Rams Return, Fans Reborn

By Kyle Smith

Growing up in the Los Angeles area, being asked about your favorite football team is a regularity and an explanation is almost always necessary to prove loyalty.

"The Steelers because I have family from Pennsylvania," or "the Chargers because they're in California and aren't the Raiders," are among the answers you'd expect when asking someone who they root for on Sunday.

An entire generation of Los Angeles citizens don't know what its like to grow up in a city with an NFL team, and they've had to find reason to root for another.

The Rams are back after 20 years in St. Louis, but now the football fans of LA are faced with a decision that make them question their own fandom: Do I become a Rams fan or stick with my distant team?

The fear of becoming a Rams fan comes with the fear of being labeled a bandwagoner.

If your team is in bad shape and you show up to work in a Rams jersey, coworkers will accuse you of being a fair-weather fan and giving up on the team you say you love for the Rams, who look sort-of promising.

But continuing to root for the team outside of LA will make you miss out on the special history and good feelings that come with the Rams' return.

When they left after 1994, people either adopted their friends' teams, persisted to be a Rams fan, or picked a team that was doing well at the time.

All three have reason to welcome the Rams back home, but those who stuck it out and still have their Eric Dickerson jersey from the 1980s should be thanked.

If there weren't already Rams fans in LA, the move wouldn't make much sense but the growth of the fan base is what will keep them in town this time.

The team has spent more time in Southern California than St. Louis since the franchise was founded in 1936, but for people who weren't around yet, this might as well be the first time LA has had an NFL team.

Their return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum broke attendance records for preseason games and we can only expect more when the regular season starts.

The return of this team should spark the return of true football fanatics in the entertainment capital of the world.

Rather than being a place where everyone has to look for a reason to fall in love with a team, Los Angeles now has its own.

Whether you root for our home team or visit the stadium when your team is in town, all of Los Angeles should be happy to host NFL football again.