Thomas White / Inkydan
I became a Charger fan in 1974. In 1978 they drafted my favorite college player, John Jefferson and it was a done deal. It was the origins of Air Coryell. I bought my first season ticket in 1982 and for the first TEN years that we owned tickets, we lost, the Decade of Decline. In the first 22 years of my season ticket experience we had 5 winning seasons, one Super Bowl Appearance and no championships. And yet, I continue to write the check and book the trips. Yes, I book the trips because in 1995 we moved to Spokane, WA and I kept my tickets. I am in year 34 of my season ticket experience and still manage most home games along with one or two away games each year.(And I am not super rich, I save and work hard) I don't have a funny costume or a painted face. I don't bring silly signs or try to get air time, I just keep showing up and love every minute of it. The essence of being a great fan is not shown through flashy costumes or blue and yellow hair. It is shown through persistence, through dedication and through loyalty. It is shown through saying "see ya next week" to the group that sits behind us as they are moved each game because of leaking sewage in our dilapidated old stadium. It is shown in everyday life when you get comments about NOT wearing Charger gear. It is shown when you plan life events, vacations, social events and travel around the Chargers schedule. The two guys who bought those first tickets with me have passed. If you enlarge the tattoo picture below you will see their initials on the upper left and right corners of the shield. Being a true fan is not measured by the outrageousness of a costume but rather by the size of the heart that wears the jersey. I can't compete with the crazies and if that is what you are looking for you do a disservice to those of us who are the true fans. The Chargers are the longest relationship I have had in my life. My wife of 26 years knew coming in that this obsession was part of the package and I lucked out because she bought in. As a matter of fact my wedding party wore Charger cummerbunds. My two daughters were born and bred Charger fans and go through the same turmoil each week as we watch the games. I was there for Dan Fouts, both his glory and his retirement. I cried when he left the game and I cried at his HOF induction. I paid tribute to Rodney Culver's children after his untimely death in an air plane crash. I was at Jr's first game. I jumped with absolute joy when Dennis Gibson knocked down that last second pass in Pittsburgh. I was on the field in AZ when LT took his first pro handoff in an exhibition game. I cried for Jr. I had the pleasure of getting to know Chuck Muncie and mourn his passing last spring. At my funeral different people will say a variety of things to describe me but the one thing everyone will say is that "Tom was the ultimate Chargers fan." I hope you feel the same way.