By Genevieve A. Suzuki
I don’t believe in staying with someone who has said repeatedly they don’t want you.
And while some couples may be saved by counseling and a whole lot of effort, it’s never good to remain in an unhealthy relationship.
Such is my take on the San Diego Chargers.
When my husband and I moved to San Diego, we were thrilled to live in a town with a professional football team. Having grown up in Hawaii, pro football games were reserved only for sporadic trips to the “mainland,” and only by happenstance as the trips would have to coincide with local games. As such, when we moved to San Diego, we were happy to become Bolts fans.
Years later, we are now looking at the very real prospect of becoming citizens in a town without a team. And while many diehard fans still believe there’s a chance of the Chargers staying around, I am over it.
By now we all know the Chargers are looking to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, a suburb in Los Angeles. Perhaps the harshest thing about this – aside from the fact they’re moving from San Diego – is they’re looking to do this with the Oakland Raiders.
The Chargers getting into bed with the Raiders is like a guy sleeping with his wife’s frenemy. It sucks that he’s cheating – it’s even worse that it’s with her.
I’m not alone when I say the stories about San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s efforts to keep the Chargers in his city are wearing on me. At this point, there’s a growing sentiment of “If you want to go, go,” because, sadly, San Diego’s fight to keep the Chargers resembles the beginning of the end for a broken marriage.
First, let’s take a look at this relationship. The Chargers have been in San Diego for more than 50 years, making this a long-term relationship in California.
When dissolving a marriage such as this one, we have to consider the assets and obligations. Clearly we’re getting Qualcomm Stadium, an “asset” that needs some serious upgrades. As for obligations, we have none. Once these guys leave San Diego, they’re gone. My baby isn’t wearing a Chargers jersey nor are we rooting for the former home team.
Next is the saddest part of this whole mess – the kids, aka the players. As with any divorce, dealing with custody and visitation is extremely difficult. With so many players’ lives invested in San Diego, our town deserves visitation when it comes to the athletes that comprise the team. Take Philip Rivers – a Charger since the 2004 NFL draft. Rivers has led the team for almost 10 years. He has contributed time and money to San Diego organizations, including raising more than $1 million to help foster children through his now-defunct charity, Rivers of Hope.
Rivers will leave if the Chargers go. But, as with a child in the middle of a divorce, Rivers doesn’t seem to want it to be over. After rumors he may not leave with the team, he finally signed a contract extension. Nevertheless, Rivers was quoted in an nbcsandiego.com article as saying, “My lack of excitement was more about leaving this community, not a disdain for Los Angeles.” This sounds a lot like, “Dad, it’s not that I don’t love you. It’s that I love mom as well.”
If the Chargers go, they’ll regret it. Carson won’t have a San Diego kind of love for them, particularly if they’re sharing the attentions of a fickle Los Angeles. And when our Bolts realize they made a mistake, it may be too late. After all, once they leave, there’s nothing to keep another team from making its home in San Diego with a brand new stadium by the sea. Then, when they see the San Diego [insert new team here] living it up in America’s Finest City, they’ll remember the good times they threw away for big city dreams.