Updated: Sep 8
What would you do if you owned a football team? Would you hold training camp in Baja, California for the seafood and seclusion? Would you design Star Wars themed alternate uniforms and plan a lightsaber giveaway? Maybe you would mandate more kabob vendors outside in the parking lots for those of us who don't have the appreciation for bacon-wrapped hotdogs?
Here at Rivers Lake Yacht Club we asked ourselves this question. As some of the most devoted fans of the Los Angeles Chargers chimed in with their wish lists, here is exactly what we would do.
1) Sign Philip Rivers to a one day contract so that he can retire a Charger
The man played sixteen years in a Charger uniform and holds every passing record that the team has. Were his last days in powder blue bleak? Yes. Did he burn any bridges on his way out of town when he left to play for his friend Frank Reich in Indianapolis? No.
I don't know what else I can say about what this man meant to this fan base. You can read about it here if you like.
At the age of 41 and coaching his son's high school football team in Fairhope, Alabama, Rivers might not even be ready to admit that he is retired. But when he does retire, it should be as a Charger.
2) Demand the installation of a grass field at Sofi Stadium
The World Cup is coming to North America in 2026. Those games will be played on a natural grass surfaces because FIFA will not play games on artificial turf.
When Arsenal and Barcelona played a friendly there on July 26 a temporary grass surface was installed to mixed results. The game was delayed when grounds workers had to scramble to water it down enough to satisfy the two clubs.
The World Cup is coming, yes, but Sofi Stadium is not a lock to host those games yet because of the grass, or rather, the lack of it. If the world's best soccer players are worth it, then why aren't the NFL's?
3) Retire the jersey numbers 74 and 85
Kellen Winslow and Charlie Joiner will have their numbers retired during the 2023 season opener against the Miami Dolphins. This is long overdue. Joiner, drafted to the AFL in 1969, retired in 1986. Winslow retired a year later.
The team could do a better job of honoring their past by permanently retiring the numbers of Ron Mix and Antonio Gates. Gates will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year. Mix already has his bust in Canton, Ohio.
An original Charger from the city of Los Angeles, Mix was a member of 1963 championship team who played tackle and guard. The entire decade of the American Football League in the powder blues is synonymous with Ron Mix clearing a path for runners like Keith Lincoln, Speedy Duncan, Dickie Post, and Paul Lowe. Mix was told his number was retired when he did, but Gene Klein rescinded that decision when Mix came back from retirement to join the Raiders.
Gates currently holds the record for NFL career touchdown catches as a tight end (116). Now that's something!
4) Bring back the nineties era navy blue uniforms as an annual alternate
The team went to their lone Super Bowl in these uniforms. LaDainian Tomlinson won league MVP in these uniforms. The navy helmets and the white lighting bolts on the helmets evoke memories of Junior Seau, Drew Brees, Rodney Harrison, Natrone Means, Tony Martin, and Leslie O'Neil.
It should also be noted here that the current iteration of the navy blue alternates have resulted in an 0-4 record and a rash of injuries. They may be hexed, if you believe in that sort of thing.
If the team decided to bring back the real navy uniforms they would sell out in hours. You will be surprised by how people think these are the best versions the Chargers have ever had. Are they wrong? Probably, but their money is green.
5) Recognize the name of the lake that sits next to Sofi Stadium
It is Rivers Lake. It has always been Rivers Lake.
On August 21, 2021, Rivers Lake was officially "born" on the internet. As people learned about it on social media, an outpouring of posts, photos and questions shared the geographic flag-planting that Chargers fans had accomplished. A large community embraced the name, and it became real.
Here at Rivers Lake Yacht Club we honor the legacy of our former signal-caller while we fight for the legitimacy of Charger fandom amongst a city of transplants, generationally abused Raider fans, and football agnostics.
As visitors new and old become acquainted with the splendor that is Rivers Lake, we hope you will take the time to reach out to us and share your thoughts about the water, the surroundings, and especially the man that brought us all together, Philip Rivers.
Did we leave anything out? What would you do if you owned the Chargers?