I am still in complete shock. When my Twitter feed first started streaming news of Junior Seau’s passing, I sat at my computer hoping that this was just some cruel hoax. He was only 43, only 8 years older than me. He was too young to die.
When you grow up in the 80′s and 90′s as a San Diego sports fan, you get some thick skin. Especially on the East Coast. Kids are bandwagoners. And cruel. You get picked on a lot for liking a bad team. Unfortunately for me, I was a fan of 2 bad teams. Despite our teams not having much success, San Diego fans could take pride in their sports heroes. In the 80′s we had Tony Gwynn and Dan Fouts. In the 90′s we had Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman and #55 Junior Seau.
When I first became cognizant of sports, Gwynn and Fouts were already established in San Diego. Junior Seau was the first sports superstar that I could follow from the beginning of his career up to the bitter end. His career started in 1990. I remember watching the NFL draft on television for the first time (we finally got cable), when the Chargers made Seau the #5 pick. Absolutely no idea who he was. Then I watched him play. And it was amazing.
The Chargers of the 80′s were known for razzle dazzle, Air-Coryell, score, score, score. Then Seau joined the team. And the Chargers became a team with a tough as nails defense. I loved watching him line up all over the field. He seemed to have a motor that never stopped. It looked like he didn’t care what play was called. He would just run around and make plays. He was intense, he was fiery, and he was reckless on the field.
He did have a few winning seasons in the early 90′s (the Boss Ross years). Then Bobby Beathard went crazy in the draft and destroyed the teams talent. Despite playing on some bad teams, Seau gave everything he had on the field. It was a point of pride as a Charger fan, after any losing season, to watch the Pro Bowl and see Junior Seau representing San Diego.
Rest In Peace Mr. Seau. Prayers to your family. Thank you for giving everything you had to the Chargers, and everything in your heart to the city of San Diego. Thank you for making me proud to be a Chargers fan.