Rams re­turn to the city of an­gels

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

LOS An­ge­les wel­comed back the Na­tional Foot­ball League on Septem­ber 18 with park­ing lot tail­gaters and par­ty­go­ers alike cel­e­brat­ing the Rams’ re­turn to south­ern Cal­i­for­nia af­ter 21 sea­sons in St Louis.

The Rams, who lost their sea­son opener at San Fran­cisco, hosted the Seat­tle Sea­hawks amid a fes­tive at­mos­phere that was nowhere more ev­i­dent than around the Los An­ge­les Me­mo­rial Coli­seum in the hours be­fore the con­test.

Peo­ple be­gan ar­riv­ing hours be­fore the game in the park­ing lot out­side the sta­dium which held 91,046 for the con­test.

They tossed foot­balls, cooked hot dogs and cheese­burg­ers on their por­ta­ble grills, and rem­i­nisced about the good old days be­fore the Rams de­parted fol­low­ing the 1994 cam­paign.

“It seems like ev­ery­thing is right in the world again. I love the Rams,” long-time fan Billy Avila of Ana­heim said.

“When they left for St Louis, it felt like I had a long-dis­tance re­la­tion­ship with them. Now that they are back, it’s like we are mar­ried again.”

Peo­ple also crammed into bars and restau­rants around the city to watch the con­test, ar­riv­ing early to stake out a good spot to wit­ness the tele­cast of the game, which the Rams won 9-3.

The Red Hot Chili Pep­pers rock band got the fes­tiv­i­ties started in­side with a pre-game con­cert in the west side of the sta­dium.

Avila said the Rams were a big part of grow­ing up in Los An­ge­les.

“The Rams are em­bed­ded into the fab­ric of our fam­ily,” Avila said as he made his way through the con­course to his seats.

“My un­cle brought me to my first Rams game when I was a kid and now I am bring­ing my nephew to his first game. He lives in Arizona but I flew him in for the game.”

The 45-year-old di­rec­tor for an ap­parel com­pany said he never stopped cheer­ing for the Rams even when they packed up and left town for two decades.

“I would go to Phoenix to see the St Louis Rams when they played there,” Avila said.

Ted Sams’ love af­fair with the Rams dates to 1952 when he at­tended his first game at the Coli­seum.

“I’m an old man now,” said the 72-year-old Sams. “I hated it when they left and now I am glad they are back. For me, they are the same old Rams.”

Coli­seum usher Cleve­land Jack­son, who lives a cou­ple of blocks away from the sta­dium that has also hosted two Olympics, said hav­ing the Rams back al­lowed him to re­turn to work.

“I’ve been out of work for 20 years,” Jack­son said while help­ing fans find their seats. “I am re­ally ex­cited be­cause I got a job.”

Jack­son, 78, said he tried cheer­ing for other teams, but it wasn’t the same to him.

Sams isn’t ex­pect­ing mir­a­cles on the field from the Rams at the be­gin­ning. They have not man­aged a win­ning sea­son since 2003 and have not won a play­off game since 2004. The Rams suf­fered five los­ing sea­sons in a row be­fore leav­ing Los An­ge­les.

“We suf­fered through some bad years be­fore and I am afraid we are go­ing to have to suf­fer through some more,” he said.

“But the Rams are here.” –

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