How lucky was I. Growing up in Anaheim, California meant having Huntington Beach as my swimming pool and Disneyland as my backyard.
But, it even gets better.
The Dodgers, Lakers, Rams, Angels, USC and UCLA (football, baseball and basketball)happen to be my teams.
They didn't play in stadiums.
They played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The fabulous Forum. Dodger Stadium, Rose Bowl and Pauley Pavilion.
Not a bad set of owners. Carroll Rosenbloom, Walter and Peter O'malley , Jerry Buss,Gene Autrey and Jack Kent Cooke.
Two of the greatest GM's of all-time. Jerry West and Don Klosterman.
I fell asleep with Vin Sculley and Jerry Doggett. Chick Hearn simulcast of the Lakers and on Sunday Dick Enberg for the Rams.
Records that will last forever. UCLA winning 7 straight Basketball championships. The Rams holding the Seahawks to -7 yards for the entire game. The Rams winning 7 straight divisions starting 7 different QB's. USC winning 5 straight baseball championships.
You have to have your soul ripped from your body when they lost to truly cherish the wins. USC losing to Texas. UCLA losing to Florida. The Lakers losing to the Celtics in the 84 Finals. The Dodgers losing to the Yankees in 78. The Rams losing to the Vikes.
The Angels 1 strike away from their first World Series in 1986.
So USC demolition of Oklahoma, Edney's full court layup for UCLA against Missouri, The Lakers beating the Celtics on their floor for the first time in 1985, the Rams beating the Cowboys in in 1979 and the Angels beating the giants in the 2002 world series is so much sweeter.
Southern California sports were second to none.
1974: Anthony Davis's second half kickoff return for a touchdown sparks a 49-0 second half explosion as USC routs Notre Dame, 55-24 at the Coliseum.
1975: UCLA basketball legend John Wooden caps his coaching career with a 92-85 NCAA title win over Kentucky for the Bruins' 10th championship in 12 seasons.
1967: O.J. Simpson's 64-yard touchdown run helps USC edge top-ranked UCLA, 21-20, propelling the Trojans to No. 1 on the way to the national championship.
1980: Lakers All-Star rookie guard Earvin "Magic" Johnson subs for injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at center and scores 42 points to lead L.A. to 4-2 NBA finals win over the Philadelphia 76ers.
1965: Dodger Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax pitches his fourth no-hitter - this time a perfect game - in beating the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.
1932: The Games of the Xth Olympiad are held in Los Angeles, hosting 37 nations and the first Olympic Village, plus unforgettable performances from athletes including gold-medal winning swimmer Clarence "Buster" Crabbe and track star Babe Didriksen.
1958: Duke Snider's two hits help the Dodgers to a 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants in the opener of the 1958 season, the Dodgers' first in Los Angeles before a major-league record crowd of 78,672 in the Coliseum.
1985: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scores 29 points, James Worthy, 28 and Magic Johnson piles up a triple-double to lead the Lakers to a 111-100 win to wrap up their third NBA title of the 1980s, this time over the Boston Celtics, at the Boston Garden!
1993: Wayne Gretzky scores three goals and assists on a fourth to lead the Kings to the Western Conference title with a heart-pounding 5-4 win at Toronto over the Maple Leafs to propel the Kings to their first Stanley Cup final.
1988: The Lakers make good on Coach Pat Riley's prediction of back-to-back NBA championships with a frantic 108-105 win over Detroit in the seventh game of the NBA finals.
1959: Little-known reliever Larry Sherry wins two games and saves two others as the Dodgers win their first World Series title in Los Angeles, 4-2, over the Chicago White Sox.
1972: Lakers complete a brilliant season, which included a record 33-game winning streak, with a 4-1 triumph in the NBA Finals over the New York Knicks for their first NBA title in Los Angeles.
1963: Ace Sandy Koufax wins two games to lead the Dodgers to a stunning four-game sweep of the New York Yankees in the World Series.
1988: Dodger Orel Hershiser breaks the major-league record of former Dodger Don Drysdale for consecutive scoreless innings with 59 by pitching 10 shutout innings against the San Diego Padres before giving way to relievers in a 2-1 Dodger loss.
1972: The Lakers go undefeated for more than two months, winning 33 games in a row behind Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and coach Bill Sharman, finally setting a league record with 69 wins in 82 regular-season games.
1981: Fernando-mania reaches a new high as lefty Fernando Valenzula wins the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards and the Dodgers reach the World Series, hammering the Yankees in six games to win their first World Series title in 15 years.
1951: The Los Angeles Rams, behind quarterbacks Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin, edge the Cleveland Browns, 24-17, to win L.A.'s first major professional sports title.
1973: Unstoppable UCLA rolled to a record 61st straight basketball victory (on the way 88 straight) behind All-Americans Bill Walton and Keith Wilkes with a 82-63 win at Notre Dame.
1980: A lightly-considered L.A. Rams squad led the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-17 after three quarters in its first-ever Super Bowl, but succumbed to Terry Bradshaw and Co., 31-19, in Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl.
1988: The Impossible Dream comes true for Kings fans as "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky, is traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles.
1966: Heavy underdog UCLA outlasts Michigan State in the Rose Bowl, 14-12, as 175-pound Bruin defensive back Bob Stiles stops 212-pound MSU fullback Bob Apisa on the goal line on a last-minute two-point conversion try.
1968: Dodger great Don Drysdale pitches six consecutive shutouts and sets a major league record of 58 2/3 scoreless innings from May 14 to June 8.
1975: Flame-throwing right-hander Nolan Ryan pitches his fourth career no-hitter - tying him with Sandy Koufax for the most by one pitcher - blanking the Baltimore Orioles at Anaheim Stadium.
1959: Dodger fans salute Hall of Fame catcher Roy Campanella with an emotional match-light tribute before 93,103 at the Coliseum during a rare in-season exhibition game with the New York Yankees.
1989: Kings great Wayne Gretzky becomes the greatest point scorer in NHL history, passing Gordie Howe of Detroit with three points in an overtime win against his former Edmonton team.
1954: Undefeated UCLA mauls USC, 34-0, to confirm its No. 1 ranking on the way to a 9-0 season and the 1954 national championship.
1972: Trojan sophomore Anthony Davis scores six touchdowns against a stunned Notre Dame team as USC overpowered the Irish, 45-23, on the way to the 1972 national championship.
1962: Shortstop Maury Wills powers the "Go-Go" Dodgers with a major-league record 104 stolen bases, breaking the mark of the legendary Ty Cobb.
1963: USC clinches the first national championship of the John McKay era by outlasting Wisconsin's 30-point final quarter barrage, 42-37, in the Rose Bowl.
1965: Bruin sophomore Gary Beban heaves fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Dick Witcher and Kurt Altenberg to stun USC and Heisman Trophy winner Mike Garrett, 20-16.
1939: Undefeated and unscored-on Duke has its season implode as USC reserve quarterback Doyle Nave and end Al Kreuger team up for a last-minute touchdown and a 7-0 USC win in the Rose Bowl.
1986: Bobby Grich singles home reserve catcher Jerry Narron to lead the Angels back from a three-run deficit to a 4-3 win in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
1973: UCLA All-American center Bill Walton connects on 21 of 22 shots from the field as his 44 points lead the Bruins to their seventh straight NCAA title, 87-66, over Memphis State.
1947: UCLA alumnus and All-American Jackie Robinson breaks baseball's color barrier as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field during a 5-3 season-opening win over the Boston Braves.
1975: Quarterback Pat Haden found end Shelton Diggs for a two-point conversion with two minutes to play to win the third straight Rose Bowl match-up with Ohio State, 18-17.
1978: Rookie right-hander Bob Welch strikes out Yankee Hall of Famer slugger Reggie Jackson on 11 straight fastballs to preserve a 4-3 Dodger win in Game 2 of the World Series.
1970: Lakers guard Jerry West, "Mr. Clutch," sends Game 3 of the NBA Finals into overtime with an impossible 63-foot shot from the backcourt at the buzzer.
1968: A healthy Lew Alcindor dominates Houston and Elvin Hayes as UCLA crushes Houston, 101-69 in the NCAA semis, revenging its earlier loss and paving the way for the Bruins' second straight national title, at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena.
1982: The "Miracle on Manchester" as the Kings overcome a 5-0 deficit to defeat defending Stanley Cup champion Edmonton, 6-5, in overtime, in Game 3 of a first-round series.
1964: USC quarterback Craig Fertig and end Rod Sherman team for a last-minute touchdown to stun previously-unbeaten and top-ranked Notre Dame, 20-17, at the Coliseum.
1973: USC fullback Sam "Bam" Cunningham scores four touchdowns as the Trojans clinch the national title with a convincing 42-17 win over Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
1964: A stunning full-court press and guards Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich lead John Wooden's UCLA Bruins to a 30-0 record and their first NCAA basketball title, a 98-83 rout of Duke in the championship game.
1967: Coach George Allen's never-say-die Rams block a fourth-quarter punt by Donny Anderson to overcome NFL champion Green Bay, 27-24, and then stomp Baltimore, 34-10, to win the Coastal Division title with an 11-1-2 record.
1979: Designated hitter Don Baylor wins the American League's Most Valuable Player award as the Angels win their first-ever Western Division championship.
1984: Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sets the all-time individual scoring record, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain with a 14-foot sky hook from the right baseline against the Utah Jazz.
1931: 300,000 Angelenos welcome home USC's national championship football team, fresh from a st
1984: Ram running back Eric Dickerson breaks O.J. Simpson's single-season NFL rushing record with 2,105 yards.
1973: USC rallies from a seven-run deficit against Minnesota in the ninth inning in the College World Series on their way to the ninth NCAA title of the 11 won under coach Rod Dedeaux.
1960: Lakers star Elgin Baylor sets an NBA record for most points scored in one game with 71 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
1976: Kings center Butch Goring scores in overtime to beat Boston, completing a comeback from a 3-1 deficit and sending this Stanley Cup second-round series to a seventh game.
1985: Angels star Rod Carew collects his 3,000th career hit with a single against the Minnesota Twins - his original team - in the third inning of a 6-5 Angels win.
1957: L.A. Angels star first baseman Steve Bilko belts a team-record 56 home runs as the Pacific Coast League era ends in Los Angeles.
You live and die with your sport teams.
My blood bleeds a combination of Dodger Blue, Laker purple and gold, Ram white and blue.
As much as I love my Rams, Lakers, Dodgers, USC and Smokin Joe Frazier.
I hated the Niners, Celtics, Giants, Norte Dame (Ali I didn't hate but didn't love either).
What is odd is you need those teams you hate.
We take our sport memories and enshrine them, creating personal halls of fame in our minds.
And when you see a video or image of your team, it keeps our history immediate, as if nothing were ever really lost.
Or gets old.
It is coming on 20 years since Gibson's HR and seems like a week ago friday.
27 years since I sat next to my late Father in the Rose Bowl for Super Bowl 14 and it seems it was just 2 days ago.
Pat Summerall's voice of introducing the Rams defense that day is embedded in my mind forever.
I see my Mom with her pall mall cigarette and coffee cup looking at the radio waiting for Vin Scully next word the night he threw his Perfect game.
Images can take you back in time that 30 years seems like days ago.
I hear my Father say "turn around" as we were outside the Forum and Wilt Chamberlain walked right by this 12 year old.
Sometimes, images can take you back to bittersweet memories.
Merlin Olsen kneeling as he knows he just lost the last chance to get to the Super Bowl in the 1976 NFC Championship game.
Or the Lakers losing game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals.
From the World Series, Ram playoffs, NBA Finals.
Where were you when the Lakers won their championships, when Sandy Koufax threw his perfect game against the Cubs, when Magic Johnson hit that mini sky hook, when Vinnie hit Waddy. When the fight of the century happened.
Images and memories.
RAM PICTURES TELL A STORY