Before we discuss any thing else, let me just say that the overwhelming majority of Trojan fans we came across were very gracious and welcoming hosts. They were good to us, and we were good to them, and we exchanged hugs even.
Uclaluv, U.C.L.A. '94, my friend Crystal, and I, picked up tickets earlier this year when the glow of the Nebraska game was still upon us. We decided to tailgate, and tried to rope others in to join us. Most notably here, JoeBruin 15. I tried to wrangle some of my non-BN UCLA brethren, and for a moment there had agreed with a buddy to combine out tailgating parties. He dropped out in just the last couple of days, however, due to family obligations. So, while you may have become accustomed to tales of huge parties hosted by yours truly, this is the story of a very small, yet intimate get together.
Before the fated day, I had asked around my Trojan friends or advice on tailgating at the masoleum, and the one tidbit I heard over and over again, was to get there early. LIke 9am for a 5pm game early. I passed the word along but the best consensus I could get from everybody was 12:30. I brought the Burger fixings, patties pressed by my local full service butchers. Luv brought the chips and some amazing home made Guacamole, plus an apple pie. '94 brought some really good pasta salad, cole slaw, but most importantly, some really 'nice touches' for the burgers; pineapple slices and avocado. On top of that, we had a really well combined pot luck in the other stuff. I brought the grill, and folding chairs. Luv brought her really big UCLA blue and Yellow canopy. '94 had the folding table and all the forks, spoons, and plates that almost always get forgotten.
We planned on driving down Vermont from the 10 freeway and parking/tailgating by the northeast corner of Exposition Park. As we approached our destination, every gate leading into campus was closed with a 'parking lot full' sign. We got down to the intersection of Vermont and Exposition only to find that the in order to get into Lot 3 parking we would need a pass. As we moved down Exposition, each gate we passed was closed and we were recommended to go to Figueroa. But, we had seen a mostly empty little lot on the corner of Vermont and Exposition, so after some creative driving by '94 we got turned around and headed there. Only to find they were charging $60 for parking!! We discussed it, and ended up paying it. Gah! We set up and ended up having a good time with our tailgating neighbors. Good working class folk with little actual connection to either school, other than having rooting interests.
We headed in early, made our way through a sea of Ketchup and Mustard, and took in the sights. I love this game. It is a circus-like atmosphere every year. It is the biggest party this town hosts every year. And, this is a pretty big town. The lawns between the museums in Exposition Park were crammed with canopies and tail gate parties. The area was thick with people, most wearing the garish colors of the home team. And, it was there that we had our first 'out there' experience. We found a young Trojan guy arguing with an evangelist holding up a sign, warning us we were all damned. They weren't the Westboro baptist variety, but seemingly the Los Angeles variety; their signs are black and yellow, and just as narrow minded. We came to find out that apparently she, the bible thumper, had made a comment to his friend about the salvation of Muslims through Jesus. The problem was, his friend was Jewish. I pulled him aside and told him that when they get to the point of holding up signs in public, they are past rational discourse. He laughed.
We also found out that while we thought we went in early, we were just in time. The press of human bodies moving in the same direction can really impede movement, apparently. We got to our seats, and this is really were we had our worst experiences for the day. We ended up sitting next to a pair of extreme douche bags that seemed certain to ruin our day. They were the garden variety Frat boy type children of privilege. They seemed intent on starting a fight. Their belligerence was appalling. At one point, this grizzled Mexican type retired gangster joined us in yelling at them to shut up. He was wearing Trojan colors. Security showed up and warned them they would/could be escorted from the premises. Then they left! It wasn't 5 minutes until the jack ass was at it again. It got so bad, his own people were asking him to settle down. Around this time the Coliseum crew flashed a PSA providing phone number and/or a text number you could reach out to report problematic people. Everyone in the area whipped out their cell phones. He must have got the point because he left. But, not before turning on his own friends dropping numerous F bombs on them; presumably because they did not support him in his antics. One of the great joys of yesterday's game was witnessing the abject misery of the second jack ass as his best friend first ruined his day, then our team ruined his season.
Apparently, security was of little use. When Luv made a trip to the restroom, A scuffle broke out. As, you can imagine the aggressor was a Trojan fan. She went to security which was at hand, and within sight of the scuffle. They did nothing. They at first down played it all, then tried to turn it on her, stating if she had not interfered, they could have got there in time. I'll let her elaborate. But, clearly the event staff had no interest in being of service in either case.
The officials were no different. Luv repeatedly called out holds that were not called. Let's just say there would have been many more sacks and TFLs if not for Bruin defenders conveniently 'falling down' at key points of their attacks. Apparently, one of the SC touchdowns came after the receiver, (Lee?) dropped the ball before crossing the plane of the end zone? We had no idea in the stands. The people running the jumbotrons did a piss poor job of showing replays. Unless of course, like the Lucien TD that was called back, it benefitted from it. It would be hours after the game that I would get a full explanation of what happened. I'm not sure Luv, or '94 still know that it even happened. (Luv has the game on DVR, so i think I'll invade her place in the coming weeks to see the game on TV as you guys saw it.)
After the game, we Bruin faithful floated out on a cloud of ecstatic joy. UC! LA! chants and 8-claps broke out spontaneously everywhere. Luv had to calm a Bruin fan down at one point, explaining he should be as graciously in victory as you are in defeat. He is young. He has time to learn. Most Trojan fans were dejected and walked around with there heads down. But, we ran into plenty that felt the need to 'get the last word in' making snide comments how they would see us next year, or telling us the victory would be short lived. We also got a number of sneers from Trojan fans while we cheered and walked, perhaps unable to muster a witty remark, they could only grimace.
They seemed completely unaware that their misery and anger is the frosting on our cake. There is nothing they could do to bring us down.
POSTSCRIPT: A huge 8 clap to the student section, which was loud and present throughout the game. Another huge 8 clap for the players for coming over to our section in the corner and cheering us on after the game. Another huge 8 clap to the two players that grabbed the UCLA tall flags and planted them on the SC logo midfield. Pictures are already making the rounds on the internet. Someone needs to put that image on a T-shirt.