Christmas in DC?

Although December 25th is still a few weeks away, it sure felt a lot like Christmas this past Sunday. For starters, I had the good fortune of spending my Thanksgiving holiday in Washington DC instead of sunny southern California. When my wife first announced her proposal to head east to visit her sister for Thanksgiving I'll admit I was a little hesitant. I mean who wants to leave 70-degree weather, shorts, and Hilo Hatties for 35 degrees, long underwear, and sweaters?

However, my hesitation quickly changed when I discovered the Bolts would be playing the Skins on Thanksgiving Sunday. With a little coaxing and a couple of phone calls the plan was in motion and I could not wait to head east for the holiday.

After talking to some of the locals, we decided to head to the stadium around 9:30 Sunday morning. One thing about FedExField, for those of you who have never been there, the cash parking lot is about 5 miles from the stadium and you have to catch a shuttle bus into the stadium. This is because the stadium parking lot is reserved for season ticket holders and other congressional leaders and business executives. We finally arrive to our parking lot, which is located in an executive business park and began to enjoy a couple of football drinks.

While I know it's not surprising for San Diego fans to see quite a turn out of the opposing teams in our home stadium I was quite surprised to see that many Chargers fans all the way out on the east coast. I ran into fans from Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and of course San Diego. And while SD fans weren't there in record numbers, you could see a sizable scattering of powder blue #21 jerseys throughout the 91,665 seat stadium.

As we ride the bus into the stadium you catch a glimpse of the enormous cereal bowl of a stadium rising up out of nowhere. It's also very clear who owns the namesake to the stadium as FedEx is plastered everywhere possible. It wasn't as bad as a European soccer team jersey, but it was a little overboard for my taste. Onto to the next tailgate for another 45 minutes and then it's game time.

Heading into the stadium my nerves start to kick in as I have an uneasy feeling that this will be a difficult win today for either team, but especially the Bolts. On the way in I notice signs everywhere that read, "Be Proud & Be Loud!" We arrive at our seats and I must admit I am a little disappointed with the view from our location. Our seats were in section 217 which would be about the equivalent of Plaza level section 10 at the "Q" as far as location. But, whether it was for reasons related to weather or for the acoustics, I'm convinced it was for acoustics, a huge overhang covered us.

Finally, kickoff arrives and the entire stadium is rockin' as my hunch about the acoustics was correct and the crowd does not let up for the entire game, including overtime. I was really impressed by this because there are times when the crowd in San Diego can be a little too SoCal laid back. So take note if you are out there at the next game against the Raiders or whoever remember this and do your best to get the fans around you on their feet! Throughout the game, the Skins fans were awesome. I am wearing all of the gear that I can possibly wear and not one fan is disrespectful like some of the other fans in the AFC West. Skins fans are knowledgeable about the game and even though they had no idea who Eric Parker was, they left the stadium with nothing but admiration and compliments for the Chargers' secret third down weapon.

Overall, the Bolts did not bring their most complete game to FedExField on Sunday, but they played hard and they played to the finish. Unlike some of their close loses this season, the team found a way to make plays when they needed them and they kept their playoff hopes alive. It's not too often that you come away with a win especially when you lose the turnover battle 0-3 on the road.

Leaving the stadium that day I felt like they earned the victory as much as they received a gift in some ways. However you want to spin it, I'll gladly take it and I will gladly look forward to catching another Chargers vs. Skins game in the future.


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