It was a long and exhausting week leading up to Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and a sea of Bengals fans made themselves at home in the new sports and entertainment Capitol of the world.
After navigating on the 105 and 110 to the Convention Center in downtown Los Angeles all week to get my credential for the game and I studied the maze and wrestled with how I was actually travel to the stadium.
When I rose Sunday morning, had my wife on standby for what would be my journey to the Super Bowl.
After showering at 9a.m., I decided to have breakfast at home, a good one, Evergood hot links, eggs and rice with a tall glass of orange juice as the clock began ticking towards 11a.m. I said lets go.
We or at least I figured that Prairie was the ticket and we would go as far as Century and I would jump out and walk the rest of the way.
It didn’t work. I encouraged her had to make a snap turn east on 104th to Doty and it was a snail crawl for just the half block as long if not longer than it took to ride up Prairie.
Mercifully, I decided to jump out at Doty and foot patrol north bound to SoFi.
Along the way catching glimpse of families offering their driveway for parking for $300, selling Rams and Bengals wrestling masks and anything they could think of literally.
I encountered the rush of fans heading into the stadium, wearing their gear supporting their team and getting bum rushed by unofficial vendors hawking plastic chains, wide rimmed cotton hats and yes beer and water too.
My goal was to make it to gate M in one piece, with my Coach backpack stuffed with my Apple computer, note tablets, writing pens all of the instruments of a seasoned reporter of 45 years.
It’s a good thing I was smart enough to wear a T-shirt, cotton pants and tennis shoes in the sweltering 85 plus degree heat or I would have likely tapped out.
Being the smart guy that I am, I went totally in the wrong the direction, east towards the front entrance of the stadium and had to beg for cart ride towards my destination.
The kind lady could only take me about 50 yards, so I got off there and pleaded with another usher for alphabet M.
Oh, it’s right up there she offered, to which I obliged walking for another 20 minutes to only discover that I was headed to section M, gate M was another 30 minute walk west, then north east.
Whew, if this wasn’t the Super Bowl, the ticket that everybody wants, the game that over 100 million people watched, the one with Snoop, Dr. Dre, Mary and Kendrick and all of those acts that reminds me how old I am. I didn’t need 50 to be the cherry on the ice cream.
Finally, I am at gate M. Where the hell have you been?
Ah Hah, I see reporters wearing their credentials this looks like a good group to follow and that I did, entering into the westside of SoFi through glass door and into the elevator.
The elevator took us to the 7th floor where I could see the press box the one that sit in for Chargers and Rams games throughout the season, but this wasn’t just any game so I was assigned a seat in the auxiliary press section 525.
At first I was a bit peeved, but at least I was in the stadium. I could hear the roar of the crown and there’s not a bad seat in the house here. After walking around the stadium for another 38 minutes so, I finally found it.
Eighteen rows high!
Thank God the Rams pulled it off, 23-20 or else I don’t know how I could have mustered the energy to walk out of the stadium to Prairie and then south to 118th before I was clear of the congestion and get my ride home.