By Stella Ann García

Inglewood, CA.

As I packed my suitcase, got on the plane, drove to where we were staying, got ready the next day, and finally drove to the stadium… I was very excited; however, I wasn’t nervous… I was just excited.  But as we started to get closer to SoFi Stadium, I could feel the nerves, the butterflies, the excitement. As we were blocks away from the entrance of the stadium, we started seeing people walking towards the stadium with their jerseys… that’s when it began to feel real. That’s when the thoughts, “Oh my god, I am going to SoFi Stadium?!”, “I am about to watch 7-time Superbowl champion Tom Brady?!”, started coming up in my mind. One of the most surreal moments of my life. I couldn’t wait to get in the stadium.  

Stella García at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. (Odin García)

First thing you see when you walk past the parking lot is the fountain with the SoFi Stadium written in HUGE font. Everywhere you looked, people were taking photos. It is exactly how they show it on TV. 

Once we went through security & showed our tickets, all I wanted to do was find our seats so we wouldn’t miss a single moment. I wanted to watch the cheerleaders, the players warm up, and especially watch the players come out of the tunnel through the smoke while all the fans go crazy. 

As soon as we walked through the entry doors, we could hear the music & the fans as they watched the players warm up. All I could think of was “I am dying to get to my seat. I don’t want to miss ANYTHING!!”. Turns out our seats were on the other side of the stadium, so I was freaking out on the inside that we wouldn’t make it to our seats in time. Not to mention, I haven’t seen this many people in the same place since before Covid-19. Though everyone had their masks on, it felt normal, like before Covid was ever a worry in our lives… which was very nice. 

SoFi Stadium

As soon as we got to a place where we could see the field through our own eyes, I felt the happiest I have been since the last NFL game I went to. The brightness and all the colors everywhere you looked were just so mind-blowing. Especially in the new stadium, it just looked too amazing, words can’t quite describe it. 

Strangers would offer to take our photos and then we would take their photos, though you could tell some people had been drinking for a while already, they were all very friendly & kind. You would see such a variety of jerseys, Rams, Buccaneers, and even other teams who weren’t even playing. As well as player’s jerseys who are in the Hall of Fame. What made me laugh the most was this guy’s jersey, it used to be a Jared Goff jersey (#16). But he had used paint & duct tape for it to say Stafford #9. My dad & I were laughing hysterically. To this day, it still makes us laugh. 

After what felt like the longest 15 minutes of my life, we finally found our seats. My dad offered to buy us some snacks, but I was so busy being fascinated with everything surrounding me that I didn’t even want to get food. If I decline a food offer, that’s when you know something is up, in this scenario it was a good thing. 

By the time we got to our seats, there was an hour countdown until the game started. I am at loss of words & unable to describe exactly what I was feeling & thinking, however the one feeling I remember was how surreal this was. 

Surreal doesn’t even do it justice, we were about to watch the GOAT Tom Brady with our own eyes. In SoFi Stadium. WOW! Not many people can say that. 

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws during the first half of the Sunday night game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played on Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. (AP/Kevork Djansezian)

The most eye-catching thing in the stadium is the breathtaking screen, it is just unbelievably huge, goes around the entire stadium. Best investment ever, if you ask me. 

Finally, the moment to introduce the players was here, as they started to introduce the defense and offense, I got immediate goosebumps. The energy in the stadium was just unbelievable. You could tell everyone around you was just as excited. 

One of our favorite moments of the entire game, which we will never ever forget, was when through the speakers a male voice would scream “WHOSE HOUSE????!!!!” and all of us fans would reply “RAMS HOUSE!!!!”, as well as when the giant screen would say “MAKE SOME NOISE!!!!”. 

Tom Brady being tackled by the L.A. Rams defense (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Something that I found very funny & entertaining was when they would show fans on the big screen, for example ‘Most dedicated fan of the game’ was very cool to watch. Another was when they would show which celebrities were in the house. Personally, I love all that celebrity stuff & lifestyle, so I really enjoyed watching which celebrities were there. LeBron James, Magic Johnson, YG, the cast of Ted Lasso, Anthony Kiedis, Dr. Dre, Sugar Ray Leonard were the celebrities that I remember seeing on the screen. 

When halftime came, my dad offered to go get us a snack since I was still refusing to get out of my seat. I was glued to my seat for the entire game, except for when it was time to either celebrate or cheer for the Rams team! 

I have always LOVED live performances, other than watching sports, they are an obsession of mine. As expected, I have been a dancer since I was 4 years old. I love the music, the choreography, the energy they portray, the facial expressions, the lighting, everything!! So, I really enjoyed watching the cheerleaders dance during the two-minute warnings, as well as during half time. 

The worst part of the game for me was when the two-minute warning during the fourth quarter was announced. I had been dreading that moment for days because I knew I would be so sad to leave. I was willing to spend the night there for a whole week just to watch next Sunday’s game. But sadly, we had to leave. 

Since the first time I heard the SoFi Stadium was being built I just couldn’t wait to visit it, everyone was in awe of how elegant & stunning it looked. In person it is immaculately beautiful. The day my dad told me we were going; I was speechless & couldn’t even believe it until we were in our seats. 

Stella García and her dad Odin García seated at SoFi Stadium during the Rams-Buccaneers game (Stella García/Gráfico Sports)

Remembering the game is very bittersweet. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and I will never forget it. I had such a great experience at SoFi Stadium that I cannot wait to go back! Feeling that post game nostalgia right about now. 

Most kids my age, especially females, don’t understand or enjoy football. That blows my mind! I can assure all of you, that if more kids and/or teenagers, as well as females, watched football or were given the chance to go to a game, more would love to play football. Many kids have the talent, they just either don’t appreciate it, don’t even know it or don’t love the sport. 

Yes, watching Sunday football with family and friends at your house is fun, but it is in no way even a near comparison with the energy you feel & the fun you will have when you watch them at the stadium. The energy is just beyond contagious. Before I ever was lucky enough to go to an NFL game, I didn’t realize how fun it is to watch the games in person. Or how much it matters who is playing at home or who is the visiting team. I thought that was just to be more organized, now I realize that it really does make the difference. Now, every time I am asked who I think will win a game, I need to know who is playing at home. The fans screaming & booing at the players from the visiting team is very distracting for them, kind of makes me feel bad for them… but they know it’s part of the game. 

Fans of the Los Angeles Rams cheer prior to a game at SoFi Stadium (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Not to mention, a very beautiful thing I realized and keep thinking about is how all the fans are like a family. Yes, some people go crazy & love to argue with others about what team is better or which player is the MVP, etc. At the end of the day, the fans are a huge family, we all share an unmatched love for football that only some feel and/or understand. 

A couple years ago, I realized/decided I want to be a sports broadcaster when I grow up, but now, after going to the game, I know for sure I want to work as a sports broadcaster or something revolving around the NFL. I hope to see all of you one day at a game, while I’m working!

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