The Rebirth of a Fan

By Laurie Brown

I went to bed Sunday night a different Rams fan than I had woken up that morning and it took approximately fifteen minutes to change everything.

When I moved to St. Louis I decided I wanted to be a home town fan of one of the three sports teams in town. The Cardinals were out right off the bat (no pun intended) because I was born and raised a San Francisco Giants fan.

I tried hockey. Being from California I had no knowledge of hockey, didn’t understand the rules, couldn’t find the passion. I enjoyed going to Blues games, but couldn’t really get into the sport. I turned to the Rams.

My husband and I started going to the dome and just buying tickets on the street from scalpers. Had fun, started to pay closer attention to the game, learning the rules, the strategies.

Started knowing the players which at that time was basically Steven Jackson. Loved, loved, loved being with other Rams fans. By the end of that year, maybe four games under my belt I was hooked. Bought season tickets for the next year the instant they were available.

That season I went to the draft day party, training camp, coaches talks, pre-season events and anything and everything even vaguely Rams related. I became such a fixture that the team photographer got to know me. I was obsessive.

I gave 110%. I was the 12th and the 13th Ram. But the team was in a growing phase (like always I would soon learn). Spagnuolo was still new and so was Sam. But it was a good thing, right? Change was good. The team needed change. It didn’t matter that we were so awful because we were growing. We would put good people around Sam and we would be winners in no time!

I was still a devoted fan. A devoted fan to the point that I would stop people on the street, in stores and in restaurants who were wearing other team’s gear and scold them for not wearing Rams stuff. Devoted.

The next year not a lot changed. Sam regressed. Spags seemed timid as a coach. Jackson was still doing his thing and there were a few other glimmers of hope but not much. In the dome the mood was dour. The team would be booed off the field repeatedly.

The Rams were a joke, an afterthought in the NFL. Spags was eventually fired and my devotion dwindled to commitment. Committed was the best I could do. I renewed my season tickets, went to a couple of training camp practices but the elation was gone.

Now here comes Jeff Fisher! All will be fixed. The team will turn around. Sam will get his bearings and start working towards that elite stautus, right? Um, no. There were definitely some victories, the Redskins home opener was definitely a bright spot, but the team didn’t look all that cohesive, all that much better.

At the Jets game, just two weeks ago, the team was booed off the field at the half. They would probably have been booed off the field at the end too if there had been anyone left in the stadium. By now I was a resigned fan.

Then the 49er game. It pretty much sucked too for the first three quarters. But then Janoris Jenkins gets an interception and makes a touchdown and suddenly, unexpectedly, we’re back in it. A field goal and we’re in overtime in a game that everyone predicted we would lose!

And then, it happened…in those extra fifteen minutes the perpetual losers, the St. Louis Rams, played football like a real NFL team. It wasn’t easy, it was completely nerve-wracking as a fan but this team did not give up. When the 49ers set-up for what looked like the game winning field goal I was sure it was over.

But they missed! And my team, MY team, scratched and clawed their way close enough to try for a field goal of their own. Even Sam Bradford, who had pretty much been a non-factor through the whole game, did his part, running for some much needed yardage to move use literally and figuratively towards our goal.

We won.

We beat the 49ers in overtime and settled, for this year anyway, who was the better team.

I was elated. So happy, so proud, which was something I hadn’t been for a couple of years. I was buzzing. I went home and watched every sports broadcast I could find just to see a glimpse of my team winning a hard game in a tough manner.

And now I can see the light again. I saw, with my own eyes, right in front of me, what this team can do, what the St. Louis Rams are made of, what is possible. Those fifteen minutes changed this resigned and disenchanted fan into a believer again.


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