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L.A. football

Andrew Gastelum | Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh to be a kid again. Don’t you remember going to (insert NFL stadium here) and soaking it all in? Hey Dad, let’s play catch before the game in the parking lot. Can I get a hot dog at halftime? These seats are awesome. Oh sorry, I was reminiscing there. And by reminiscing, I mean fantasizing.

While you smelled the sirloins cooking outside of the Linc, I asked mom if I could eat in front of the TV. She usually let me. While you picked icicles off of your beanie at Soldier Field, I put my cheesehead on and tried to stay out of the 85 degrees weather. Talk about a frozen tundra. While you woke up early to watch T.O. warm up, dancing to the tune of his headphones, I was waking up at 10 a.m. to watch whatever game FOX decided to show on Sunday. But don’t worry — I had my popcorn ready, straight from the microwave, while you waited in line behind that one guy who ordered too many beers.

But Los Angeles really has everything. Look to the left and you see the shining sea under the spacious skies. Look to the right and there are the purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains. But nowhere in America the Beautiful did it mention a football stadium, and God forbid it mention an NFL team. In between the mountains and ocean lie two basketball teams (one legendary, one laughable), an up-and-coming hockey team, two soccer rivals, two college football programs, and one baseball team (no, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim do not count unless you want to drive an hour down the 5 Freeway to get to the stadium from the city). Nowhere in there is a mention of an NFL team.

Nashville has one; so does Jacksonville — heck, even Buffalo has something that we don’t that isn’t called a snow day. It’s baffling isn’t it? The second-largest metropolis in the United States isn’t home to a team in one of the biggest sports businesses in the world. I have yet to see an NFL game, but remain a fervent football fan (taking time away from recent vacations in Hawaii and Orlando to catch a Sunday game or two).

Therfore, L.A. is the mixing pot of football fans. Just in my immediate family (all Angelinos) I can check off Chargers, Packers, Steelers, Rams, Vikings and Dolphins from the list of diehard fans. My parent’s generation was fortunate enough to have the Raiders and Rams for a number of years until 1994. If it weren’t for Al Davis or Georgia Frontiere I could be trying to memorize my seventh coach in 10 years or rooting my team on to win the NFC West at 7-9. Meanwhile my little cousin’s Y2K generation can ride the bandwagon of the regional Chargers until they make the move to Los Angeles. Seriously, though, everyone claims to be a Chargers fan, yet the stadium struggles to fill up, threatening Southern California with a regional television blackout.

But until the proposed stadium is built (somewhere around 2015) and the Chargers/Vikings/Jaguars/Bills/Raiders/Rams settle into downtown, I will watch my games on the tube, because I know nothing else. You know it is bad when you find yourself wondering whether the yellow first down line is only on TV or actually on the field. Boy, those painters must work fast.


The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Andrew Gastelum at [email protected]