Does life ever feel like it is a grind at times? It certainly does for me. Every once in awhile if you are lucky, you experience a great trip/event that is therapeutic for your soul. This is a story of such an experience and involves many of my passions; Seahawks, beer, and fishing.
In 2011, the NFL season was in jeopardy due to the lockout. The typical Hall of Fame Game which kicked off the pre-season was not played due to the last minute deal struck between the owners and players. The first pre-season game was scheduled on ESPN, showcasing the Seahawks and the San Diego Chargers at Jack Murphy Stadium.
The timing of the game was perfect. My lifelong friend who was a Marine in San Diego had “convinced” me to go on a multi-day tuna charter out of H&M landing. The trip was scheduled the day after the Hawks game. Luckily, my friend’s uncle was also a Chargers season ticket holder and gave us his tickets.
I had to make my wife part of the conspiracy or else she would never allow me to go, so I brought her with me to San Diego. We had never visited San Diego and flew in a few days prior to the game. What we learned was San Diego is a great place to visit.
We stayed at the Hilton near the marina. The hotel was located within walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter. If you like micro-brews and food, the Gaslamp is the place to hang out. I was surprised to learn that there were so many micro-breweries in San Diego. We found this great bar called The Local. In June of 2011, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders was quoted as “it’s your civic duty to drink beer” when he declared the month to be “Craft Beer Month”. I am a citizen in good standing.
Jack Murphy Stadium was built in 1967 with a seating capacity of 53,000. In 1997, the stadium was expanded bringing the total to 71,500 seats. It may have been a great stadium back in the day, but it can not hold a candle to Seahawks Stadium.
The stadium is located away from the downtown in the Mission Valley. The trolley/train will take you right to the stadium. There is nothing around the stadium except a massive parking lot that has 18,500 spaces. This is a pure tailgating lot. You better bring your own beer and food because there are no outside concessions. The tailgate experience in San Diego is a complete contrast to you what you find in Seattle.
My buddy had brought his car to the stadium loaded with beer and supplies. The lot was so expansive I needed GPS coordinates to locate him in the sea of vehicles. There was a spattering of 12’s tailgating and drinking beer. The Charger fans were cool and we had no issues with any of them; it probably helped that it was a pre-season game. Every once awhile, Ponch and John would roll-by in a black and white Highway Patrol cruiser keeping watch over the crowd.
The unique thing I witnessed was people going through the lots picking up empty beer cans. My buddy slammed a beer, crushed the can, and tossed it out into the roadway. Some guy came by and snatched the empty up in a matter of seconds. “Look around.”, my friend said, “Do you see any empty beer cans?”. Not a dead soldier in sight!
The Hawks ended up beating the Chargers that night 24-17. Not a bad way to spend an evening.
The next day, I dropped my wife off at the airport to fly back home. My buddy and I boarded the “Indian” and found ourselves 100 miles off-shore drinking beer and fishing for bluefin, yellowfin, albacore, yellowtail, and mahi-mahi for the next couple of days. We eventually returned to port, and I returned to the grind.