I consider myself lucky to work and live close enough to campus to visit my old stomping grounds once in a while.
Today, I stopped by Ackerman Union to buy some baseball championship swag. Alas, there was slim pickings to choose from. Apparently, a lot of the shirts and gear were transported to JRS for the celebration yesterday and the product had not yet been re-stocked in the student store. Oh well, I'll try and stop by next week.
Despite going down swinging MSU style on my quest, I did enjoy my visit. I guess it must be orientation week or freshman summer school week or something like that, because the store was pretty crowded with youngsters and their parents, racing from display to display. More than once I heard some variation of "Mom, isn't this cute?" or "Dad, can I get this one?" as a new Bruin picked out a tee or sweatshirt.
The passion of the students was understandable. I remember my own orientation (I roomed with a baseball player coincidentally). I remember the excitement I felt to becoming part of the UCLA family. But it was the pride and passion of the parents that really moved me today. Probably most of them went to some other college or university. Many of them are surely from out of state or even out of the country -- they never gave UCLA a second thought before their child applied and got accepted.
And you could just see how proud they were, with one eye on the shelves and the other on their kid -- a kid about to start the rest of their lives as a Bruin. Look, it was pretty hot in Westwood this week, you'd have to be one proud parent to wear a "UCLA Dad" pullover. You could almost see the realization on their faces as they pulled out their credit cards: "Our whole family is joining the UCLA family." And they were damn excited to becoming part of something so special.
Anyway, I walked all through Ackerman today I had a huge smile on my face. All these kids, these parents, these families -- they are just beginning to be Bruins and they have no idea how just how great it is to be one.
They'll find out soon.
About that picture on the top of this post: That's a sign hanging in a window in Ackerman. I don't know any details at all, but it appears the school is putting in some sort of pub or restaurant that serves alcohol. The window is on the facade of a construction project on Ackerman's Level 1. Old-timers like me will remember that being the level with the Tree House. For you younger folks, It's right next door to Rubio's, across from Panda. The rest of the old timers will remember that there were long ago plans for a pub on the A-Level, in what was once The Cooperage (now it's just Carl's Jr. and a big screen TV). It appears -- and I could be wrong -- but it appears students might some day soon have a place to grab a brew on campus.