Friday, December 01, 2006

The Origin of Hate

We’ve stated a few times this week that we’re disappointed with the condition of this “rivalry.” It’s so pathetic these days that even their “nation” helps to make our case for us.

Still, there is one thing we should make perfectly clear: Even though we may not recognize this “rivalry” anymore, we do hate them.

All Trojans share valid reasons for this hate, but each of us has specific reasons to hate, as well. These individual reasons are borne out of personal experience, perhaps a single moment in our lives when the hate was consciously confirmed and burned into our hearts so that it remains in our cardinal and gold blood for the rest of our lives. That’s right … I’m talking real hate.

For me that moment happened 20 years ago, when our beloved Trojans met that other team in the Rose Bowl. It was the first time I had ever been to a USC Football game in Pasadena, and it was a horrendous experience.

Somehow we ended up with incredibly horrible seats, two rows up right behind the goal post. If you’ve ever tried to watch a football game from low end zone seats, you know it’s damn near impossible. With no perspective or angle on the forward (or backward) progress of the ball, all we could see on the field was a frenzy of cardinal red, white, gold, and baby blue colliding and shuffling in and out from the sidelines. Even worse, we were at the opposite end from the USC student section, which meant no close up view of the Song Girls. Like I said … horrendous.

Actually, one thing we did see was the wide holes through which Gaston Green was running for what seemed like first down, after first down, after first down. We had to listen to the public address announcer tell us the yard line to which the first down markers were being moved. But, we could see very clearly, by the sheer size of the holes at the line of scrimmage, why everyone dressed in light blue was cheering so loudly. Like I said … horrendous.

As for my hate, I could feel it welling up in my chest as the other team scored touchdown after touchdown in the first half. The score was 24-0, while the baby blue crowd became louder and more obnoxious, feeding off the body language of their players on the field, who seemed to grow more arrogant and cocky by the minute.

I saw their head coach Terry Donahue, posing like he was actually in charge as he walked up and down his sideline without a headset. I heard that second-hand fight song over and over again. I saw their mascot as he walked behind the end zone, making a “zero” sign with one paw and pointing with the other paw at me in my USC sweatshirt. I heard the “eight-clap” … and I seethed.

And then it happened: Their team had the ball somewhere around mid-field. Again, we couldn’t see exactly where the ball was, but they were certainly out of field goal range. So, with just a few seconds left in the half and a 24-point lead, we thought their team would take a knee or call a running play between the tackles, which was the respectful thing to do. Needless to say, I know better now …

Expecting to see the referee blow the play dead after yet another confusing scrum of bodies colliding against each other, we caught a glimpse of their quarterback Matt Stevens dropping back to pass. “What the hell are they doing?” Then, out of the scrum like a grenade flung out of a bunker, we saw the football high in the air and coming down toward us.

It was like a movie cliché when a few seconds are stretched into slow motion as someone is about to be killed, “Nooooooooo …” USC defenders, including all-American safety Tim McDonald, went up to knock the ball away, but they missed as it was caught by the other team. TOUCHDOWN!

McDonald lay emotionally crushed, face down in the end zone. The baby blue crowd was at its loudest, most obnoxious peak as the second-hand fight song played yet again, followed by yet another “eight-clap.” Donahue celebrated as if there wasn’t anything wrong or insulting about the play he just called (or simply witnessed) … and running along the back of the end zone, holding the football in the air was the player who caught it. As he turned toward the sideline, I saw the name on his back: DORRELL.

This play, this assault against the Trojans, was the only thing we saw clearly that day, as if the location of our seats was meant to show me the crime up close, so that I would never forget it. It was as if the College Football Gods were teaching me a lesson: “USC Must Hate UCLA. And don’t ever forget it.”

Needless to say, I have never forgotten. Sure, I was born a member of the Trojan Family, and I knew I was supposed to hate the other team. But at that moment, when Karl Dorrell caught that pass – that merciless, arrogant, classless affront to USC – the hate did indeed burn itself into my heart where it will remain for the rest of my life.

Now, 20 years later we can talk about how this rivalry has become a “rivalry.” We can talk about how USC Football has regained is rightful place on a national level under Pete Carroll, and then some. And, if you believe in karma, we can talk about how Dorrell should know that what comes around goes around, after 66-19 last year and 0-3 versus USC, as head coach of his alma mater.

But, in terms of our hate for them, none of this really matters. I know this because I learned my lesson from the College Football Gods that day in Pasadena.

No matter what happens for the rest of my life, I hate UCLA.



Anonymous said...

Wow! You brought back some great memories. I'm hopeful we (UCLA) will be able to bring back the excitment of those great games of the mid-'80s to mid-'90s

As a UCLA alum, I can't really say I hated USC because of sports. I have always loved UCLA while just being indifferent towards USC (especially the SC basketball team).

My hatred towards USC stems more from the lack of personal respect from Trojan fans the last 4 years: gum on my Bruin sticker on my car, someone writing UCLA sucks with a Sharpie on my UCLA sticker on my care while in the parking lot of the Best Buy in Glendale, the girl who came up to my table @ El Cholo after '03 UCLA/USC game and talking smack while I'm sitting there with my father, having to leave our combined USC/UCLA tailgate on the USC campus last year because some SC knucklehead threatened violence because he found it offensive that I performed an 8-Clap on campus.

My point being that I understand the love towards USC, and the hate towards UCLA... from REAL USC fans (namely alums)... But I don't quite understand why USC embraces the thuggish, Raider-like fan attitude that seems to pervade the current group of Trojan fans. I understand that UCLA has its dumb fans as well, but not to the level found among the current flock of Trojan bandwagon fans.

I don't hate USC for the success, I hate them for the lack of respect and arrogance shown by the bandwagon fans, especially the ones that did not go to USC and are suddenly Trojans for life.


Displaced Trojan said...


I appreciate the distinction you make between "REAL" USC fans and non-alum bandwagoneers.

I'm sure both sides of the rivalry have experienced "thuggery" from new "fans" who lack the proper respect that makes the rivalry great and enjoyable. I've certainly had my share of encounters similar to yours.

I hate ucla within the context of sports, and I have a real world distaste for all the other crap, regardless of which ever side it comes from.

Anonymous said...

Not all non-alums buy into the bad behavior. Decent people regardless of team affiliation will always speak out when it comes to bad acts.

Obviously there will always be some sort of rationalization when "your" side makes a mistake. A great example of that is the Jarrett rent situation. It may have looked bad but in the grand scheme of things does it really matter?

He may have got off easy in the eyes of some but that is not his fault, someone at a higher pay grade deemed it no big deal. And thats when the nastiness kicks in. Someone will always look at a particular situation and find a way to make a big deal out of it.

Another great example is tthe way that Pete Carroll is maligned because of his uccess or "loose" style. All he has done is win and as i have time and again his paid for his results not his methods.

SC has been in the spotlight because of their success but it cuts both ways, the spotlight also shines brighter when problems arise.

Decent people will call bad acts regardless of who does them but that doesn't mean that they have to crazy in their rebuke. State your case and move on things usually work themselves out so there should be no reason for all the nastiness.

Anonymous said...

The only other thing that bugs me about USC....

Why hanging teddy bears by a noose?

Does this mean that no Trojan owns a teddy bear?

Needless to say, given one as a gift?

I'm kidding, of course. But seriously, do Trojans by nature reject teddy bears?


LSUoverUSC said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Displaced Trojan said...


If you must comment on anything having to do with 2003, you can do so here: Freak, Geek or Sicko

Otherwise, please get over it. We know you won't be winning any form of a national title for years to come, but come on ... let it go, already.

cindy said...

To "anonymous"

I agree with Displaced Trojan that thuggery comes in all colors- these "fans" can be wearing green, navy blue, baby blue, or cardinal and gold.

Thanks for making the distinction between the classless, arrogant bandwagon fans and the true fans. My family has been fans for 70 years, as my grandma went there in the 30's.

I disagree that USC "embraces" this kind of fan.

Another great example of rationalization could be the Justin Medlock situation. If I remember he rolled his truck while drunk and left the scene of the accident with his date still trapped in the truck with a broken neck. Somehow he avoided jail, and remained eligible to play. Luckily, the lady in question made a full recovery. But, I didn't hear too many people make a big deal of it. One wonders how the media may have played this out had he been a member of the Trojans, who because of their recent successes on the field, are subject to intense scrutiny off of it, deserved or not.

Anyway, I will continue to hate the Bruins from a sports standpoint, but will always be grateful to UCLA for the superior dental education!!

Fight On!!
Cindy, UCLA School of Dentistry, 1991, but a lifelong Trojan Fan.

JAM said...

To Answer your question regarding Trojans and Teddy Bears:

My first tendency was to slight your question with comments such as, "What? Do Bruins not use contraception?" or, "What? Do Bruins not ride horses? Specifically, white horses?"

But I put a little more thought into my personal experience.

I haven't received nor given a teddy bear as a gift since attending USC. I hadn't thought about it before but perhaps there is a deep subconscious tendency to not "bear" such a gift to someone.

I thought the bear destruction was limited to the rivalry week leading up to the game, but upon further evaluation, my experience since college has led to some interesting revelations.

My credit card bills have exploded with trips to the Kodiak and the Rockies in search of bears to kill...

I watch a lot more Colbert Report (he has an aversion to bears for you non viewers)...

I spit on the grave of Bear Bryant...

I visit the local Zoo (San Diego Zoo - might have heard of it) merely to taunt the various species of bears for being silly enough to have been captured and enclosed...

All of these things I felt were completely natural but your question has opened my eyes to my deep resentment for anything bear-like.

Long story short: No Teddy Bears for me.

Eric Chan said...

I guess you have something to hate again. Hopefully you'll get LSU in the Rose Bowl, too.