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Bob The Badger

A Rams Fan In Charlotte

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I know there is an NFL thread, so if it needs moving, I understand, but it's kinda long and hopefull interesting to any Rams fans on here.

What a weekend.

We flew up from Miami on Friday. And then on the Saturday met up with an old school friend of Helen’s and his wife to go to the US National Whitewater Center.

If you ever get the chance to do that, grab it with both hands.

I know nothing about rafting but the second run we did was a Cat 4 (which is apparently intense) and it was incredible. 

At one point Helen was going in as we were engulfed in a huge wave, but dug her nails into my arm and somehow managed to haul herself back - leaving me bleeding.

A great experience followed by a great night. Charlotte is a foodies delight and a really welcoming, clean and fun city - highly recommended.

After, two nights out in Charlotte and with not a Rams fan in sight  and I was resigned to the fact that we would be rarer than white rhinos ina Marks and Spencers.

Helens old friend is from Chesterfield but sadly, a Panthers fan, and we met up again Sunday morning and went for some authentic soul food. I thought we’d be lucky to get into what is roundly accepted as Charlotte’s leading soul food eatery, but it was quiet - except for a couple of tables of Rams fans - sweet!

A couple of Mimosa’s and some wraps that got the attention of Guys Fieri enough for him to take his Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives show there (and rightly so, they were delicious) and we were on our way.

The nearer we got the the stadium the more Rams fans we started to see. Maybe I was wrong.

As we got in line to the security I got my phone out to pull up my tickets. StubHub had logged me out so I logged back in.

Wrong password.

I knew it wasn’t, so I tried it again with the same result.

And I tried again, and again, and agin.

I could barely see my screen in the bright sunshine and I was crouched down trying to find shade.

Sweat was pouring off me as much due to my panic setting in as the bright sun. I tried to reset the password and that didn’t work - I still haven’t had the reset email 5 hours later.

I literally shut down the browser, went back in clicked on StubHub with no hope whatsoever - but the Gods were smiling and I was in. I have nooo clue what happened by I was ready to cry with joy and relief.

Our seats were 30 rows back and climbing those 30 stairs in 92 degrees was brutal. I mentally calculated that if I went to the concourse once per quarter I’d have climbed higher than the Empire State Building in brutal heat - not an enticing prospect.

We took our seats and to my utter delight were surrounded by Rams fans, most of whom were fairly well lubricated.

I got a text from a buddy who’s a 49ers fan. So, I rather childishly took a selfie of me giving him the finger and hit send.

One of the Rams fans asked who I was sending that to. When I told him, he insisted I take one of all the guys behind me giving him the finger too. How could I refuse? In fairness my friend thought it was funny.

The Panthers started off and seemed to be moving at will and  I was getting uneasy. I panic about as easily as anybody I know at football games.

A Mathews sack and then the Littleton fumble recovery settled my nerves and was the precursor to Rams fans making way more noise in our section for the entire first half. 

I think we had as many Rams fans around us as we did at the playoff game against the Cowboys in the payoffs last season.

Outside of San Fran and Arizona this was EASILY the biggest Ram turnout I have ever seen. Admittedly that’s only 7 or 8 games, but it still felt great.

A punting and kicking fest ensued, but then came Malcolm Brown. That’s why we paid the guy over $3m and I think he’s a steal.

I said I get nervous easily, but similarly I can relax too easily and when Greg kicked the FG to make it 16-3, I thought it was in the bag.

The nerves were back when they hit the TD and then evaporated again when Brown took it in.

The blocked punt didn’t surprise me.

Almost every crowd I have ever been in oo’s and ah’s when a punt gets off - by their nature they are always close - but Johnny had had one really close earlier on. Did it even get tipped? I wasn’t sure at the time.

Anyway, I’d slipped back into panic mode and the intense heat was taking a toll.

That is one hot stadium with almost no relief. It’s a huge concrete bowl that seems almost anachronistic alongside modern stadiums. It’s like The Coliseum but without the history…or the Rams.

By now we had moved away from our Ramily to take up some of the many empty seats lower down.

There were still plenty of Rams fans close by, but we were in enemy territory now.

But here’s the things - Panthers fans obviously think smack is something drug addicts buy, or you did to your kids in days of yore.

They are so polite - or they they simply ignore you.

All day the single worst thing I had said to me was ‘You picked the wrong team to play on day one’ 

By now McCaffrey was annoying me.

In all seriousness, I’m so glad I saw him play because he’s amazing. Yes the Rams tackled poorly, and yes he had some holes, but he’s a top 3 running back imho and so dangerous out of the backfield.

It was inevitable he’d score a TD and full deserved.

The Higbee TD sealed the deal.

Except it didn’t because Goff threw an interception - he looked rusty today - I hope it's just rust anyway.

He threw two very poor passes in the first quarter and I kinda expected it. It didn’t look that horrible a pass (not seen it since, so maybe it was), unlike the earlier ones, but it got the crowd back in the game.

The crowd had a couple of mini resurgences, like when Greg missed the FG, but well before the end the stadium was half empty and by the end it was half Rams fans.

The walk back to the hotel of about a mile or so was just a fun, fun experience. I’ve walked away from too many games (usually in San Fran)  to shouts of “Lambs suck” and lots of mocking and abuse.

This one was quiet apart from Rams fans bumping fists and high-fiving.

My record seeing the Rams was at one stage 3 - 11. Then it dawned on me, this was the forth consecutive game I’ve basked in a victory.

Long may it continue.

Now pass me the wine because those two mimosa’s have worn off and I’m going to celebrate!

Go Rams!

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