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LA Chargers "touch down" at Camp Pendleton

On June 11, the 11 Area Football Field at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton was awash with the color blue. Blue flags fluttered in the breeze proudly proclaiming – "CHARGERS,"and,"BOLT UP!" Many of the 5,000 fans who came to see the Chargers, were wearing blue jerseys to demonstrate support.

It was an exceptional day for the Marines and their families, who attended a "Los Angeles Chargers Official Training/Meet and Greet." The event had been an annual tradition until the pandemic created a long hiatus. On the 11th, it was evident that the Chargers and their Camp Pendleton fans were happy to come together again. A great deal of mutual respect was shown between the team and fans.

The event was more "up close and personal" than expected, due to the kindness of new LA Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. As he was addressing the cheering crowd, Harbaugh demonstrated compassion for the spectators seated in the stands, and lined up behind fences, by inviting them to, "Come on down without further ado!"

At that point, a rush of spectators swarmed to the edge of the field. The Camp Pendleton Military Police and the LA Chargers Security force did a stellar job of keeping the enthusiastic fans behind the white line, which is the field boundary.

It was a homecoming, of sorts, for Coach Harbaugh, because he was a quarterback for the Chargers when they were based in San Diego. Harbaugh played in the 1999 and 2000 seasons during his 14 season career in the NFL.

At a press conference earlier in the day, he made positive comments about Chargers starting quarterback, Justin Herbert. He said Herbert is, "razor sharp," and that he has "expertise that is extremely valuable." During the practice, spectators were able to see some of that Herbert expertise in action.

The players conducted a "walkthrough" – training without helmets and padding. Of course, there was no tackling involved, but players simulated tackles by crouching down and reaching out with both arms. The absence of helmets was a treat for fans, because, during games, they rarely see their favorite players without helmets.

After the training session, the field was opened for a "Meet and Greet," where Charger players positioned themselves on the field, and fans quickly approached with items for them to sign. Team members signed jerseys, helmets, footballs, and hats.

The fans seemed happy, and willing to wait their turn in line. Some were visibly star-struck. As the Chargers signed autographs, some of the players bent down to the level of the children, and that isn't easy to do, especially if you are well over six feet tall.

As crowds formed around the Chargers, it was not surprising that the largest assemblage of fans, (and security guards), surrounded Coach Harbaugh and Justin Herbert.

The Chargers seemed happy to meet fans and sign autographs. How happy? Some team members lingered on the field after the buses began loading. Then, Chargers Security personnel began gently reminding the lingering players it was time to leave.

As Coach Harbaugh was heading for the bus area, he was accompanied by fans – and security. However, to the delight of fans, Harbaugh paused at the bus ramp to sign a few last autographs.

A palatable energy was present during the Chargers' visit. Are people excited about the Los Angeles Chargers 2024 season? If this event was any indication – yes – definitely!


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