There is a constant whir of machines and a beeping heart monitor. As I sit in this place that smells of disinfectant and latex gloves, I think of what brought me here: Ramily. Ramily brought me to this ICU room in San Antonio, Texas over 1,300 miles from home in Santa Clarita, California.
I met Patricia Flores at a Los Angeles Dodgers game on June 7, 2015. Many local Rams fans had agreed to meet up to enjoy a game together wearing old school Los Angeles Rams gear. I had heard of her and had seen her around local Rams fans gatherings like Ramfest & Bring Back the Los Angeles Rams rallies for a couple years, but I had never actually met her. She was exuberant in her electric blue wig and Rams jersey. She possessed a funny, sweet and overall great personality. We became fast friends and have been inseparable ever since.
Patricia is as big a part of my family as the friends that I’ve had since childhood – in some cases even closer. There is no friend I spend more time with at every Rams-related event throughout the year. I’m talking about fan club events, watch parties, training camp, tailgates and games, home and away. However, our friendship became more than that over time.
Soon we shared birthdays, graduations, family gatherings, charity walks and every event in my life. Patricia knows more about me than my own mom. I shudder to think that without our passion for the Rams bringing us together, I wouldn’t have this selfless, beautiful friend in my life.
I thank my beloved Rams for bringing her and so many new friends into my life, including every tailgating member of Rams Empire.
Many of these people will be my life-long friends. When we committed to buying seats in the new L.A. Stadium, we did so together. That’s right. Our group of 28 people committed to enjoying and supporting our Rams together in one section for many years to come. To me that is the definition of Ramily.
The Rams’ return changed everything
Before the Rams’ return to L.A., Ramily was the fellow lone Rams fan sitting in a sea of various jerseys at a bar watching the game on satellite TV. It was the Rams fan you bumped into at the supermarket, all the fellow fan club members at every event and rally BBTLAR held. The Rams’ relocation home to L.A. changed all of that.
Since their return, Ramily has become every single one of my fellow Rams Empire members, all the other fan club members I recognize and see across the tailgates on game day, from the fellow fan at a home game that screams “Whose House?” to every single fan that replies “Rams House”. It’s the quirky Rams Twitter family I have across the country that may squabble amongst each other during offseason. Yet that same Twitter family will not hesitate to crush an opposing team’s fan for the slightest troll. Like a family, squabbling amongst each other is one thing; having another team fan do it is quite another.
It’s about more than the Rams
There are many people I know for no other reason than for love of this team. People I would never have met but my life would be a different one without them. We too now gather for special events, births, deaths and everything in between. We all still have the lives we lived and family we had before the Rams’ return to L.A., but now we also have Ramily. In many cases, it’s just as special – just as meaningful.
With that in mind, I write this from an ICU room. My good friend Patricia needed surgery to remove a brain tumor that was discovered on accident. She hit her head in the lab where she worked and needed to be taken to the E.R. to be checked for a concussion. It was during the CT scan that doctors discovered the brain tumor.
Facing an uncertain outcome as a result of the surgery, she resigned her position, sold all her belongings, and exited the lease on her apartment. She then moved back to Texas to be closer to family that could help her through this difficult time. I came here to spend time with her and calm her before surgery. I sat wringing my hands with her daughter Jessica during surgery. It meant everything to be there when she opened her eyes. After four hours, doctors informed us the surgery was a success.
The benign tumor was removed with an excellent prognosis for full recovery. We were beyond relieved!
Patricia’s plan is to stay in Texas, complete her recovery and eventually make her way back to Los Angeles, where her true heart is. Where her beloved Rams are and where the rest of her Ramily is! We have long joked about getting old and gray, and racing electric carts in the grocery store parking lot. We hope to watch our grandkids grow up, and sit side-by-side with them at Rams games, raising them right as Rams fans. I am so thankful I will have that opportunity. I will have my friend, my Ramily, for many more years and games to come. As I said before surgery, Patricia, we ain’t done yet!