Bumped again (let's keep the stories flowing. they are getting better and better).
I put this post up exactly one year ago today. Since then we have added many new friends here on Bruins Nation. So I am bumping this post up in the hope of gathering more stories on why we bleed blue and gold. GO BRUINS. -N
I bleed blue and gold ... so does A and O, and everyone else who is coming on this little daily journal (day after day). That is obvious. However, I don't believe we have ever really discussed why we are doing do it. We love UCLA. We love being Bruins. We are alums, students, season ticket holders, or fans who worship the magical four letters stitched on to jerseys of some of the greatest athletes this country has every produced. But why are we so obsessive about the greatest academic/athletic institution in the world which leads us to write, snipe, snark, analyze every single detail associated with its basketball and football program? Why do we love UCLA? Well here is my story, and I am hoping all of you will share yours. Not just the great posters who have been posting and commenting away for almost a year, but also to hundreds of those who are coming to this blog everyday building the first transparent, no holds barred Bruin Nation mad about every single details about UCLA.
My family made its way to Southern California in the 1980s. I always knew about UCLA and its basketball program. However, I didn't get a real taste of what this university meant until a football game in early September of 1988.
It involved a UCLA team which I think was ranked in the top-10 in the nation taking on a Nebraska team which I also believe was ranked somewhere in the top-5. I remember reading the hype about a UCLA team with its superstar Senior QB (T. Aikman), who was poised to do something special, after getting cheated out of a win against USC Trojans the year before (referring to that "catch" by Eric Asshoflter). 1988 was it. It was going to be UCLA's year. They were going to bring home a Championship for the first time since 1954 (we tied with ). And Nebraska game was the early game in the season that was going to set the tone. I turned on ABC that Saturday and after what I saw became a Bruin for rest of lime. Saw a Rose Bowl lathered up crowd all clad in blue and gold (ok one End Zone was red) go into total frenzy rolling up bunch of TDs in first half on one of the more dominant programs in the country. Aikman was on fire hitting TE Arbuckle for TDs. UCLA's WCO was just toying with Osborne's corn and steak fed Huskers before bogging down Donahue style in the second half. Bruins ended up winning the game 41-28. But the moment of the game came when Matt Darby came flying out of a defensive backfield to lay one of the most bone crushing hits I had ever seen in my life. Rose Bowl was in bedlam. That was it. I felt blood rushing through my head, goose bumps, and I knew right there and then ... that?s where I wanted to go to college. I wanted part of that.
I had pretty good options when I was going through the college application process. But I knew it was going to be UCLA. Just to make the rents happy I applied to some. All I did was break out the AP Top-25 in basketball/football and then get out the US News top-25 schools and just narrowed it down Michigan, Duke (yes I did like the Ratface when his team took on Shark's corrupt UNLV program in the Final-4 in back to back years), and UCLA. It really came down between Michigan and UCLA (eliminated Duke because its nonexistent football program even though they were being coached by the Ole Ball Coach). And I dug Michigan. Dug Bo. Dug those helmets. Dug how Glen and Ramuel Robinson took a team all the way to the Championship. I was with it. But I just couldn't fathom spending four-five years in (beautiful) Ann Arbor during cold, frigid winters, with lots of coeds bundled up to cover their pasty thighs. No sir. No way. I took my fist visit to UCLA campus around May of 1988 (right after I had gotten my acceptance letter), snuck inside Pauley Pavilion, walked up the Bruin Walk, and took a look around the sundresses on the Royce Quad ... and I was ... not sold ... but in love.
Well rest is history as I kind of referenced to in my last post. Those four-five years (yes I had such a great time I had no problem staying extra two quarters) were simply a slice of pure heaven.
For starters I did meet the love of my life during my first week in the dorms. I met my wife during that first week of freshman year (at Puzzles Cafetaria at Sunset Village). That reason alone is enough to be a loyal this incredible institution for rest of my life. But there is so much more ...
I cannot describe how incredible it was to go to school everyday in a place that is all sequestered around some beautiful hills, just few mins drive (or bike ride) from ocean, surrounded by the neighborhoods of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, and Beverly Hills.
I cannot really describe what it feels like to take a beer bus or to caravan out to the Rose Bowl on Saturdays and then tailgate on a golf course with bunch of gorgeous Bruin coeds. Yes, that's right our tailgates happen on a golf course. I know some have complaints about the freeway traffic or not having an on campus stadium. But I had no problem with the Rose Bowl. No problem hanging out and having fun at the Rose Bowl, while those morons from cross town were doing their thing on the sidewalks of South Central.
Oh ... and speaking of the Rose Bowl and football games ... I cannot describe the feelings of beating those a$$clowns and going undefeated for those entire 5 years. Remember this video after the Gonzaga game? Just picture that scenario on the UCLA side right after J J Stokes dragged a Trojan hanging on to his legs to complete a 90 yard TD pass from immortal John Barnes. Students jumping around, ending up on different rows, mosh pits, band out of controls, and people tearing up in joy. It is indescribable. It is emotional and those are the moments that create a bond with you and your friends and those magical four letter words for rest of your life.
Those are moments we experienced over and over and over again when:
*Arnold Ale recovered a fumble in Coliseum to secure a win over the Trojans, after we went winless against those bastards for four years;
*Rushed the court after beating (I believe top-10) Arizona, which clinched UCLA's first Pac-10 title in about 4/5 years;
*Marvin Goodwin intercepted a Rob Johnson pass in the Coliseum end zone to clinch a UCLA Pac-10 title and a berth in the Rose Bowl;
*King Ed kissed the UCLA sign at the center court after his last home game at Pauley;
*Edney did this;
*Toby Bailey's reverse dunk in the Kingdome ... which eventually led to this, and the legendary mayhem in Westwood (and no we didn't really riot. The KISSFM van deserved its fate for playing shitty music).
I can go on and on. Great weekend trips to Isla Vista, San Diego, and (hanging my head in shame) TJ. I can go on about ISVT. Thursday nights around Landfair and Gayley and those crazy parties at 527 Midvale.
I can go on about pint nights in Strattons. Mojo potatoes and Labatts at Shakeys. Not getting carded at Shlotszkeys (yes Shlotszkeys, some elderly woman behind the counter was reaaaally realllly nice to us), and getting a little too happy at liberally cardiing Cowboy Sushi. Yes ... we did a little studying. Cramming for finals, downing those ice blended at Coffee Bean (and then finishing off the night with a Killians at Maloneys).
You are getting the picture. It was heaven. I know it may come across as elitist to some people. But I cannot really describe the bond we have as alums to this institution. It's something that is lot more than just getting obsessive, annoyed, depressed, excited and euphoric over our sports teams. There is deep deep emotional bond over these magical four letter that connect my family, incredible friends I met during school and after over alumni events in real life, and also the this online universe which in today's world has become real as well.
I know sometimes some of the posts I have written here is extremely harsh and critical. I know that. But everything I am writing here and everyone else writing here are based on one basic principle - our love for the Bruins and our pride in bleeding blue and gold.
I LOVE UCLA.
All right now that I am off my soap box ... I hope you will indulge us by sharing why you bleed and gold.