I always hated LA. I hated living here. I hated the label that came with it. I hated the traffic. I hated the people, the culture, Hollywood.
I’ve stopped saying that as much lately. It’s not that my mind has changed. LA itself has changed.
Right now, Los Angeles is the center of the world’s creativity. Movies and television have always been made here. Now, there’s digital to add to that, apps and businesses too. Silicon Valley isn’t the home of startups anymore. It’s LA. It’s Snapchat in Venice and YouTube in Playa Vista and Buzzfeed in Hollywood.
Over the last five years, downtown has become a real center for a city. You can walk around there now; there are places to visit and things to do. There are new museums, and there is some of the best food in the country.
The sprawled and fractured city I used to think of is crumbling too. The new LA River Project and bike paths will help connect from Griffith Park to Sherman Oaks.
The traffic is still bad, but for the first time in my life, public transportation is becoming a reality in Los Angeles. We’re getting a metro system.
I don’t mean to bore you with facts about Los Angeles’ gentrification and sound like a politician. I’ll get to sports in a second. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country, and it’s growing. It’s pulling the nation’s spotlight westward. So it’s only fitting that the Rams (and probably the Chargers) are coming back.
The Los Angeles that those teams left was different. The people were different. The geography was different. The economy was different. I had to go politician on you for you to understand that. The NFL failed in LA, and it’s going to succeed wildly in this new city.
Over the last year, as NFL relocation rumors heated up, it was just about all anyone could talk about at school.
“Hey, did you hear that the Rams are ready to build their stadium, like, tomorrow? The pipes are already laid!”
“The Raiders and Chargers just brought in Disney!”
“Please don’t let it be the Raiders. Anybody but the Raiders…”
You can’t tell me that the stadium won’t be filled. You can’t tell me the team won’t have support. Even before it had a name and a venue all to its own, it had support.
Los Angeles has its eyes set to the stars in the 21st century. Everything was surging forward except for its sports prior to the NFL’s announcement tonight. It’s been 23 years since the last Super Bowl was held in LA, 36 years since the last Olympics, and 43 since the last Final Four. This stadium will change that. There will be Super Bowls every three years, and the same goes for Final Fours. Los Angeles’ 2024 Olympic bid looks even better now, and it already was the best-suited city in America to host an Olympics before the NFL’s announcement. When the Inglewood stadium opens in 2019, you can add ‘center of sports world’ to the city’s growing resume.
It’s exciting to be in Los Angeles right now, simple as that. This city is all optimism. There’s energy here now. With the Rams move, it’s a city that is, you might say, taking things by the horns. And for the first time ever, I can actually say I’m happy to be here. Who wouldn’t be?
Postscript: It is January 11, and it was 68° this afternoon.