Kid in the Coliseum

My first day on the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum field, running an out pattern and catching a pass thrown by one of my childhood Ram heroes, in front of my father, himself a lifetime Rams fan.

It was my only time on the field and the pass was thrown by defensive back Clancey Williams, one of six Rams players present for the event, to meet with young fans. On this day my father had received 2 tickets and brought his oldest son along, which fortunately was me, just shy of my 9th birthday.

These were pre-digital camera days, my father brought the family Instamatic to capture and commemorate the date for history. With the recent discovery of these photographs, after 45 plus years let’s go back and review the afternoon.

June 28, 1970. According to the dated photos.

The afternoon was about a new season, in 1969 the Rams, coached by George Allen and led by league MVP quarterback Roman Gabriel reached the playoffs only to fall in Minnesota, the first of several cold weather playoff loses to the Vikings, 23-20.

We  listened in groups as each player imparted some wisdom which has long since escaped me, we ran some light drills and got a our player autographs.

The I was there moment! Keep in mind the following pictures were with an Instamatic camera not digital. I imagine my father, a huge Ram fan, was still quite frugal. He brought the family camera with unused film in it, several shots available, and with 6 players, all he needed were 6 pictures. No need to buy more film, how many pictures could he need?

The Los Angeles Rams players I met that day, in no particular order, with a brief bio and the photo description.

Rams23.320x267Alvin Haymond #23-

Kick off and punt returner and my favorite player. Haymond returned the second half kickoff on opening day 1970 for a touchdown against the St. Louis Cardinals in the Coliseum, that game was blacked out locally.

You can just make me out, my cowlick is at the bottom of the photo to the right, just under the sun hat. My father did get Haymond centered.

Rams57.320x315Doug Woodlief #57-

Linebacker and career Ram, after just completing his 5th and most productive season with the team, it was also his last.

He had started 11 games the prior season, coach George Allen was big on defense, but he liked older experienced defenses.

This time, if you look to the bottom left of the frame. See the cowlick? That’s me.

rams32.320x273Jack Pardee #32-

The Rams linebacker, who is the only person to be a head football coach in college, the Canadian Football League, the World Football League, the United States Football League, and the National Football League.

I think it’s him anyway. He’s wearing Pardee’s uniform, he’s there with several other bonafide Ram players, and look, there’s my cowlick!

Rams24.320x281Clancy Williams #24-

Cornerback and career Ram, Clancy was throwing passes to us earlier.

My best guess is that is my arm waving the autograph sheet in Clancy’s face, dad may have been getting more comfortable with the camera, I don’t see my cowlick here.

Rams44.320x292Nate Shaw #44-

Defensive back, an All-American in college out of USC, Shaw was beginning his second and final year with the Rams and in the league.

Bam! Cowlick in front.

Rams17.320x305Ritchie Petitbon #17-

Defensive back Petibon had quite a career with the Chicago Bears and Rams.

It appears I was wearing Packer colors to the event… only coincidently.

There’s the cowlick!

Sometimes a picture or pictures don’t have to say one thousand words each. My father made this day count.

*****

This is a welcome piece, after 21 years the Rams are back.

My cowlick hasn’t been gone as long as the Rams, I would also welcome it back. If it decided to return.

More LA Rams history coming, thank you.

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