not silly, but I’ve come to believe that sports – when done right – reflect values that we cherish and respect as Americans: Hard work, professionalism, discipline and talent can make you a winner; fair play and rules matter; teamwork is more important than individual effort; competition brings out the best in us. That guy at the game? I didn’t know him at all. I didn’t know if he was a democrat, republican, Christian, atheist, gay, straight or anything. And it didn’t matter. We were Chargers Fans. That was our community, that was our religion, that was our politics, that was our mutual bond and belief. We embraced these common values, we shared this community, and that was enough.
So why does it hurt so much? Because money. Money showed up like Drunk Uncle Bob, swearing that the seventh rum and coke would be just fine, only to pass out in my favorite chair and urinate all over it. Oh, and he had Asparagus Soup before stopping by, too. I won’t bore you with all the gory financial details about this nightmare transaction, but Dean Spanos shot my unicorn in the head. “Hey, you know all those nifty ideals you were talking about? Yeah, well, my bank account means more than that – my self-aggrandizement is way more important.”
I see that a lot these days. And I’m sick of it.
Absolute Bone-Splintering Disappointment Pairs With: Cave de Genouilly 2015 Bourgogne Aligote. There’s a new Total Wine & More that opened up near where I live, and I finally got a chance to go check it out. In a word, Complete Wine Boner (ok, three words). That said, I went there to find an elusive bottle of Bourgogne Blanc…and they didn’t have any. That’s the disappointing part. However, Homeslice McWineguy had another suggestion, the 2015 Bourgogne Aligote, so having never had it before, I gave it a shot.
Holy cow. New favorite white wine!
Aligote is the second most widely-planted grape in Burgundy, behind Chardonnay (and in fact, up to 15% Chardonnay can be blended into wines of the Bourgogne Aligote AOC). The nose of this wine had characteristics of tank-fermented Chardonnay, mixed with elements of gravel and wet road. On the pallet, however, I got flavors of Spanish varietals, like Torrontes, but with a bit more citrus and fewer herbaceous notes. As the wine opened up, the tropical fruits came to the fore, but with a crisper, brighter acid than I’ve found in any Chardonnay. Just delicious and insanely drinkable.
So maybe that’s my metaphor. Like discovering a new, amazing wine, I’ll find a new team to connect with. My buddy Curt invited me to Seahawk Nation, my friend Eric said I could have his Jets jersey, my sister-in-law is all about the Packers now and of course the Ex loves the Broncos. Perhaps, like my parents before me, I could start taking my kids to hometown games, and we’d all become San Francisco 49ers fans.
I don’t know. Money has beat idealism in this battle, and though whether it’ll win the war or not is still undetermined, I just feel wounded right now.