‘If’ … I could go to the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium

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Chariti Li

While Accolade business manager Daniel Kong doesn’t have tickets to watch the Super Bowl live on Sunday, Feb. 13, he plans to watch it with friends and family at his place. With the Omicron positive cases plummeting, it’s safer now for crowds to gather at the Super Bowl and should not be a super spreader event as some had feared a month ago.

Daniel Kong

If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;   

If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim; 

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   

And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” got me thinking about what would happen if someone were to offer me not just one, but two tickets to the upcoming Sunday, Feb. 13, Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in which my favorite team, the Los Angeles Rams, takes on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ticket prices for this once-in-a-lifetime event – the second time in NFL history in which one of the final two teams is also the host city of the big game – started off at a whopping $5,000 and according to CBS Sports have gone as high as $100,000 for VIP suites.

Unfortunately, those prices are better spent on my upcoming cost of college tuition.

If only I were lucky enough to be among the 19 kids from the Watts Rams Youth Football Program to have been offered free tickets to the event last month.

If only I had the connections like that of Los Angeles Times sports writer Sam Farmer, who recently wrote a column about successfully sneaking into the Rose Bowl at age 16 to watch his favorite NFL team, the Washington Redskins, play in the Super Bowl against the Miami Dolphins. (Although at the end of his column, Farmer advises against copying his exploits because of the increase in security in the modern, post-9/11 era as opposed to January 1983.)

And if only the COVID-19 pandemic would end sooner, then my comfort level of sitting in the stands at an outdoor stadium with nearly 70,000 others would ease.

When the Omicron variant first hit last month, and I saw so many of my classmates absent each day at the beginning of the spring semester, I began to question whether the NFL should hold the Super Bowl in Los Angeles. Fearful of catching COVID-19 from another student, I stayed home three of the first five days of that first week of January. 

Looking back, in Orange County, Omicron cases reached a month-high of 25,439 on Jan. 10; in Los Angeles County, that number hit 43,521 the same day – the second highest total that month, according to the New York Times.

So I began to wonder:

Why not change the venue to a city where COVID-19 positive rates were much lower? According to an Accolade online poll of 136 responses, only 36% agreed with this idea. 

Or why not even do what the NBA did in 2020 and play the game without any fans in the audience?

While the COVID-19 pandemic has not ended, recent statistics show that the situation is clearly getting better.

As of Feb. 10, average cases in Los Angeles County have dropped to 7,399, according to the New York Times, the lowest that numbers have been since the rise of Omicron.

I also would feel much safer now if I were allowed to go to SoFi stadium. To ease the anxiety of those worried about this being a super spreader event, the NFL announced Jan. 7 on its website that “fans will be required to comply with all LA County COVID-19 health and safety protocols.” Those in attendance would also have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19.

Additionally, Los Angeles County of Public Health director Barbara Ferrer announced Jan. 26 that “all attendees at Super Bowl LVI will be given KN95 masks,” according to CNN.

Reading and hearing about these health and safety measures have helped me feel that the Super Bowl won’t risk more COVID-19 cases than an everyday sports event like at my own high school.

As to who I would take with me to the Super Bowl, I would enjoy the game with my dad. Since he introduced me to the game of football and the Los Angeles Rams, we would definitely make unforgettable experiences celebrating each L.A. touchdown.

Since I don’t have free tickets to this year’s Super Bowl, I plan to watch the game at home with my friends and family.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be watching the game with masks on and checking  that everyone is vaccinated to ensure everyone’s safety.

I’ve never heard of Kipling’s “If” poem before until my journalism adviser introduced it to me. My scope of classic poems is limited to the John Donne ones that my Advanced Placement English Literature teacher taught me last semester. Nevertheless, I now know the power of “If.”

Next year, the Super Bowl will be held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. If COVID-19 cases have decreased even more by then, my dream is to come up with the funds to board a flight to Arizona on Feb. 11 with my dad so that we can catch the game the next day.

I’m sure my father would agree with Kipling’s final line, “… you’ll be a Man, my son!”