Is there a difference between being a fan of UCLA sports and having attended UCLA as a student, as a way of explaining why some are ecstatic over the Arizona win while BNers are still unsparing of their criticism of Howland's stewardship of the basketball program? I believe there IS.
The experience of having actually attended UCLA deepens and broadens one's perspective on the alma mater itself, sports being subordinate to its larger image and symbolism. The experience of attending UCLA has taught him or her that nothing short of perfection is acceptable at UCLA, especially in basketball. To a sports fan who happens to support UCLA, each win is something to celebrate in and of itself. Obviously, the win over Arizona was great. To an alumni member, however, the joy comes with a sigh recognizing how low his alma mater has fallen during the Howland years. Sigh....
While we are on this subject of clash between those who love UCLA as their alma mater primarily and those who enjoy UCLA sports as sports fans, there is a great difference between criticism and cynicism, and the Howlers seem to confuse the two. Criticizing something for falling short of certain ideal standards indicates LOVE for the object of criticism, and we do this only for those things that we dearly love. (Movie critics, food critics and art critics want all movies, foods and artworks to be perfect, and those that fail to live to the standards are criticized harshly; no one would say these critics HATE what they criticize.) Cynics anticipate the worst in everything and everything they see merely confirms their negative expectations.
BNers at large, and certainly Bill Walton who has been to the mountain tops, are critics, not cynics. They want whatever is done in the name of UCLA, especially basketball, to be done according to the ideal standard of UCLA that has long been established. Winning and losing is secondary to them; it is winning or losing according to the ideals and symbolism of UCLA, which is, and should be, nothing short of excellence, as demonstrated and taught by the Master himself. Falling short of this in sheer incompetence and lack of commonsense should be harshly criticized if it bears the name UCLA.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.