Bumped. A great topic, which has been discussed previously in this community here, here, and here. For those who have not had the opportunity to share why you bleed blue and gold, this is a great opportunity to get your story in. - BN.
Photo Credit: BigWillieStyles (flickr)
This started as a comment in JeremyD's post and quickly trailed off into tangential territory that I felt could make for a revealing discussion. Specifically, based on the responses of my fellow Bruin sports fanatics, I'd like to determine if it's possible to make die-hard Bruin fans out of apathetic students without the aid of on-field success. If you don't feel like reading through my story, feel free to skip to the questions in bold at the bottom : )
I, for one, was bred to be a sports fanatic. Growing up, my dad was passionate about football, my mom was a cheerleading coach at our local high school and my older sister was one of her cheerleaders. From the time I was five, we had season tickets to Fresno State football. Back then, Bulldog stadium had grassy hills where their endzone seats are now, so every weekend my family would lay down a blanket at the top of the berm and enjoy a picnic and a ball game. Dinuba High football on Friday and Fresno State football on Saturday were as much a part of my childhood as grandma's house on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Eventually, I hit high school and found that my life continued to revolve in large part around sports. I played basketball and ran track, my clique was a jock clique and I continued to attend all our football games (of course, my attendance at that point had more to do with the fact that there were girls at those games than anything that was happening on the field).
Needless to say, as a UCLA freshmen in '96, Bruin sports had me at hello. The Bruins filled the void left by the suddenly-distant Dinuba Emperors and Fresno State Bulldogs. The fog-filled stadiums and red waves of my youth were replaced by a picturesque Rose Bowl and 8-claps. During my four years on campus, there was no competition for my attention on game days. I camped out for season tickets. I camped out for priority passes. I stood and yelled and jumped 'till I was hoarse and lightheaded. I would have hitch-hiked to the Rose Bowl if I couldn't find a ride. I was devout.
I said all that to ask the following: would I have become the Bruin sports fanatic I am today if not for those fond childhood memories? Would I have latched on to UCLA sports with a fervor if my dad and I hadn't bonded over sports trivia and games of catch? More to the point, would I get so upset when I see a half-empty student section at the Rose Bowl or Pauley if I hadn't been baptised in sports fanaticism at a young age, or would I understand?
Now, in my particular case, I can actually state with certainty that I would have become a Bruin sports nut regardless. In fact, I can pinpoint the specific moment when that transformation would have occurred:
The Moment (via wackyd)
Herein lies the rub. That was the final play of the final football game of my freshman year and it marked the end of one of the greatest games in college football history, the continuation of our dominance over our rivals and the first time I found myself hugging complete strangers. Over the following two-and-a-half years, we not only dominated those Scumbags, we dominated everybody. I watched as my football team won 20 straight games and skyrocketed to #1 in the nation. Meanwhile, my basketball team won an outright Pac 10 title and went to the Sweet 16 and the Elite 8. Perhaps more importantly from the moment of that interception until December 6, 1998, my Bruin football team went 10-1 at the Rose Bowl and their b-ball counterparts went 31-5 at Pauley Pavilion. I walked into games expecting victory and walked out smiling. It was just plain fun to be a UCLA sports fan back then.
With apologies to the non-revenue sports teams that are still kicking a** - is it fun to be a UCLA sports fan right now? Imagine being part of that Fall '08 Freshman class. UCLA students are overacheivers by definition, being associated with all that failure has got to be taxing.
So the question then, for all three of you who read this far is, why are you a UCLA sports fanatic? Since my love of sports was practically forged in the womb, I sometimes have a hard time looking at things from the angle of the casual observer. Was anyone here ever a casual sports fan? If so, what did it take to get you to this point?