Welcome New Bruins, Part II

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The second part of our BN Welcome to our newest Bruins. Welcome to UCLA.

Thank you everyone for all the memories you shared in the first part of our BN welcome to our new Bruins. I loved reading everyone's stories. We all had unique yet similar experiences, across the generations, yet our love for UCLA is universal.

Here's the second set of questions and answers about our UCLA years. Once again, feel free to contribute your own stories and experiences.

1. Your favorite UCLA sports moment that you personally witnessed.

Nestor: This is a a pretty easy answer. Tasser10 listed the Top 10 Bruin moments and performances, and luckily I was there for one of the main entries - the epic touchdown pass from John Barnes to JJ Stokes. As I described in the post detailing why I bleed blue and gold.

Oh ... and speaking of the Rose Bowl and football games ... I cannot describe the feelings of beating those a$$clowns and going undefeated for those entire 5 years. Remember this video after the Gonzaga game? Just picture that scenario on the UCLA side right after J J Stokes dragged a Trojan hanging on to his legs to complete a 90 yard TD pass from immortal John Barnes. Students jumping around, ending up on different rows, mosh pits, band out of control, and people tearing up in joy. It is indescribable. It is emotional and those are the moments that create a bond with you and your friends and those magical four letter words for rest of your life.

Here is to UCLA students experiencing something like that on November 17.

Bellerophon: Practically every time MJD touched the football. Also, the 21 point comeback against Stanford with 8 minutes left in the fourth quarter was the most exhilarating ending to a football game I’ve ever gone to. That was pretty sweet. On a side note, when you think about the talent on that UCLA team versus how horrible Stanford was that year, it really shows you how terrible Dorrell was as a coach: we should have destroyed the Cardinal by 30, yet we barely squeaked that one out.

bruinclassof10: I got to witness 13-9 during my freshman year (I've never seen the Rose Bowl that loud and rocking since!) I also got to experience two of the last three Final Fours and every basketball game my sophomore year (when our starting lineup consisted of Collison, Westbrook, Shipp, Mbah a Moute and Love) was a great one. Still, I'd say 13-9 because of the energy and afterparties that occurred on December 2, 2006. I saved my ticket stub.

gbruin: Being in The Den (before it was The Den) and seeing Coach Wooden standing between Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when they had their numbers retired at Pauley.

tasser10: Barnes to JJ, UCLA vs, U$C 1992. Best sports event of my life, bar none. The win at the Coliseum the next year was also sweet. But this was the stuff of legends. If you've never been at a full, rocking stadium before, you HAVE to go to this game. Our team wasn't even good that year after we lost Wayne Cook to a cheap shot. But oh was the crowd electric. I still get shivers thinking about that game...framed articles in my album...

freesia39: I feel like I attended during a pretty dark time in UCLA sports history. (I do regret that I didn't attend more gymnastics meets. We were dominant during my time.) I remember watching DeShaun Foster run for over 300 yards against Washington. It was great - we were undefeated, Foster was awesome, football was fun... there is nothing quite like chanting "Heisman Trophy" with your fellow students. Such euphoria until it all went away... forever.

Patroclus: I hate you young kids as well :P I missed out on getting my answers to Part One of this series in on time, but will note that I am the CC transfer of our group - one who transferred to Westwood just in time for the worst two year period for Football/Men's Basketball in the modern history of UCLA. In other words, not a lot of great moments. With that in mind, my favorite moment was my first Homecoming/Parents Weekend, when my dad came down from NorCal to hang out and watch that weekend's game at the Rose Bowl. Fun times, and at a point when Stanford was baaaad, a game we actually won!

2. Your least favorite UCLA sports moment that you personally witnessed.

Nestor: I got couple. First, losing to Wisconisn in the Rose Bowl in 1994. We had the better team. We were more talented, had better talent on both sides of the ball. Yet it was demoralizing from the get go when we walked into a Rose Bowl with about 50 to 60 Wisconsin fans plastering the stadium red (oh and there was a giant cow balloon flying over the stadium). Anyway, the Bruins came into the game looking totally disinterested. They were sleepwalking (sounds familiar?). We fumbled the ball like 5 times. Despite playing out of sync we had a chance in closing seconds before Wayne Cook had a brain freeze in their red zone and forgot to spike the f**king ball. Ugh.

Second, losing to number 1 Duke team with Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Cherokee Parks at Pauley in my freshman year at Pauley. Ugh. I think we camped out about 4 days for that game (that's after having our priority numbers set). It was a matchup IIRC betweek two top-5 teams. There was a lot of buildup and it was going to be a game in which UCLA finally would announce to rest of the country that the Bruins were coming back following doldrums of the 80s. Pauley was rocking. The student section was going nuts. But at the end our defense was not good enough. It was kind of a letdown. In retrospect - the fact those two are the "least favorite" sports moment I can think of kind of makes me realize how lucky I was during my 5 years at UCLA when we went 5-0 v. Southern Cal, won banner number 11 and at least got to Rose Bowl.

Bellerophon: It’s kind of impossible to pick just one in this decade of mediocrity thanks to Chianti Dan. If we’re talking about personally witnessing something (which I assume means being at the game in person), I’ll go with the total beat-down at the hands of the worse Florida State squad in 50 years at the Emerald Who Gives a Rat’s Ass Bowl in 2006.

bruinclassof10: The Emerald Nuts Bowl in San Francisco, our first game after beating USC 13-9. It was cold, we lost and our team looked Dorrellian. I also dreaded every football game during my 4.25 years, with the exception of a few games because I knew that we'd play not to lose.

gbruin: Since any loss to *$c is number one, 1A was the football loss to Wash St in 1988 when we were ranked #1 in the country Damn, that still hurts like you can't believe.

tasser10: Losing to Duke in hoops, freshman year. Man I hated that team. Still do. Ukh.

freesia39: 2001 UCLA/SC game at the Masoleum. The score might have been 27-0 but it felt like a bazillion to negative forty. We wound up leaving in the third quarter because we couldn't take it anymore, people were getting sloppy drunk around us (they sold alcohol inside the stadium at the time!) and we needed to wade through a million parking lots, hopefully staying alive, to the bus. Ugh.

Patroclus: As I mentioned in answering the first question, my time at UCLA was long on bad moments - going 0-6 against Southern Cal in Football and Men's Basketball was especially pathetic. But my single worst UCLA sports moment was Men's Basketball's home loss to Arizona in 2003. 'Zona was good (top-5 at that time, would go on to finish the regular season #1) and we were in the morass of Steve Lavin's final weeks at UCLA, but that game was horrific. The 35-point Arizona win was the worst home loss in the history of Pauley Pavilion; the crowd being outshouted by a few dozen 'Zona fans in the far corner of the arena; the overall crap play. I felt physically ill walking back across campus to my house after that game, and it is still hard to think about that one.

3. Your favorite restaurant/other establishment in Westwood, still standing or long gone.

Nestor: Man, I had few. I have a soft spot for places like Cowboy Sushi (long gone I imagine), Schlotsky's (probably gone as well) and especially Shakey's Pizza. Those were the places where we could finagle some "cold ones" in our early years. I am guessing it's all pretty strick in Westwood. There was also that epic "buck fitty" sandwiches which I think became buck seventy five by the time we graduated. As mentioned about Mongols was amazing but also have to give a special shout goes to Sak's Teriyaki Bowl for cheap good eats.

We didn't have In and Out in Westwood at the time. Going to In and Out to Venice Beach or out to Sherman Oaks was kind of a treat. We'd often do that before going out to the bars during weekend nights. As we got to know West LA better we started venturing out to places in Santa Monica, Venice Beach and other parts of Westside in our third and fourth yeears. But Westwood was pretty good in terms of options in our first couple of years.

Bellerophon: Oh, wow, that’s hard to pick. Diddy Riese is the obvious choice. But since everyone else will have that listed, I also loved Acapulco (now closed), but my all-time favorite place was that dirty Mongolian BBQ place on Gayley. When I was there (I think it was called Mongol’s), you did everything yourself: the meat, the vegetables, the noodles, the sauce, so it was all your creation and you got to play that fun game of seeing how tall you could stack your food in that little bowl. You could get two meals for the price of one. That was cool. The last time I was in Westwood (last year), it was still there, but they changed the game (now someone does the noodles and sauce, so you get shafted), and raised prices a lot. That sucks. But it’s still good.

bruinclassof10: Bella Pita was the spot for late night wowshis - check it out if you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. Barney's Beanery opened during spring of my (first) senior year and quickly became a go to spot for games, but I still had good times at Maloney's too.

gbruin: Diddy Reese is the easy choice, so I'll go with Acapulco's. They used to have free mini-tostadas in the bar during happy hour, and you could get $1 margaritas. I had a lot of dinners that way. Honorable mention for late nite Tommy's Burgers with chili. Yum!

tasser10: Cowboy Sushi and Mongol's. Don't know if Mongol's is still there. The eternal challenge to UT as much as possible in a bowl...only to watch it shrink to a quarter of the size.

freesia39: Diddy Riese, you are my number one, forever and ever. My number two, though, is not fine or trendy dining. It will always be Headlines, my favorite greasy spoon in the world. Their grilled cheese with curly fries was SO DAMN GOOD. I also had a soft spot for Jose Bernsteins - I can't explain it. My first year we were always ordering from Shakeys - come on, a pizza and mojo potatoes for like 15 bucks? Good deal. Those potatoes were so damn good. Gushi is always good, and I always enjoyed Noodle Planet (now Noodle World?) Also, nothing beats Sak's. I love their teriyaki and their fried rice. And slightly outside of the immediate Westwood area, I LOVE California Chicken Cafe and Feast from the East.

Patroclus: I am, and will always remain a Diddy Riese fiend. Such an awesome place, and concept that even some folks at Cal have ripped it off. On the Hill, Puzzles never had the best food, but the late night-easily accessible junk food made it the favorite. (I am sure that Nestor will agree with my conclusion, but for a wholly different reason)

4. One piece of advice to our new first years.

Nestor: Manage your expectations a bit. UCLA can be a difficult place to adjust to when you come in from high school. But I found it managable by setting specific goals and then building out from there. I also think it is important to take advantage of all the diverse opportunities - from internships, community service programs, student government, fun outdoor classes (not that many school where you can have access to both sailing and skiing opportunities) and meeting students from all background.

And, yes it goes without saying it's worth going to all basketball and football games, and take in the tailgating before the football games. Perhaps that's one of the things to really worth partaking in your first years - because it should give you a sense of community that could potentially be a foundation for rest of your UCLA years. At least that's how it worked out for yours truly.

Bellerophon: Enjoy your four years in Westwood. Don’t whine a lot. Class really isn’t that hard. It’s an adjustment, sure, but it isn’t that hard. You know what sucks? Being a real grown-up with a grown-up job and long work days. You get to wake up at 10 a.m., go to like one, maybe two classes a day, hang out with your friends all the time, drink a lot of beer, and generally get to act like a jackass with no consequence. Cherish that because you only get to do it once. And believe me, trying to extend that by going to grad school doesn’t work. Grad school (read: law school for me) sucks.

bruinclassof10: UCLA is a special place with all of the opportunities in the world, out there but it's up to you to go get it because the UCLA administration sure as hell isn't going to hold your hand and walk you through the process. Be active within the university, join clubs, the Greek system (if you're into partying, I mean networking), intramural sports and make lifelong friends. These are the friends that will share your sorrows through the losses and share your joy when we win national championships. Also, explore Los Angeles, it's an amazing city and there's so much more out there than Westwood.

gbruin: Consider all this as one piece of advice: Take easy classes and a light schedule for the first quarter - get used to being a college student before stepping on the gas. Take all early classes in spring so you can get to the beach. Enjoy parties as often as possible, but know when to stop drinking. I never once wish I had drank more, but the opposite was true plenty of times. Go to all the games and events that you can. One day you won't be at UCLA any longer - don't leave any opportunity behind. Always realize you are going to the best University in the world. Yes, it's a lot to live up to, but the reward for finishing it is invaluable. Go Bruins!

tasser10: Don't be a bookworm, make sure you socialize, it's part of the experience and will take you further in life. Don't pull all-nighters, they are totally counterproductive. And, do become a sports superfan. If you think you're gonna regret not doing something, do it. And vice-versa.

freesia39: Four years (or five, or 5.5...) goes by so quickly. You learn so much and change so much during your four years. Enjoy it. It's not 100% about what career you'll have when you come out of UCLA, you also need to enjoy your time there. College is a great time to discover so many things - about yourself, about the world around you. Don't spend it going home every weekend, studying every free minute you have - please, enjoy yourself. Go to a football game. Go to gymnastics. Go to tennis (so easy, just walk in.) Know how to do an 8-Clap (I know people who don't. Don't ask me how they were given their diploma.) When I talk to prospective freshmen about what makes UCLA so great, I tell them it's the place you'll receive a complete college experience - academics, athletics, activities, the location, everything. Take advantage of all these things handed to you on one UCLA platter.

Oh, and marry UCLA boys. There are many good ones out there. :)

Patroclus: Find balance in your life at UCLA. Study, but also take time to go to games, listen to after-hour talks by your professors and others coming to campus, take in some concerts - you are going to have some incredibly talented classmates, and you can be one of the first to hear them play before striking it big, explore LA, and party. It will seem difficult at first, but it is important and you can do it. Despite what tasser thinks, being a little bit of a bookworm is not a bad thing, keeping balance in mind - I was a loyal member of Club Powell, but I also never missed a home Basketball or Football game while classes were in session.

And for the Community College transfers reading this: From the day that you step on campus, no one will care that you spent your first two years at a CC and not at UCLA. Other students won't act as if you are wearing a dunce cap, your professors and TA's will treat you exactly the same, and your UCLA Diploma will be exactly the same as the person that came to Westwood the week after their 18th Birthday. Graduate and professional schools don't discriminate, as long as you get the right grades while at UCLA. Not to pull a humblebrag, but I got into law schools like NYU and Georgetown (and UCLA), and via waitlists nearly got into Chicago, Columbia and Harvard Law 'despite' having been a CC transfer. One of my transfer-housemates earned his masters degree at Harvard, while another transfer friend went on to get her MBA from Georgetown. That's a longer way of telling you to never doubt your place at UCLA - you got in for a reason - and never doubt what UCLA will do for you, whether it be personally or professionally.

5. Your favorite UCLA memory, overall.

Nestor: There are just way too many good memories to chose from especially when it comes to sports. Also, made some really amazing friends who I am still close to over the years. But it's hard to top the memory of meeting Mrs. N in my first week of freshaman year.

Bellerophon: I’m keeping that one to myself, sorry. ;)

bruinclassof10: My favorite UCLA memory would be my entire spring quarter of my senior year. I realized that my amazing undergraduate experience was coming to an end, so I made the most of it. I never had a bad day in Westwood. Walking through campus everyday and passing by Royce Hall/Powell Library, I had to pinch myself because sometimes it all seemed unreal. I was a North campus major too and enjoyed the scenery around me.

gbruin: Graduation day with my family and my best friends in the world, knowing we had done something incredible, and we had the best times of our lives while doing it. But for something more immediate for you new folks, I remember the view from Sproul 6 South on the east side looking out over Drake and the IM field (where the new football stadium will go) to Janss Steps and Royce Quad. It is the best view in the world.

tasser10: So many...winning a rowing race...watching Tyus beat Missouri...never losing to U$C...more than anything, it's the friendships that I have to this day.

freesia39: There are so many, but I'll always remember standing on Janss steps or even walking up Bruin Walk, just happy to be a Bruin.

Patroclus: Honestly, there are too many things to mention. Whether you are destined to be in Westwood for only two years, or five (or more for the aspiring Double Bruins reading this), you are going to have an absolute blast. Remember that, even when you are struggling through the worst that South Campus throws at you.
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