Monday, August 8, 2016

Where to be Merry: The Los Angeles Rams' Family Day @ The Coliseum

It's official — the Los Angeles Rams are officially here in L.A.!

In fact, for the past few weeks, the team has been hosting training camps down at the University of California, Irvine. These practices have been open and free to the public, with the first one drawing an impressive 10,000 attendees.

This past Saturday, the Rams headed north, holding their first — and only — open camp at the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, pictured below. I love this stadium, not only because it’s an incredible venue with gorgeous views all around, but also because it has such an exceptionally rich history of events held here. We’re talking two Olympics, JFK's 1960 DNC acceptance speech, tons of music festivals that drew tens of thousands of people — like Stax Records’ Wattstax in 1972 and Insomniac’s Electric Daisy Carnivals in the late 2000s. And, it’s where the mighty Trojans play football every fall (Fight On!).

Now, it will also be where the Rams play their season games for the next three years, until the Inglewood “City of Champions Stadium” opens in 2019.

Coined as "Family Day," the Saturday afternoon event at the Coliseum featured two hours of jam-packed activities, from scrimmages to an appearance by the Rams mascot Rampage (pictured below) and even a few player signings.

Training was broken up into several segments, including positional, non-contact and full contact practice. At one point, the quarterbacks and wide receivers were on one side of the field, running through routes, while on the other side, both defensive and offensive linebackers practiced coming off the line. There were also team drills with no huddles.

Quarterbacks Jared Goff (16), Case Keenum (17), Sean Mannion (14) and Dylan Thompson (2) each took their respective reps, practicing different phases of the game.

Kickers Taylor Bertolet (1) and Greg Zuerlein (4) showed off their skills, too, with Zuerlein even hitting a 50-yarder!

Players wrapped up the afternoon with stretching and head coach Jeff Fisher shared a few inspiring words. And lastly, several players jogged over to the stands to sign autographs and take pics. Yours truly even got the chance to meet linebacker Cameron Lynch (50).

But just because it was a practice, don’t think that it was all only fun and games. The crowd, which literally looked like a sea of millennium gold and new century blue, roared with genuine excitement every time a player made a “touchdown.” There were even a few “friendly” fights that broke out between players.

Like the past five practices down in Irvine, this one was also open to the public. Attendees could sit anywhere, even getting as close as the first row. It was awesome to watch little kids (and a few adults) hanging over balconies, excitedly yelling at the players on the sidelines.

The Rams will hold a few more practices — 11 to be exact — back down in Irvine, before launching into a round of preseason games. If you’re interested in attending any of them, you can check out the practice schedule here. The Rams will kick off their official first preseason game on Saturday, Aug. 13, against the Dallas Cowboys, right at the Coliseum.

Are you excited to see the Rams return to Los Angeles? Drop your response in the comments section below!

I’ll see you at a season game soon!

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