I grew up in a military family. My dad was in the Navy and we traveled the world. I lived in Maryland, Italy, and Jacksonville all before the age of 6.
When I was 21, I joined the Marine Corps. After a few years, this happened.
One of the worst aspects of my deployment was the lack of support that I received from my family. I only received two care packages my entire deployment. One of those was from someone I didn’t know. My daughter was 18 months old and I didn’t see how she developed into a young toddler. My ex cheated on me three days after I was shot. Things were terrible. That was easily the lowest point in my life. I dropped nearly 60 lbs, looked like death and felt worse. When I got off the plane, my mom started to cry. I thought it was because she was happy to see me, but later she told me that she was crying because how bad that I looked.
When I got back to Japan from Iraq I was transferred to Quantico. I had single custody of my daughter who was 2 1/2. I was a young Marine Sergeant 6 months removed from a gunshot wound, working long hours and taking care of my daughter by myself. Shit was rough. I drowned myself in work and parenting and refused to look at issues that were popping up in my personal life because of the war. I honestly didn’t have time.
I got a facebook request from someone that I thought was hot as all get out. I didn’t know who she was when I first saw the name. Didn’t matter though, she was hot and I was single. Friendship request accepted for days. I looked at more of her pictures like a straight creepshow. I was picking up what she was putting out. Boyfriend? What does your man gotta do with me? Nothing. I messaged her some creepy shit and she actually responded back. A few weeks later she was on a plane to come spend the weekend with me. My daughter was visiting her mom so it was perfect.
She came back again the next month and met my daughter. I came home early without calling and when I walked in the door, she was on the floor playing with my daughter. They were laughing together. She left the next day and I drove from the airport to the jewelry store. We had been dating six weeks.
Now we have another daughter and have been married for almost 4 years. She has been incredibly supportive with what I go through. She has a master's degree in psychology, which really helps when trying to understand someone with my issues. She is patient with my memory loss and understands my mood swings. She doesn’t get mad when I put the blender in the fridge because I am having a "TBI moment." She laughs and puts it cabinet.
In 2012 I was medically retired from the Marine Corps. My whole life was different. For nearly 10 years every decision that I made was influenced or directed by the Marine Corps. I moved to Texas from Quantico in order to train dogs at the Military Working Dog School. It was awesome. My favorite assignment that I had ever gotten. Teaching service members how to locate bombs with Working Dogs will have a lasting impact on our military. Of all my accomplishments in the Marine Corps, teaching there was my most significant.
Now that I am out, I am a dad, husband, and Jaguar fan. That's it. For years my first title was Marine. That's different now and it took some getting used to. Around September or so, I fully engulfed myself in Jaguars twitter. Even though I didn't actually get out of the Marines until November of this year, I was sitting at home for the last 6 months waiting for my discharge. My concussion symptoms had reached the point where it was liability to have me around gunshots and aggression-trained dogs. My doctors were worried that I could have permanent damage with one more heavy-hit. So, instead of dwelling on my injuries, I made jokes on twitter. I made new friends. I talked about nephews, nieces, dick wrecking, powermoves, wristbutts. I basically turned my twitter account into something that we would talk about every day in the Marine Corps. I talked about nonsense, ya bish.
In the process of doing that, Jaguar fans filled the void that I was feeling. I haven’t been to Jacksonville in 5 years. My family lives there but I am not close with them. I haven’t attempted to go to Jacksonville since I returned from Japan in 2008. But now, I have a family to go see. The funny part is that I know most of my new family solely by their twitter handles. "Man, I can’t wait to go drink a beer with MadebyTim, Burritobroshits, and Jagstom. AlfieBCC and I are gonna go fishing!"
The most amazing part of being a Jaguar fan for me is that the fans have made my love for the team stronger. The team is almost secondary to the fans at this point. Sure, the Jaguars on the field are important, but not as important as the fan interaction. The Jaguars fans are what make this team so great.
Jaguars have the single most accepting and ruthless fan base of any team that I know. It's like the Marine Corps of twitter. No better friend. No worse enemy. We outchea. Walk softly and carry your big teal dick.
That's what makes the national media dialogue about our team so baffling. We don’t have fans? Seriously. Maybe not, but we have a fan base that is literally making impacts on people's lives. LIVES. We are investing in each other lives. This is the type of fan base that consoles someone when their mom passes. This is the type of fan base that has helped guys through depression. This is the type of fan base that shares unfortunate aspects of their lives and are met with support. This is the type of fan base that celebrates births, birthdays, graduation, retirements, and marriages. This place is Duval. Duval is becoming much more than just a place on a map. It's a state of mind. It's a familial category. It's who we are. It's who we will always be. We are Duval.
I'll be at the first game this year. Even though a lot of you try to get me fired all the time, I'd love to meet up and have you buy me 8 beers. Bring peanuts too. They don’t sell them shits in Texas.
I’m Chaps McNealy. Once a Marine, Always a Marine and Duval til I die.