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Why we are blessed ...

We ... as in those who are fortunate call ourselves alums, students, professors, staffs, season ticket holders associated with the greatest university in the Nation, if not the world ... are blessed.  I have got to share with you something.  While I was watching the game last night with my wife (UCLA '95) and bunch of other friends who graduated with us around the same time (mid 90s), this particular post stuck in my mind.  All night I kept think about that kid and kept appreciating how freaking blessed and lucky we all are to call ourselves Bruins and be a part of a Nation which is the offshoot of the greatest university in the country. I am sure that kid is going to be fine. He will end up going to a really good school and perhaps some day transfer into UCLA, and stay a Bruin fan. But his post (as heartbreaking as it was) just drove home a point with me. I am lucky. I am blessed to be an alum. (UCLA '96) of the greatest university in the country.

On to some Sunday clips. And we have to start with Brian Dohn of LA Daily News - the best sports reporter from Southern California, who has followed this UCLA program for quiet a while. Dohn on how this team is so close to achieving all the goals it set before:

Back in October, a month before the season and weeks before the injury craze hit, UCLA gathered as a team to speak about season goals.

Three, according to players, stood out.

One was winning the Pacific-10 Conference regular-season title. Another was claiming the Pac-10 Tournament title. The third was a deep run into the NCAA Tournament.

Well, the top-seeded Bruins accomplished the second of what they hope will be the trifecta by thrashing No. 3 seed California 71-52 Saturday at Staples Center to win the league's tournament, and position themselves for a high seed, and favorable matchups in the early rounds of the NCAAs.

Within eight days, the Bruins (27-6) won their first Pac-10 regular-season title since 1997 and breezed to their first league tournament title since 1987 by winning three games in three days by an average of 21 points.

The 65-team field is announced today, and UCLA is expecting a trip to San Diego for the first two rounds.
San Diego would be really nice. Of course nothing is given with an NCAA establishment that is so heavily stacked to favor teams from the Midwest and the Eastern Seabord. So we will see what happens later this afternoon. But for now we have lots to feel good about, and I want to include this quote from Ced (from the same Dohn article), which basically summarizes what lot of us who have had to endure the Lavin years were feeling last night:
Bruins fifth-year senior Cedric Bozeman, who had six points during UCLA's 24-8 game-seizing run in the second half, absorbed the locker-room atmosphere afterward, and couldn't help but think of the cycle of his career.

Bozeman was a freshman when the Bruins last reached the Sweet 16, suffered through the two of the worst seasons of the past six decades, then sat out last year's return to the NCAAs because of a knee injury.

"I don't know how to explain it, but it's 10 times different winning, then going through the losing seasons, and coming back to this," Bozeman said. "There's a buzz like something's going on, like there's something special. To get to this point, and be a part of it, that's gratifying to me."
And another note on Ced's freshmen season. It was the first year of Pac-10 tournament at Staples and in its first appearance (under Lavin) Ced and his crew got humiliated by Ben Braun's California. I remember watching that game in disgust (with the same feeling I have watching Dorrell's football team taking on USC), feeling sorry for kids like Gadzuric, Barnes, Ced, Dijon - having their careers wasted in Westwood.

We still have ways to go. Again I am going to say this over and over again - we are just getting started. Of course we are all swept away with March Madness (and justifiably so) and our perspective is getting clouded with visions of a dome in Indiana. But right now I do want to remind you that horrific USC game was just few weeks ago and we have some demons exorcise in this tourney. All I am thinking about right now is winning the next game and crossing my fingers that our three point shooting is going to stay strong, Ryan Hollins will keep playing at this high level, and we are going to come out fire up, focused like this game after game, playing hard-nose blue collar Howland basketball.

I believe in Howland and I believe in his coaches and kids. They are a special bunch. But we have known this since they got here last year. This has not happened over night. Now of course assclowns like Bill Plashcke are trying to jump on our bandwagon and trying to project high expectations. But don't let them fool you. They will be off it - the minute something goes wrong.

For now - this journey is ours. This journey belongs to everyone who bleeds blue and gold.  It belongs to everyone who stuck with this team and dreamt of these kinds of mornings when we were getting humiliated by CSUN, Brand West, EA Sports during the previous regime.

We have been suffering for a long time.  We deserve this feeling. This team - this program belongs to us. We are lucky to be a part of this journey as students and alums. of the greatest university of the greatest nation.