Football is football and soccer is our football.

Last time I came over here I was treated to a trip to the baseball. This time the treat was football. Not like our own football this is more like rugby league with all the substitutes and ground staff joining in. There are 50 plus players on the pitch, but only 11 play at any one time. They wear body armour and helmets plus visors and some of them look like they’ve just eaten their next door neighbour. A gut is not thought of as odd, more likely an asset.

The crowd take this to heart and have similar sized waists, and occasionally they beat the team with an even bigger gut to show off. It takes some guts to play this game.

Like at the baseball the crowd was extremely well behaved, I heard no bad language and there is no atmosphere of tension but for the game itself. The away side is quietly received onto the pitch while the home team have all the razzmatazz of a circus as they run in beneath flames and furiously dancing cheer leaders peopled by hot panted young women and the odd token male dancer. It’s the sort of display and place that a vegan women’s liberationist would find difficult to bear. Meaty food stalls are everywhere and a standard sweetened juice is in a small bucket. There is little sign of quinoa in these here parts.

The game itself is about yards. How much progress can you make? I’ll not try here to explain the rules of the game, I looked them up in advance and most of it was lost on me but I do know that some of these guys can run very fast, catching a ball that has been thrown half way down a field that arrives over their shoulder. When they make a play two sets of huge men seem to have a fracas in the middle of the pitch while they sneak the ball to a man behind them. The ones in the middle look like they are trying to arrest each other wrestling and crashing around, while the one with the ball pretends not to have it and then throws it at amazing pace down the field trying to get it to one of the high speed burglars that is making a getaway. When there are any breaks in the play they make sure there are other entertainments and the announcer gees up the massive crowd to get them even more geed up than they are already. It is all pretty full on!

The LA Stadium is quite old now, it served as the Olympic stadium back in 1984, and before that in 1932. It’s a wonderful bowl with brilliant views in every respect. I’d advise anyone going to make sure you are a reasonable distance from the speakers on the end of the stadium, where resides the biggest TV screen I’ve ever seen. I’d expect an outbreak of tinnitus to anyone too close them.

For more better informed information about the stadium take a look here

If you get the chance to go to a game, don’t turn it down! It’s an altogether brilliant experience. The people are friendly, the atmosphere’s great.

The home team get a hot welcome

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The video here is before the game started, with the crowd arriving, the image below is when the place was packed and the game going.

The gentleman in front of me was as wide as a typical defence, but the seating is good and he and his new haircut did nothing to impede my enjoyment.

Standard headgear for a Rams supporter. Incidentally they won. Quite easily.

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