Tuesday night, I was in attendance with my fellow Society of Professional Journalists members at the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes baseball game. The Quakes, a Class-A minor league affiliate team of the big league club, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is one of the few professional sports teams in the Inland Empire but hardly draws that many supporters. So I thought. I was surprised to see many season ticket holders and people in the community who come to every game to support their favorite team. Many of these die-hard fans reminded me a little of myself but I am a full-on supporter for another Los Angeles sports team.
I am not ashamed to tell people that I have been a lifelong Clippers fan but it seems like for some time people would always be puzzled or give me a hard time about it. But like any devoted fan, I have stuck with the team despite all their struggles over the years. And, there has been a lot of losing. I mean the Clippers last winning season was in 2005-2006, which was the first winning year since 1992. So as you can imagine, it’s been tough from the start.
My father introduced me to the Clippers at a young age. He took me as young as four-years-old to games from the time the Clippers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1984. I even remember playing with my youth team during halftime of some of the games growing up. So in some way, I have always been able to identify with the Clippers as being me and my father’s team. It used to be a thing we always did no matter what.
He was a loyal season ticket holder for many years when the Clippers played their home games in the Los Angeles Sports Arena.
However in 1999, the team moved to the new, luxurious arena known as the Staples Center which would be shared with the trendier, better and often more well-liked Lakers. From that point, our relations with the Clippers became strained but we didn’t stop being fans. Even with ticket prices going up, we still attended 10 to 15 games a season. Many of those seasons were dismal but we continued to attend and followed the team.
When we couldn’t make it to the games, we would watch them on TV or listen on the radio.
Now, with another NBA season in the books and the Clippers still at home for the playoffs, all I can wait for is next season. Another bad season ended last week where they finished the year with a record of 23-59. It’s hardly anything to be proud of but there is some hope for next season.
Rookie forward Al Thornton showed signs that he can be a dominant player in this league, enter Chris Kaman is one of the best young big men in the league and forward Elton Brand will be back stronger next season an ankle injury last year. Also, guard Shaun Livingston should make his return sometime next season after a horrific injury that popped out many of the ligaments from his left knee (Don’t believe me? Look up the video on YouTube). The Clippers could also add another impact player in the NBA’s upcoming summer draft that could contribute as early as next year.
To be honest though, I try to be optimistic even if it’s hard sometimes.
The losing never gets easier but sometimes you have to accept it. I always try to retain hope though because that’s what it means to be a fan.
No matter if you’ve loved the Dodgers who haven’t won a playoffs series in years or a Cubs fan which hasn’t seen a World Series win nearly a century, you always have to be faithful. Because that’s what it’s all about in the end, no matter what you do or what changes, I’ll always be a die hard Clippers fan much like other devoted supporters to their own teams.
Galo Pesantes, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.