Bumped. GO BRUINS. - BN Eds.
The north end of the Sun Bowl stadium looks directly into smokey Juarez (the Environmental Protection Agency has no jurisdiction across the border) and this is what I saw there today. It was a beautiful day on the west side of the bowl behind the U.C.L.A. bench. There were a lot more U.C.L.A. than V.T. fans in the stadium. There were only a smattering of V.T. fans anywhere near me. Met a lot U.C.L.A. fans who live in Texas which surprised me. Can't explain it-Coach Wooden, Jackie Robinson, Kareem, Mr. Aikman (don't say his first name, this is a family site), Ann Myers Drysdale, Rafer Johnson and C.K. Yang-U.C.L.A. Athletics has its followers the world around. Many of the folks in the stands were El Paso residents who had no dog in the fight. After getting back to the hotel, I read the game threads and here are my takeaways from the stands.
First, prior to the game, U.C.L.A. players spent much more time stretching, running and warming up by a large margin than the V.T. players. I arrived right at 10 MST and watched the players warm up. They wore a mish-mash of workout attire and some wore headphones as they worked out. When maybe a dozen or so V.T. players came on the field to briefly work out, a least 3 U.C.L.A. coaches or players intently watched them. Nobody from V.T. watched us. Mora's fetish for conditioning and attention to detail showed. And this was all before both teams came out in uniform for the formal pre-game calisthenics.
Second, the U.C.L.A. fans in the stands were pretty hot about the first half officiating. And I don't just mean the meritless call on Jordan's knockout blow of the V.T. Q.B. I am not a fan of second guessing officials, but the 1st half was the worst example of officiating malpractice I have ever seen. V.T. was getting away with offensive and defensive holds and the refs were being called out by the Bruins in the stands. The 2nd half seemed fairer although the consensus of people I talked to was Shaq was interfered with on the punt after he gave the fair catch sign. And all of these impartial individuals who share my views were in the west stands and were clad in blue attire (some gold mixed in there).
Third, in the west stands, the missed tackles in the 1st quarter and Shaq's bad game until the big TD catch caused gnashing of teeth. Maybe everybody got hot because we all spent a lot of money to fly to El Paso just to see missed tackles and Shaq not catch passes and punts.
Fourth, the truth is we had the game under control after the V.T. touchdown. The tackling improved and they only scored the field goal after Shaq
was interfered with fumbled and the safety which ended up actually making it more difficult for V.T. because they got lousy field position. A big indicator we had the edge-at halftime we ran off the field-they slowly and I mean slowly walked to the locker room. The stuffing had been kicked out of them by then and it showed.
Fifth, the most prevalent cry from the west stands-1 more year.
Sixth-the band. V.T.‘s band was very nice to listen to. But here's a fact, they were out-classed by a certain Solid Gold Sound. Best example-a big tune for V.T. is the "Hokey Pokey." Really. I'm not kidding. The P.A. announcer went to great lengths to explain that the "Hokey Pokey" is a V.T. classic. And then the V.T. Band played the "Hokey Pokey." By contrast, the U.C.L.A. Band played the Stones tune "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" which as the announcer explained was performed by 54 of the band members with THE ROLLING STONES. Take that Hokey Pokey. The battle of the bands was a metaphor for the entire day-V.T. Got smoked.
Every day is a great day to be a Bruin, but today in El Paso, it was really special-1 more
[UPDATE - peggy] According to page 3 of the El Paso Scene, a local free paper, the aging rock group,Three Dog Night, was scheduled to sing at halftime. But guess what--no Three Dog Night. I would demand my money back--but who cares, you know?