The Bash/Home Opener Weekend
It's Monday morning - tired as heck from the weekend, but overall, it was well worth it! If you haven't been to a Bash before, you MUST make plans to go next year!
My weekend actually started out on Friday morning. My girlfriend, Colleen, and I dropped our two youngest kids off at their schools and hit the highway by 8:30. One hour into the trip, we stopped in Lebanon, MO, at an outlet mall to rummage through the Rams gear. Though the selection was limited, we still found a few bargains.
Back on the road by 10, we drove straight into St. Louis. I took Colleen to Union Station for lunch and more shopping. There's only a few stores there, but a few of them are loaded with Rams stuff! We added more items to our Rams inventory, not just for us, but for the young ones for Christmas.
Next, we went to our hotel, and the desk clerk was nice. He allowed us to check in a couple of hours early - I guess seeing a couple dressed in Rams stuff instead of Cardinals red was the key! We got cleaned up and headed out the door for a little sightseeing and then on to Llywelyn's Pub (Soulard) for one of the Rams Kickoff Parties. I thought that the other Clanners who arrived on Friday might make it down to the Soulard Llywelyn's since it was the closest to the dome, but we didn't see anyone else there. Trish and Shannon, a couple of lovely cheerleaders arrived at 6:30, making their way through the crowd and greeting everyone. They took the time to stay and visit with Colleen and I for quite some time, about 45 minutes. They were extremely nice, very friendly ladies. I did get a pic of Colleen with them. About 7:15, Danario Alexander arrived. He, too, made his way around in the crowd, greeting and chatting with the patrons. He was very friendly as well. Colleen asked for his autograph and a picture, and he was more than happy to oblige. I will say he seemed almost embarrassed by the attention - almost like he was uncomfortable with being in the limelight. There was also another man in a Rams jersey who garnered a lot of attention - he walked through the door wearing a #31 jersey. At least two dozen people flocked around him wanting his autograph. He soon found a dark corner at the bar near us, and I mentioned I liked his jersey, telling him you don't see too many Archuletta jerseys being worn anymore. He said he wished he didn't wear it - people thought that he was Adam Archuletta. I thought he looked a lot more like Will Smith of movie fame. After all, Archuletta wasn't African-American, was he?
They had some great giveaways and prizes, too. Spirit towels, tickets, VIP box tickets, season passes, a Chris Long autographed authentic helmet, a Steven Jackson autographed football, some jerseys - we didn't win anything, but we had a great time. One of the great deals was the beer - draft beer was $3.75 but if you wanted to keep the Rams beer glass, it was only $4.00. I got two...I have to admit, I wish I could have drank more beer.
Saturday we slept in a while, then hit White Castle for an early lunch. After that, we drove down south by Bevo Mill, in my grandparent's old neighborhood. It wasn't too hard to find the area with all the German names, but I didn't find my grandparent's house. I'll have to get the exact address for our next trip. Last time I saw the house I was 5 - in 1967. (I'm shocked I could even get close to where it was).
After that, it was a trip to the Casino. We didn't win anything, but we didn't spend much, either. A walk through Laclede's landing and on to the Arch, then a security check later, and we were on our way to the top of the Arch. I've been there before many times - Colleen never had been there. Got a few great pictures and had a great time. After that, we went to the Basillica. If you haven't seen it, go. Built in 1824, it's unlike anything you might find elsewhere.
By this time, it was time for the Bash dinner. We walked back to the Landing and met GoldenFleece. He was the first to arrive, but soon after we got there, others began showing up. I didn't get an accurate count, but I guess there was about 3 dozen who showed up, most from the Clan, some from Ram Nation on facebook. It was great to see RamGram there, and of course I must say having Becky (Big Red Man's wife) at the dinner made it as special as it was. I was hoping I could have finally met Randy, but after meeting Becky, I felt like Randy was there. Guys, I have to tell you - Randy was a unique person - let me rephrase that - Randy and Becky are unique people! Becky, thanks for treating us all to dinner - what a great tribute to Randy!
We enjoyed the company of old friends and new friends, and Colleen said she felt right at home with all of you. She was very nervous about how she would be recieved, but soon felt very welcome as part of the group. I would like to thank everyone for that - I wanted to make sure she had a great time, and all who attended the Bash made that possible.
Of course, we had the annual Bash raffle - it was a fun time as usual! I guess Phillip has the "bad penny" until next year! If you aren't familiar with the reference, it's ClanRam's version of a Christmas fruitcake that is re-gifted each year.
Sunday morning was a blast! We were invited to a tailgate party thrown by King Ram and Ram Man. Steak sandwiches and beer for breakfast, the company of Rams fans, and seeing thousands of Rams fans all around us was great! It was my first tailgate party, and I am glad Colleen's first game included a tailgate.
Around 11, we decided to head into the dome. We wanted time to look at the stuff the vendors had to offer and get into our seats before it got too crowded. It was great to see so few empty seats...when I say few, I mean very few. It reminded me of how the dome looked on TV back in 2001 - just one or two empty seats per section. When the 9/11 tribute and National Anthem were taking place, the dome was silent. As soon as the Rams came out of the tunnel, it was just the opposite - over 60,000 screaming fans makes that place LOUD.
There were some Eagles fans there, but at least we didn't see Rams fans holding up signs for them to wear a bra or telling them that shampoo was a girls best friend. (A reference to the 2009 Bash!)
The Eagles got the ball first - and our defense made some good plays to stop them. It looked like it was going to be a great game. When we got the ball, Jackson ran into the endzone from 43 yards out for the first TD of the game. Colleen found out why Steven wears those golden shoes. The dome was rocking! As he crossed the goal line, an Eagle defender tried to stop him - apparently this was when he got the quad bruise. No one in the stands knew he was hurt until a couple of series later when we saw him standing on the sidelines holding his helmet.
When the Eagles recoverd the ball for a TD, you could feel a lot of the optimism leave the dome, but it wasn't over. All the way until the third quarter when Amendola was hit (a VERY dirty play - and the refs didn't throw a flag on Philly, even though they should have!) the crowd was into the game - everyone knew we should have been up by at least 3 for most of the game, and we still had the opportunity to get the win. Amendola came back out for one more play, and went down after catching the ball - when we saw one of the other Rams wave for the trainers, we knew it was serious. Danny doesn't stop playing after he gets hit - he is like the Energizer bunny. It had to be bad or he would hve gotten up.
Add in a lot of bad calls by the refs, many non-calls (two of them MAJOR personal fouls), and some blatant favortism by the refs (giving Philly 30-40 yards they didn't deserve), plus Bartell and Smith going down...and the Rams were in a huge hole.
Had the officiating been fair, things might have turned out much different. I know you who watched on TV didn't see everything we did, just trust me - it was bad. Those refs were on the Eagle's side as much as anyone could have bit een. They might as well have worn green instead of stripes. Hey, if any refs see this - I hear Vick can get you a great deal on a seeing eye dog!
I wish we would have pulled out a win. That would have been the ONLY thing that we needed to have had the perfect weekend. As it stands - it was still a great time.
Thanks to everyone - the fans we didn't know, the Clanners who came, the locals, the cheerleaders, and Danario Alexander - Colleen now understands why it has to be the Rams! She is already talking about going back to see another game...this was her first NFL experience, and it went almost perfect. I think we may have a new Rams fan on our hands - she has agreed to let me paint our living room Blue & Gold, and has decided she needs to order herself a couple of jerseys.
David - thanks for all your hard work in organizing everything. You did an excellent job! Just one thing - next year, order the "guaranteed win" upgrade, OK?
I took a lot of pictures, some actually came out halfway decent, some didn't, but here's a link to them:Facebook
Once again, thanks to everyone for such a great weekend!
Re: The Bash/Home Opener Weekend
It was great meeting you and colleen. I wish I had come to the dinner cause I only met u and la ram. Hope your daughter wasn't to upset at the result of the game when she watched it.
Btw la ram u and ur wife are awesome. Tell your wife that my cousin and myself both said thank you. We were both pretty broke so the beers were very nice of her. I can't wait till next year then I can meet more of you. I seen avenger and goldenfleece but never got a chance to talk to ya. Some of you probably saw me and didn't realize. I was the one in the bradford jersey screaming his lungs out on all downs.