I grew up in a suburb of St. Louis, but just recently went to my first Rams game. It’s funny no one had ever given me a hard time about that.
Now, if I were to say I hadn’t been to a Cardinals game …
I do remember the football parties my parents had back in the days of Kurt Warner and “The Greatest Show on Turf,” and the love and pride everyone had for the Rams. But as I got older their fan base faded.
Or so I thought.
Driving into the city always excites me; some of that has to do with the adventure at hand, some of it is pure delight at the sights and sounds St. Louis holds.
St. Louis has a skyline that seems to draw you in. There is something about the Gateway Arch – you just can’t look away. I always like to try to spot the Ferris wheel and praying mantis that serve as identifiers for the otherwise hidden City Museum, one the city’s most-beloved attractions.
Driving toward the Edward Jones Dome, we started seeing a lot of different groups of fans, some in red walking toward the south side of the city to Busch Stadium (where I truly longed to be), others in blue and gold congregating near the dome, home to the St. Louis Rams.
In a sports town on a Sunday evening in September, parking can get kind of crazy. Luckily, I was with a pro who knew to pick a lot a few blocks away – even though it means a pre- and post-game hike.
As we joined the sea of blue and gold, I started to get really excited. We got close to the dome where there were lines forming, and men on megaphones saying that we could not take bags into the game. I remembered hearing about this new NFL rule and immediately groaned because I figured we would be standing in line for an hour at the amount of people who were in front of us.
But it only took us about five minutes to pass through; the new rule actually made things go so much faster.
Once we found our seats, I immediately noticed how pumped everyone was. I am a baseball fan to the core and spend a good amount of my discretionary budget on the boys in cardinal red.
But baseball is different.
Yes, people get really revved up in the post season and when it’s a close game, but you never see people standing up in their seats for the entire game. Rams football surprised me, the game went almost four hours and it felt like one. Everyone was so into the game I couldn’t help but get caught up in the entire experience.
I have to say, they did it right (whoever they are) when they decided to build a dome. The Edward Jones Dome is the perfect place to watch a football game (despite many opinions to the contrary). You can hear the excitement from all the fans; it vibrates through you as you are watching the game, and all of the sudden, you are booing the ref for a bad call or yelling and jumping up and down when a touchdown is made. I’ve been to football games in open-air stadiums and it’s not the same, the roar of the masses escapes.
After an exhausting (yes, lots of yelling and jumping up and down) four hours of football-watching, the Rams won their first game of the season. We headed out into the night with our new friends and fellow fans who were celebrating in the streets.
While making the hike back to our car, it hit me: I am a Rams football fan.
The Cardinals may still be No. 1 in my heart, but I have to admit, it’s difficult to top the Rams football game experience.
Photos taken by Daniel Doelling.
Written by Elise Eimer, content management assistant for the Missouri Division of Tourism.