Jay Paris: If the Bolts jolt, the memories will still remain

Go Chargers and it’s not what you think. That’s not a directive to skedaddle — more of a plea for doing the right thing.

San Diego’s NFL bunch tangles with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

That much we know.

What we’re not sure of?

Is this the swan song for a franchise that has hung in these parts for five-plus decades? The chatter of the Bolts jolting to the Los Angeles area is increasing, not declining.

So with the curtain dropping on this season’s home schedule, no one knows what the future brings.

Don Meredith, God rest his soul, can’t clear his throat and, with certainty, bellow: “Turn out the lights, the party is over.’’

But all indications are if the lights aren’t being shut down, they’re at least flickering.

It just might be last call, and if so, let’s hope the Chargers pay their tab and exit in the proper fashion.

And really Sunday has nothing to do with this debacle of a season. The Chargers flat-out stink and their 3-10 record is the proof. It’s appropriate they play the Dolphins, another squad with no hopes of reaching the playoffs.

It’s a bummer of a matchup, and again, that has little importance.

Instead of this year’s edition of misfits, my Chargers thoughts go to Ron Mix or Paul Lowe or Dan Fouts or Don Coryell. When looking at the Jack Murphy Field for maybe the last time for an NFL affair, I think of Charlie Joiner, Stan Humphries, Junior Seau and LaDainian Tomlinson.

It was those players that helped form the basis for legions of San Diegans to set aside three hours on each fall Sunday. It gave them a chance to rock their favorite Chargers gear while, they prayed, the Chargers rolled to another victory.

In addition to those players, I reflect on those working for the Chargers and how many of them were Super Bowl quality. Folks that are familiar, such as general manager Bobby Beathard, coach Bobby Ross and even coach Mike Riley, who somehow smiled his way through a 1-5 season in 2000.

Others aren’t so recognizable: Pat Rogers, the longtime public relations department secretary; Georgette Rogers, the receptionist at Chargers Park; equipment managers Bob Wick and Chris Smith; director of security Dick Lewis; Oceanside’s Shawn Mitchell, the former team pastor; Press Gate Bruce, who recently passed away.

My favorite Charger never suited up: George Pernicano, the mustachioed minority owner who was aboard when the team kicked off at Balboa Park in 1961. He brought a joy to the game that was seldom compromised by a loss.

Then again, if near Pernicano when the Chargers prevailed, he would hand you a cigar when the scoreboard clock hit zero.

Chargers memories — I’m blessed to have thousands of them.

Friends from covering the Chargers — I’m blessed to have hundreds of them.

We wonder, after Sunday, if that’s all that will be left? When the Chargers exit the field, will they do so with a good-bye which means more than see you next year?

Maybe it’s no accident their 55th San Diego season is their last. The number rings true no matter when you became a Chargers fan, with Oceanside’s Seau wearing that jersey with pride, passion and panache.

While watching Sunday’s game, be sure to squint your eyes. If the light is just right, you’ll see Mix walling off the right side, Lowe dropping his shoulder on an undersized defensive back, a fidgety Coryell pacing the sidelines and Fouts zipping a pass into Joiner’s reliable hands.

That vision could also include Humphries standing tough in the pocket, Tomlinson’s epic jump-cuts into a hole and Seau giving his leg-kick salute after another spectacular play.

There’s no debating that Sunday is a big day.

Despite it meaning absolutely nothing, it means absolutely everything.


Contact Jay Paris at jparis8@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_ sports.


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