Bumped. - BN Eds.
I used to look forward to the annual cross-town rivalry game with nervous excitement. This game has always had a special energy, and in years past, I always used to say that no matter what happened during the Bruin football season as a whole, all bets were off when it came to the $C game. Often it seemed that the emotional intensity would carry the day, regardless of how well we did during the rest of the season. Now I approach it with trepidation and angst, because despite coming off a blowout victory over Colorado, our overall performance this year does not bode well for next weekend.
As a reality check, I have a drawer full of UCLA t-shirts and sweatshirts, purchased over the years since the time I was a student. Periodically I have to go to my t-shirt drawer to realize that we actually used to have at least a chance of winning our rivalry game with $UC. My favorite t-shirt proudly proclaims "The Domination Continues – UCLA – Six for Six", spanning the years between 1991 and 1996. Actually, that streak continued for another two years, making it 8 in a row. Since that streak ended, we have only won a single game, in 2006 (celebrated by a t-shirt that announces "13 Reasons to Celebrate the Season"), the end of the CTS era. Our descent to the current state of affairs has been well documented by BN, especially in recent months.
Over the years, I’ve never, ever, missed the UCLA-$UC game. At the very least, I’d watch it on TV, but I’ve attended many games in person, both at the Coliseum (even when we played there!) and at the RB. In the old days, it was somewhat iffy – as I recall, we lost more than we won, but the fans and players were always fired up and gave it their best effort. I’ve sat through many games where I was surrounded by Trojies (can’t turn down free tickets!), sometimes humiliating, other times not, but always exciting.
This has been the most disappointing season in recent memory, and I wish I could summon the sense of excitement I used to feel as we prepare to meet our cross-town rival. The sad part is that there is an entire generation of students (and student athletes, for that matter) who has no idea of what it’s like to experience the joy of victory over $C. When I was a student, it was such a huge deal. I often joke that the only prejudice I taught my kids was hatred of $UC and all things Trogan. I get so sick of the arrogance and swagger of the $UC faithful and wannabes (the ones who never set foot on a college campus in their lives), and this year it is even worse, as I am now surrounded by Trogan alums at work. For me, this game epitomizes everything that it means to be a UCLA fan, and "bragging rights" isn’t just an idle phrase – it’s part of my identity as a Bruin.
I will leave it to others to analyze the technical aspects of the upcoming game, but based on what I’ve seen of Trogan football this year, I am not optimistic about our chances. It will probably take a new AD and a new coach for us to beat our cross-town rivals, but hopefully, someday soon, we can field a football team that can rise to the occasion and restore pride to Westwood. We are all rooting for our team to succeed.
GO BRUINS – BEAT SC