This commentary was originally posted on St. Louis Public Radio reporter Maria Altman’s Facebook page on January 14, 2016. It was recorded for “St. Louis on the Air” on January 19, 2016. Listen to the radio commentary here:
Some thought on the Rams leaving for L.A.:
Around the time that St. Louis was wooing the Rams away from Los Angeles in the first place, I was finishing up my journalism degree at the University of Iowa. Being from a state with no professional team, I paid no attention to professional football. To be honest, I paid little attention to the Iowa Hawkeyes’ football team. Beyond going to class, I was more interested in hearing bands, house parties and boys.
Which brings me to Heath.
We met while working for minimum wage at the campus auditorium; putting out desserts and pouring coffee for peckish audiences during intermission. We made small talk, we flirted, and eventually I got the nerve to ask him out. Why I wanted to go out with a guy named Heath you’d have to ask my 21-year-old self, but at the time, I did, and he agreed.
And then he stood me up.
I was mad. I was a little humiliated. But that evening after he coolly backed out of our plans, I decided to get even.
I held a F*&# Heath Party.
It was fun. My friends came over, and I served them the food I had prepared for a romantic little picnic, which included shrimp salad (what was I thinking?) We drank wine and my friends toasted me and cursed Heath, and it was all very delicious.
So I’m a little surprised that no one has come up with a similar plan to send off the Rams, most especially their owner Stan Kroenke. It can be more artful than my collegiate party, but it most definitely should be a celebration. Perhaps a tailgating event to pay tribute to all the Sundays that went before. Maybe an ode to city taxpayers who won’t have to pay any portion of a $1 billion stadium. Or it could just be a joyful “we’re still standing” announcement that is welcome to all.
Because, St. Louis, you were not only stood up; the guy ignored your calls and openly went after a younger, hipper, trendier girl, I mean, city. Who needs him? He looks like the villain from a silent movie. During the press conference in Houston, I half expected him to curl his mustache, put on a top hat, sweep up his cape and disappear in a puff of smoke. But I digress.
St. Louis should embrace what it is, and maybe that’s not an NFL city. But it’s a town with heart, smart people, cool neighborhoods, and a whole lot of storied sports history. Ask anyone in soccer and they’ll tell you this city needs a professional team.
So, chin up, St. Louis. Nothing is less attractive than looking desperate. Desperate people do dumb things (like sign contracts with a tier one clause.) Let loose, have fun, and quit worrying about what everyone thinks.
I don’t know where Heath is today. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy with a very nice life.
But I know he missed a good party.
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