Bumped: A great story of how current events take us back to our past, but still tie us together through U.C.L.A. Go Bruins! -BN eds.
Erdélyi Tamás passed away yesterday. His passing has absolutely nothing to do with UCLA Athletics, but in a round-about way, it does to me. Tamás was born in Hungary, moved with his family to NYC, and eventually was known more commonly as Tommy Erdélyi. He later changed to his more well known name, Tommy Ramone. His passing marks the end of an era to me, and perhaps to many others around the world. He was the last original member of The Ramones, the other original members having passed away between 2001 - 2005.
Now, as I say, his passing has nothing to do with UCLA, though it does for me. It sent me back to the period in my life when I first "discovered" The Ramones. It would have been 1980. I watched the ridiculous movie Rock-n-Roll High School, and felt like I had heard music for the first time. Real music, not the overproduced junk and disco that had overtaken everything else (around this time I also discovered KROQ, and around this time also saw The Decline of Western Civilization in the theater). My thinking changed, view on life, and outlook changed. I became a punk rocker, dressed differently, had odd hair cuts, and became fairly obnoxious (I was young - who among us). That year in the probation bowl, Jeff Fisher was sporting enough to deflect a pass into the game-winning hands of Freeman McNeil. I was at that game.
I saw The Ramones at the Hollywood Palladium the following summer. But much to my irritation, Norm Johnson's potential game winner was blocked by George Achica that same year. Both are burned into my memory.
I never bought into the anarchy non-sense that some punk rockers subscribed to. That always struck me as a stupid lyric that a bunch of violent poseurs latched onto as an excuse to be, well, violent. But I was into viewing the world through a different prism, one that threw aside concepts that had been handed to me from people in various positions of authority (including my poor parents, God bless them). This was a period of time in my life, before my own alcoholism took over, that was exciting and seemingly full of possibilities.
Back to The Ramones, or I suppose punk rock. There weren't really that many people into it then (though an informal observation is that there are an awful lot of people now who say they were), and generally they eschewed what they viewed as conformity, which at least outwardly, included sports. As for myself, asking me to stop loving what I loved was as stupid an idea as anarchy. Changing my world view never included changing my devotion to UCLA sports. I would be a punk rock rebel, and would continue loving UCLA with all my heart. Punk attitudes be damned (OK, call me a poseur).
I was never the caliber student to attend UCLA, and even got kicked out of CSULB. Alcoholism gets the assist there, but by God I finally got that BA from CSULB after getting sober - 26 years now - even though it required 8 1/2 years of college. The Tommy Boy line, or Animal House line, have since made me laugh out loud. And throughout, UCLA athletics have continued to be markers in my life. In this regard, I am certain that everyone on Bruins Nation and the "irrational fan base" is no different.
I love The Ramones to this day with all of my being. I was listening to them on my iphone this morning on the riding mower as I cut the grass. I was wearing a UCLA football shirt.
Gabba Gabba, Hey