Chargers Fan of the Year
Football is family for Enrique Carranco-Garcia. He always wanted to be just like his Dad, Enrique Sr. His father played running back at the Universities, Instituto Politecnico and Instituto Blanco in Mexico City, and wore 21. That is what attracted Carranco-Garcia to LaDainian Tomlinson when he and his father went to a Chargers game. It just so happened that the Chargers All-Pro running back also wore 21. Well, that and the fact that Tomlinson was running roughshod over the league.
That kicked off his Chargers fandom. 16 years later he is the President of the Die Hard Bolts Club, which has chapters all over the country and internationally as well. When asked if he is a football fan today because of his father, Enrique answered, “Absolutely.” And now he is officially the Chargers Fan of the Year.
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Enrique now has a family of his own. He and his wife live in Rancho Cucamonga with their three small children. The oldest of which is already a diehard Chargers fan. He cheers when he watches them play. He even cheers ‘Go Chargers!’ when they aren’t one of the two teams playing. Enrique is passionate about passing the love of the game down to his kids. He would also like the world to know that his son is the next Justin Herbert.
The Diehard Bolts Club and the broader Chargers fan base create for him what he calls a ‘family environment.’ And just like blood relations, the true ties that bind are forged during the hard times. And hard times is something that Chargers fans are all too familiar with. There are the soul-crushing injuries, the incredible winning seasons that resulted in frustrating playoff losses, and the move from their long-time home of San Diego to LA. As Enrique puts it, “We’ve been to hell and back.” He says it’s the thing that makes Chargers fans a tight-knit group.
Vice President of the Diehard Bolts club, Matthew Guccione, says he’s lucky to get to work with Enrique. In the short time, I was around the two men their brotherly bond was very apparent. Guccione couldn’t contain the pride he was feeling. That is just one example. As it turns out, the Chargers Fan of the Year has many fans of his own. Throughout his Fan of the Year ceremony, which took place at SoFi before the Chargers/Titans tilt, numerous people called out to Enrique to congratulate him. Chargers great, Antonio Gates was on hand to celebrate and he personally thanked Enrique for his support. “It’s fans like this that make playing football great.” Gates said.
Carrasco-Garcia was elected president of DHBC in 2022 after his predecessor, Brian Bahr, stepped down. He felt an earnest responsibility to ensure that the club continued doing an excellent job of serving the fan base in the best way it could. It’s like a son taking over the family business. Carrasco-Garcia is protective of his beloved ball team, much like one would be of a sibling. So one of his goals is to change the “No Fans” stigma that haunts the franchise.
And Enrique welcomes every fan into the family with open arms. The open embrace of everyone is what likely set him apart for Captain Morgan. “I don’t judge anybody. I welcome you.” Carranco-Garcia said, ‘I don’t care if you’ve been a Charger fan for a month, a day, or a year.”
The fan club has countless philanthropic outreaches and the one closest to Enrique’s heart is Children’s Health of Orange County. They cared for one of his children, so now he understands what it’s like to be in that position. He says when you do even small things for the patients and their parents, it means a lot. Even a small gesture like bringing coffee and donuts is immensely helpful.
NFL Fan of the Year: Presented By Captain Morgan
These are just a few of the reasons Captain Morgan and the NFL named Carranco-Garcia the Chargers Fan of the Year. For the last two seasons, Captain Morgan has collaborated with the NFL to honor fans across the league because they believe that fans truly are the heartbeat of the sport. To do this, the county’s leading spiced rum brand has sponsored the NFL Fan of the Year contest.
This year they are going above and beyond to recognize the winners in the form of a life-size statue of their likeness. Enrique has been immortalized like the very best athletes and top coaches have and the kicker is he gets to display it in a place of his choosing. He will also be featured in a full-page Fan of the Year spread in the February issue of Sports Illustrated.
Be sure to vote for Enrique in the nationwide Fan of the Year contest.