Watching the Super Bowl on Sunday put me in mind of Super Bowl XVII at the Rose Bowl in 1983 — that’s because I was there and it was my first trip to Los Angeles.
A friend won the right to buy four tickets (face value $40 each, compared to this year’s starting price of $800) to the big game. Not only were we going to see a Super Bowl in person, there was a very good chance we were also going to see our favorite teams. The Cowboys (my team) and the Jets (their team) were playing in their respective conference finals. However, they both lost, and we were stuck with our hated rivals, the Redskins and the Dolphins. We were also stuck with an extra ticket because one Jets fan dropped out when his team lost.
So off we went. We were not old enough to rent a car, so one of us had the bright idea to fly into San Francisco where we knew someone who could do it for us. That was Friday. Saturday we drove all day (and I was shocked to see snow up in the mountains), and Sunday was the game.
We parked somewhere on a grassy field at the Rose Bowl. I say “somewhere” because none of us bothered to look at where we parked and after the game it took as an hour to find our generic white rental car. I learned from that — every time I go to the Rose Bowl Flea Market I park in the same area, and always make sure I know exactly where I am!
We tried to scalp the extra ticket but we were too timid. Always the sports memorabilia collector, I paid my friend $20 for it. I kept it for more than 20 years before selling it on eBay for $160.
The next day was our only day to sight-see. We went to Universal Studios; the Jaws exhibit was apparently the thing to see back then.
Then we took a ride into Hollywood. We walked along Hollywood Blvd., which I remember as being really run down and sketchy. At one point there was a gang of less-than upstanding young men coming towards us. I sensed something bad was going to happen so I encouraged my friends to cross over to the other side of the street. The gang did not follow. To this day I know they were about to attack us.
Sadly, I did not take any pictures of Hollywood. I wish I had — I would have liked to compare the differences to today.
Tuesday morning we learned about Los Angeles freeway traffic because we got stuck in it and missed our flight home.
If you would have told the 19-year-old me that one day I be living in this glorious city, I would have told you that you were crazy. But here we are.
Oh, the Redskins won 27-17. I didn’t care then, I don’t care now.