Junior Seau was a great football player. Growing up in San Diego as a Charger fan himself, Seau embodied the lightning bolt. He seemed to have twice as much energy as everyone else on the field. He was exhilarating to watch.
When news of his death hit last week, my mom sent me a text message that read, “Brings back so many memories of when you were young worshipping the Chargers.”
I really did worship them. Before every game, I would set up a shrine in our living room. Clothing, cards, memorabilia, even my trash can. I don’t know if it brought them good luck, but I did it every week.
In 1994, the Chargers made it to the Super Bowl. They were underdogs throughout the playoffs, especially in the AFC Championship game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That game came down to the final seconds. I was on the edge of my seat. Would my shrine fail me now? My heart was pounding. I just wanted the clock to tick faster. Come on, guys. You can’t let the stupid Steelers beat you.
The Charger defense prevailed, and we were Super Bowl-bound! My family and I were screaming and running around the house.
“We’re going to the Super Bowl!” There may have been dancing involved. I can remember my mom answering a phone call from her sister with, “Super Bowl headquarters, how may I help you?”
Super Bowl headquarters, indeed.
That night, we drove to Jack Murphy Stadium to welcome the team home from Pittsburgh. It was a Sunday night, a school night. My parents could have kept us home and made us go to bed. But this was so much bigger than school. Bigger than doing the responsible thing. This was the first time the Chargers were ever going to the Super Bowl. Forget about school, get in the car, we’re going to The Murph!