When is a rivalry not a rivalry?

My years at UCLA came plop in the middle of its seven-year football losing streak to USC and, up until last year, that was no rivalry. Trust me.

And yet, it was our “rivalry game” each year. Against our watch-us-thump-your-ass, hope-you-can-score, try-not-to-get-hurt rivals. Yeah. Some rivalry. From 1999 to 2005, the scores looked like this: 7-17, 35-38, 0-27, 21-52, 22-47, 24-29, 19-66. That last one was particularly hard to swallow.

I thought a seven-year losing streak was tough, until I stepped in to the “rivalry” that is Don Lugo vs. Chino. Check out these fantastic scores from the last 15 years:

1992: Chino, 18-0
1993: Chino, 35-16
1994: Chino, 23-21
1995: Chino, 33-6
1996: Chino, 45-0
1997: Chino, 56-14
1998: Chino, 31-7
1999: Chino, 31-7
2000: Chino, 31-7
2001: Chino, 49-7
2002: Chino, 51-7
2003: Chino, 32-3
2004: Chino, 45-7
2005: Chino 33-0
2006: Chino, 35-0
Friday night: Chino, 27-0

I hear that ’94 game was a barnburner. Too bad the seniors on this year’s Don Lugo squad were all 4 or 5 years old when it happened. Who in attendance during the Conquistadores’ 1991 win, wearing their parachute pants and listening to New Kids on the Block (on their portable cassette player) could have foreseen a winless streak that would span two milennia?

Part of me felt sorry for Don Lugo quarterback Charlie Hinojosa when he shrugged off the loss by saying, “it happens.”

Dude, it happens every year.

Nobody seems to mind, though. As I wrote in my story for Saturday’s paper, it’s less a football game than an event for the throngs of Chino residents who wait in a line that wraps around the tennis courts on the corner of Park Place and Benson Ave. All 4,400 of them by Friday’s tally.

Most of the Don Lugo patrons stayed until the bitter end, too. To you, Conquistador fans and to you, Charlie, I say “more power to you.” After all, there’s always next year.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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