Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
The Ultimate Path to My All-Time Favorites List? Stay 4 Years.
Watching all the video highlights and reading all the wonderful things you all are saying about PAA, JS and DC has made me wonder what it is about them that has me so sad to see them go and so proud that they are Bruins.
I've watched many great players in my time -- especially in the early years. Many hold that special place in my Bruin heart.
But, not all of my all time heroes have been the best players to wear the uniform. In fact, although you will find the guys from my years at UCLA - the 60's on the list, and people who were there when I left and after -- like Kareem and the Readhead, you will also find some people that many of you will not recognize.
I've been trying to figure out the common denominator for the guys on that list, and tonight I found it.
My all time heroes are players who stayed the full term at UCLA -- 4 years, no less.
And, I realized that to be on my all time Bruin Hero list you have to be a true scholar/athlete -- not someone here to use the university as a place to spend a year or two before jumping off to be a pro.
Don't get me wrong -- I have deep respect for KL, JF, AA, and RW, and fully understand why BD had to leave UCLA before the lizard completely ruined him -- but I see UCLA as a very special place -- a place for education not a minor league sports franchise.
To be on my list, you have to walk the entire path -- and JS, PAA and DC have.
They were true scholar/athletes, and passed up other opportunities to finish what they started. That shows character and commitment.
In order to stay, they attended school, took classes and passed them. School wasn't just a vehicle to play ball -- it was part of the bigger experience. PAA -- getting a Masters while playing BBall -- a true hero.
In this day of me first, DC's coming back to finish what he started, PAA's using BBall to get a better education, and JS's pure joy for the college game as evidenced by that incredible smile on his face (the one that should not be allowed to mask his competitive intensity) stand out and deserve to be rewarded.
Were things different, and were I able to, I'd fly to tomorrow's game just to say "good bye" to them. Instead, I'll send this post to let them know that for this Geezer Bruin, they've made it to the top of my Bruin mountain of fame. Guys, I am so proud of you. And, I will miss you.