This post doesn't have anything specifically to do with UCLA athletics. However, for yours truly it has everything to do with being a UCLA Bruin.
I am not sure how many here in Bruin Nation were paying attention: Senator Claiborne Pell passed away this week. How does that impact anyone here on BN? Well allow me to share the following two stories.
First, going back to September of 1991. I was lining up everything to get ready for my very first quarter at UCLA. I remember going down to the first floor of the Murphy Hall and picking up my financial aid packages of grants/scholarships/loans and work study that funded my education at UCLA and noticing "Pell" next to the huge grants. It was named after Senator Pell and as a freshman I remember saying to myself if I ever had a chance to thank the man himself for enabling me to attend UCLA I would.
Fast forward few years later it was the Fall quarter of 1995. I was starting my last year at UCLA with an internship in Washington DC. It was an internship on the Hill and somehow Senator Pell's name came up in discussions among my colleagues and my immediate intern supervisor. I made a bet that if I ever ran into Senator Pell ... no matter where ... I would go up to him no matter what he was doing and thank him personally for enabling me to attend UCLA. Few weeks later we were finding down our internship with a goodbye lunch for all Fall Interns in the Senate dining room. There we spotted Senator Pell and immediately everyone turned to me to see if I were going to honor the bet.
Senator Pell was having lunch with another Senator. I went up to the table and said, "Excuse me Senators. I am terribly sorry for interrupting your lunch but I just wanted to say to Senator Pell THANK YOU SO MUCH for enabling me to attend UCLA as I am getting ready to graduate this March (Winter Quarter '96). Thank you Senator Pell." Senator Pell gave an embarrassed smile but the other Senator started giving a mini ovation. In case you were wondering, the other Senator happened to be Senator Paul Wellstone.
Anyway, I just wanted to take this space to offer my prayers and thought to the Pell family and thank Senator Pell. I wouldn't be where I am today without his vision and services to the country.
I wouldn't be a Bruin without Senator Pell.
Thank you again Senator Pell. R.I.P.
PS: I collected 2 free pints of Gunniness for winning that bet!