Took a trip to UC Irvine to attend the Rams camp today, and will never go to a Rams camp again. Practice for the Rams starts at 12:30 local time and runs until 3:00 during what is the hottest part of the day in California, vs. Cowboys practices starting at 10 or 11 in the cooler Oxnard climate. That's just the start of it though.
Both times I've been to camp in Oxnard so far, I've been able to find free street parking about a 10 minute walk from the gates. UC Irvine you are not going to find any such thing, and pay $18 for a 15 to 20 minute walk from the gates. Once I got to the gates there was a huge line line. Rams fans were making comments how it felt like standing in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland. Total time standing in line was 45 minutes. When I went to the Cowboys camps on July 30th, and August 3rd I was easily in the camp within 10 minutes. To be fair, I have the United membership, so experience might be different for non-members.
I get through the ticket check in finally, and get to the metal detectors. I have an old zippo lighter that is my lucky lighter I put on the tray before going through the metal detector. Security looks at it, and tells me I have to throw it away if I want to go inside. I am dumbfounded. No way in hell I am throwing my zippo I've had for years. If it was a bic, I wouldn't have cared, but not my zippo. Cowboys camp they didn't have a problem with it. Rams camp. Rams rules. They tell me to go take it back to my car, but give me a stamp so I don't have to wait in line again.
I finally walk into Ram world, and it is grossly over crowded. Last Saturday I thought there were a lot of people at Cowboys camp for the festivities. Rams camp was easily 2 to 3 times the size of that crowd. They just kept packing them in like sardines. By the way, once you are in past the games, you have about another 10 minute walk with the crowd to get to the field. I got to see Stafford do a few plays through much obstructed views before they pulled him. It was about 40 minutes before I found a spot where I had a great unobstructed view. People were already leaving, because it looked like they already had enough with the over crowding. I stayed in that spot about 40 minutes before I had enough. It was hot, not much fun, and this isn't my team anyhow.
So we have 2 to 3 times the crowd of the Cowboys camp of last Saturday, long walk, long line to get in, can it get any worse? Yes. There are also fewer restroom facilities for more than twice the amount of people. No lines for Cowboys port-o-potties. Very long lines if you have to use the restrooms at Rams camp, and not much for washing stations. I thought lines for concessions and the shop at Cowboys camp were silly. The Rams say "hold my beer" when it comes to that.
I actually feel bad for Rams fans after seeing their training camp experience vs. what Jerry gives us. Say what you want about Jones, he does an A-1 job with his training camp. I'm supposed to go to Chargers training camp on Wednesday, but now think I will just attend Cowboys final practice day in Oxnard on Tuesday. I live in central L.A., and Chargers camp starts at 9:00 AM. I don't feel like waking up with the birds to fight through L.A. and Orange County rush hour traffic on a trip to Costa Mesa. I'll do it next season, and do it right by staying somewhere in Costa Mesa the night before.
If I see Jerry on Tuesday I'm going to thank him for choosing Oxnard, and running things the way they do at camp. Just no more mock practices please.