COLUMN: Are the Chargers LA’s curse?


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CURSE: Since the Chargers arrived, almost every LA team has gotten close to a championship. None has won.

By Clara Sandler, Co-Editor-in-Chief

For the first 15 years of my life, I was football team-less. I rooted for teams here and there — I had a Manning brothers phase between second and fifth grades when I rooted for the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.

But in the back of my mind, and in the back of my dad’s mind, we longed for the Los Angeles Rams. My dad grew up a Rams fan back in the ‘70s, when the Rams played at the Coliseum and running back Eric Dickerson rushed over a thousand yards a season, so all I heard during my childhood was the prophecy that “the Rams will come back.”

The Rams came back, and now they’re temporarily playing in the Coliseum and have RB Todd Gurley rushing over a thousand yards per season. And after 20-plus years of an NFL-less Los Angeles, we have the Chargers too. And both teams were pretty impressive this year.

After an exciting 13-3 season, the Rams made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Their record matched the score of the final game. Even though the Super Bowl was perhaps the most boring football game I have ever watched, the fact that my team was in it and playing against inarguably the greatest football player of all time was a tremendous experience.

My brother bawled as the Rams lost, and I too was sad, but I was more happy that we had made it this far. I also know that this is not the last time Coach Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff will make it to the Super Bowl. For now, there is no denying that the Patriots are undefeatable, but there is also no denying that the Rams are pretty good too.

But they lost to the Patriots.  So did the Chargers, earlier. The New England Patriots are AFC and NFL kings who seem to beat every single Los Angeles team they face. What is it about Boston and Los Angeles?

I am more than thrilled that LA has football. I am more than thrilled that LA is proving that it has the fan base and ability to have a good football team. But when I go to Rams’ games, and the loudspeaker asks: “Whose house?” And the entire stadium roars back “Rams’ house!”

I can’t help but be resentful towards those Chargers. Why did they move here? Why couldn’t LA be sufficient with just the one football team? Dayenu!

And I can’t help wondering slightly whether the Chargers are LA’s bad luck charm. Since they moved, the Dodgers have made it to the World Series twice, the Rams made it to the Super Bowl. The Clippers have made multiple playoff appearances only to come up short, and the Lakers got LeBron James and still lose to teams who would otherwise be tanking. They’re below .500 and might not even make the playoffs. If the Chargers left LA, would other LA teams start winning?

Perhaps there’s some other logical explanation that I can’t seem to understand because I’m blinded by annoyance and envy over Boston’s success and LA’s failure. LA is cursed with an ability to make it to the championship and then choke at the last second.

I am absolutely superstitious and absolutely bitter. For now, I’ll blame the Chargers and wait for the Dodger season to start. And I’ll hope that the Rams move past this, tweak their technique a little bit and allow themselves to taste victory someday soon — for all of us sports fans in LA.

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