The quest begins again. The San Diego Chargers looked like they were keeping their cards on the table last night, showing almost nothing of their high-powered scoring machine. The Seattle Seahawks took advantage of the lack of offense, and cashed in a 20-14 preseason opening win.
LaDainian Tomlinson actually got a few carries, but once Seattle hit him good a couple of times, he was quickly returned to the sideline. The standout player was WR Charly Martin, the new Wes Welker. Keep this guy, or the Raiders will sign him and we will pay for it forever.
Instead of giving the usual by the numbers game story, I like to tell the other tale, as in what it's like to attend a game at the Q.
Entry into the Lot
The city and the Chargers have both conspired to allow the parking lot to crumble to dust. Each says its the other's fault. I saw whole sections of 5-6 spaces that are no longer paved at all.
For $25 x 17,000 a pop, all season long, you would think a nice coat of tar would be in order. Dream on...
Then there is the San Diego Police factor, as in everywhere and relentless. Since the city is broken, they look upon a Charger game as an opportunity to write as many tickets as possible, and send in every available police unit for the occasion.
I saw an SUV full of Charger fans rolling around the lot waving flags and yelling, having some fun, and I saw an SDPD unit peel out in pursuit of them, and spray gravel on top of everyone behind it. Then there was the towing of someone's Escalade before the game—always a classy move.
In 1980, I drove my 73 Cadillac around the lot like a madman after games cleared out, doing doughnuts and such right in front of the cops—no problem. I would probably get five years for doing that now.
Freedom? That's long gone folks, and we let them take it from us.
I saw cops on Segways, a truly embarrassing sight. Considering the amount of bikers we have in SD, pulling someone over with a Segway has to be a little humiliating.
I understand the need for some police protection, but the city has gone way overboard. Since 9-11, it's all anyone can do to avoid a ticket, and/or a cuffing, and/or a tasering while attending a game at the Q. And that's eight seasons of this crap now.
What is going to happen is the Chargers will be gone, and the police will have to make up the lost revenue by cracking down on every person who moves outside, day and night. Something to look forward to.
I can assure you, if the Chargers move, so will I.
Entry into the Q
Cattle. That's what we are. There is no need to staff all the gates at the Q; just herd us through six gates, all 60,000 of us. I saw a sign, Special VIP entrance. I guess we don't qualify as VIP. I mean, all we do is pay for the whole damn venture every game, but we are nothing compared to Joe Millionaire.
Twenty minutes to go from the end of the line to getting frisked. Someone took cuts, and was promptly heckled by the impatient crowd. Cuts is a concept I had forgotten about since about fifth grade. Security took him away for taking cuts.
I asked a security guard why the gates were all closed, and she said "Do you want to hear what they told us to tell you, or the truth?" I asked for the truth. "This is how they want it, you guys don't matter, we are saving money on staff." I knew it...
Then, for the Chargers big giveaway last night? Absolutely nothing. Not even a one cent sheet calendar. I bet Joe Millionaire got some freebies up in the Gold level. Gold level says it all.
Watching the Game
The PA at the Q hit a new decibel level last night. Well over 120 DB. I have been a club VJ for the last two decades, and I know loud when I hear it. The sound assault never ends, from the bad rap music they play during warm ups, to the announcer screaming about every play at the top of his lungs.
I have a suggestion: Ease back about 50 percent. We get it.
I won't hold my breath.
I hope I was not quite this stupid when I was 21. There were several new ticket holders (college dudes) in my section, all wearing sideways baseball caps, with an endless supply of beer to fuel them.
They were freaking out on the first couple drives, screaming, jumping on the rail, and using an incredible amount of profanity in front of my friend's nine-year-old daughter. Real classy.
All of us old guys were just staring off into space, dealing with it. The main objective of these newbies was not football, but to discuss their sexual problems as loudly as possible, and to look for more girls to have them with.
They brought down two gold digging skanks from the bar in the third quarter, and actually thought they were gonna get some action out of it. After squeezing some free beer out of these guys, the girls spilt, off to look for rich football players to bone after the game. I had to laugh.
And those girls were also clueless about football. They were there to get their pictures taken while kissing each other, and show off how hot they were. I give them a five. "Grizzled" is the term I would use. They were probably hot 10 years ago.
Then, the newbies, after making such a ruckus in the first quarter about how great the $#%^%$# Chargers were, left with 10 minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter is winning time, not "let's go and get some more beer" time. Beer will always be waiting; why leave a game you paid $98 a head to get into early?
It boggles the mind. We don't think they will make it to the end of the season. The even money is on them all getting their tickets revoked for being drunken idiots. They narrowly avoided a fight with a Seahawk fan who was tired of looking at their backs instead of the game. What happens when a real fan from Denver or Oakland tells them the same thing during a game that counts? Break out the handcuffs...
The Fourth Quarter
If the Chargers are losing, people just get up and walk out. By the time the Chargers made their late run at a win, 50,000 people were long gone. I never leave early, and the people who do need to take a long look at just how good a fan they really are.
Besides, leaving early just makes you a target to get pulled over on the way out, giving the city some more revenue. Fun stuff!
Don't get me wrong. When it's crunch time, there is nowhere else I would rather be than at the stadium, but it just ain't as much fun as it used to be. We San Diegans live in a gigantic lockdown, and I remember when that would not have been tolerated.
Can't wait for the next home game. Maybe I can afford a $9.50 hot dog this time...