I have always wanted to write a post that would compare the college football teams to the teams of
English Barclay's Premiere League. Fact it, the only sports in the United States that rivals the pageantry and emotion of BPL is college football (and to certain extend college hoops). The culture and passion that surrounds BPL is similar to the fanaticism we see around college athletics and how it seeps into our everyday life.
Now the team I root for in BPL unfortunately doesn't have a lot of common with UCLA football. Yes, I realize despite 10+ tough years Bruins have a football tradition that we can all be proud of. But we don't have much in common with the Red Devils from across the pond aka Manchester United. I don't need to write a post on Man Utd (you can browse around SBN's Busby Babes and get familiarize yourselves with the glory around the Manchester United). But I wanted to jot down this post today because of what happened to Man Utd's opponent at legendary Old Trafford stadium.
Man Utd took on the Arsenal Gunners yesterday. Gunners are another great BPL team but they have fallen on hard times in recent years. They have had a tumultuous off-season, losing star players and not doing much through transfer market to build up their squad. Their manager Arsene Wenger has been riding the hottest of the hot seats. Gunners already got off to a bad start by losing to Liverpool, losing players from red cards, and hobbled into Man Utd's home turf yesterday. As a Man Utd fan I was pretty confident that the Red Devils were going to be all right, but I wasn't ready for what unfolded in the last summer weekend without football.
The Red Devils smashed the Gunners by a score of 8-2. That's right 8 goals and I think United could have scored 2 or 3 more. It was a performance of scintillating and jaw dropping domination. I don't think I have seen a team I root for dominate like this since the Niners destroyed Broncos during the 1992 Super Bowl (although yesterday's game didn't have championship implications).
Yet despite the thrill I felt rooting for the Man Utd, it's the plight of Arsenal fans and how they reacted to the historic massacre struck a nerve as a Bruin football fanatic. I will explain how after the jump.
First, I saw this tweet that made me appreciative as a UCLA football fan:
All of that reminded me of sentiments many of us have felt in last 10+ years as UCLA football fan. I don't think I need draw up the precise analogies in detail. But those Arsenal fans singing are not any different than Bruin band and alums sticking around till the finals seconds during recent disasters at the Coliseum.
Sports fans in Los Angeles get maligned a lot for being front-runners and often deservedly so. Yet, I think the Bruin community has a lot to be proud of given the way we have stuck with our school and its team over the years. We have been through so many humiliations, blow out defeats, heart-breaking losses since December 5, 1998 that we have all become numb to it. Yet despite all the adversity, here we are at the start of the game week of yet another football season, excited and full of hope.
I don't blame if lot of UCLA alums are taking the cautious "watchful waiting" approach to see what transpires on Saturdays, before buying into the positive off-season chatter. We have been through this so many times over and over again. I don't blame if many of us are anxious and uncertain.
But I will leave you with this. Things are going to turn. College football goes in cycles.
We have been on a cruel, downturn for a long time now. Perhaps things will finally click and head towards the right direction for a good long time this year. Yet, as we go look back at the adversity, I think we should take time to appreciate who have stuck with us - in this community and in other Bruin online forums - and stayed on the Bruin wagon (no matter how roughed up).
We are certainly not "glory hunters." We have all paid our dues. I don't know right now for sure if this is the year, when we start putting all the painful memories behind. But man when that happens, we are going to look back at what has happened in last 10+ years (a huge chunk of it now archived on BN), and celebrate even more.