Dawn of the Conqueror

In 1162, a boy named Temüjin entered this world, clutching a blood clot in his right hand. It was a sign that death and adversity would follow where he walked. At the age of 10 Temüjin’s father, leader of one of many warring tribes on the central Asian steppe at the time, was fatally poisoned. The tribe disowned Temüjin, his six siblings and his mother, now seen as burdens with no claim to authority.

Abandoned on an open plain and left to fend for themselves with a few rudimentary weapons, Temüjin and his family suffered the raw sting of unforeseen hardship.

Artist depiction of Genghis Khan (Artstation/Thahn Tuan)

Problems mounted from within:

Temüjin‘s older brother Bekter was a wayward character, and had become a threat to the family‘s safety. Bekter had to go if Temüjin was to lead, and so Temüjin killed him.

The time spent alone on the open plains left Temüjin with experience, determination and resolve. He knew what he needed to do to be the next great Khan: he cut those who wouldn’t help him and overcame problems with tenacity, staying his course until he united the warring tribes, conquering vast swathes of central Asia and China.

He did what he vowed to do.

Artist depiction of Mongolian army in battle (Image credit: www.Mongolianz.com)

Reading this remarkable story, I observed several similarities of the rebirth of Temüjin and the Los Angeles Chargers. The circumstances of both stories are separated by eons and leagues, but the theoretical implications couldn’t be more intertwined.

After the disappointing loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18 of the 2021 season, our playoff hopes were crushed. Ambitions of a deep playoff run were abandoned. Suffering hurts that seem to come time and time again, fans hung their heads in despair.

But the embers still burn.

As Temüjin’s family looked to him to rebuild and improve on what they once had, we look to head coach Brandon Staley to do the same.

A battered Austin Ekeler leaves the pitch after the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders Week 18 last year (Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers)

The additions of J.C. Jackson, Khalil Mack, Austin Johnson, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Kyle Van Noy—especially Khalil Mack—give renewed hope to this team.

New foundations are set while the hindrances of underperforming players were chiseled away.

Some players just didn’t fit the scheme. Some suffered unfortunate injuries. Some in the coaching staff did not fit in, either: Staley brought new energy and ideas there, too.

Khalil Mack in Chargers uniform (@ChargerSwap/Twitter)

Offseason Training Activities complete, glimpses of the new family Staley and GM Tom Telesco have assembled show much promise.

Since Staley became the captain of this ship, the course has been righted year on year. It is hard to not be excited about such additions, as it is clear the time is now to reach a little further and grab the Lombardi trophy.

We must remain humble.

Chargers loyalists are no strangers to adversity: anything can go wrong. But as Temüjin often prayed to the Sky Father for good fortune, hopes are high that expectations will be met in the coming years.

Shall we be rewarded with success? Only time will tell. But the signs are pointing towards a promising golden land.