I went to Mission Viejo High School. For those of you that didn’t grow up in South Orange County, you may not know what that means. But for someone who has lived here for his entire life, it meant undoubted greatness out of the football team. Death, taxes, and MVHS winning their league. Being nationally ranked as the third best high school during the Mark Sanchez era.
My freshman year was 2007. Mission Viejo was undefeated leading up to the final game before the postseason. It was against Tesoro High School from Rancho Santa Margarita. They, too, were undefeated, but lacked the history, only being founded in 2001 and moving to the South Coast League in the previous year. But they were cocky. A week before the game, a photo surfaced with several of the players holding a sign saying, “MV, you’re next.” Bulletin board material. No, seriously, that photo was up in the locker room for all to see. It was unfathomable that this small, new school would have the balls to come at us like that.
Until they beat us.
I’m telling you this story because the Los Angeles Rams, our Los Angeles Rams, have a chance to be that new team that ascends to the top of a division that has, in recent years, been held in a choke-hold by that team up in the Pacific Northwest. Dynasties rise and dynasties fall, and we may be watching a new era unfold in the NFC West. Sure, the Rams have made a habit of beating the champs in recent years, but it always felt as if they “escaped” with a win. It’s foreign to say, but I expect the Rams to win tomorrow.
What do you need to do on Sunday? Well, if you live in the Los Angeles area: SHOW UP! I understand that ticket prices have gone from $6 for the opener to $60 for this weekend. But we may be in the midst of something special. Show up, wear your throwback colors (I know you love them, we’ve talked about this ad nauseam), and be loud. If you can’t make it, find a bar that has the game on. Remember the feeling you had last Sunday after beating Dallas. Remember the excitement you felt, perhaps the most genuine hype in years. Do what it takes to show Los Angeles (and the rest of the country) that we are a football city, and we are rallying around one team. The #FightForLA is over (to be fair, it was over when the Chargers didn’t opt to call it the Battle of Los Angeles. From then it’s been lights out, guerrilla radio). We’ve reached the point where we don’t have to worry about a division in the fan base, and can move on to winning the division.
I’ll be there tomorrow, rooting for this team. A team I love and a team I believe in, for the first time in a long time. And it brings me great joy to say this: Seattle, you’re next.