Aren’t you the guy who got your really nice blue-and-gold UCLA jacket kinda messed up trying to jump-start my car after someone pushed it into a golf-course sand trap next to the Rose Bowl on a dark and rainy night after a football game a few years back?
Ma’am, can I thank you again for the way you cleverly passed your Trojan hat around Section 21 at the Coliseum that time when you realized I had just ordered a half-dozen hot dogs from a vendor for my family, but I apparently lost my wallet when I was just up at the restroom and I couldn’t pay the bill, so you rallied a bunch of USC fans around me to help with donations?
Maybe you can question the loyalty of a UCLA or a USC fan during rivalry week. But nothing rivals those actions-speak-louder-than-words moments when respect, integrity and dignity cross over all that cross-town battle babbling.
But now we need words, so here’s this week’s call to action as the 84th edition of this Game that Prefers to Be Nameless comes up in Pasadena: In 84 words or more, can you give us a story about someone who fits the bill of an upper-crust, ambassador-at-large supporter for either the Bruins or Trojans football programs? First-person, third-person, or any person accounts of something recalled that might help re-establish etiquette standards leading up to and surrounding this contest?
— BruinSportsReport (@UCLARivals) November 13, 2014
Maybe this request stems from apparent systemic problems that ridiculously come up this time of year, mostly presumed to be student-conduct issues – you may have seen that the Joe Bruin statue on the UCLA campus was already sprayed “SC runs LA” in red paint. The answer is to put the giant bear back “in hibernation,” surrounded by plywood. The coach John Wooden statue is also under duct-taped wraps, just like the Tommy Trojan statue on the USC campus. Student guards are posted to sleep overnight on a constant watch, because the surveillance cameras pointed everywhere can’t catch everything.
Oh, those wacky pranksters. No harm, no foul. Hardy har hijinx.
We’re still dealing with this felony vandalism garbage?
So, tell us your experiences of a USC-UCLA moment when someone made their mark doing something with class instead of crass.
Pledging allegiance to the Trojan Republic or Bruin Democracy is not so much about how you’d like to be remembered. Isn’t this more about how you should not be forgotten?
== There’s this well-intentioned Fan Hall of Fame website that ESPN has been trying to build. Candidate applications are being accepted through Sunday to determine the next three inductees to this “institution devoted to discovering, elevating, and celebrating greatness in sports fandom. At its core, it is meant to honor those who have gone above and beyond in their careers as fans.”
It’s a place where some get to brag on about their support and attendance records and tattoos and face paint.
Then you come across a guy like Scott Mulholland, neither a Trojan nor a Bruin, but a husker of corn from Nebraska. In his app for the ESPN Fan Hall, he included: “While working as the Director of Football Operations through the Iron N (a student support group for Nebraska athletics) last year, I helped organize the tribute for the fallen UCLA player Nick Pasquale to show how Husker fans truly are the classiest and greatest fans in college sports. A spectator goes to enjoy a game, a fan goes to cheer on their team. I go to continue a tradition of excellence, accountability and loyalty.”
For that noble gesture, can we give him our vote now?
== Why couldn’t the Dodgers jump ahead of the curve and arrange the Yasiel Puig-for-Giancarlo Stanton trade now instead of later? Or is the strategy to wait for the Marlins to give Stanton something in the $300 million range first before realizing they can’t afford him beyond a couple of years?
== The real MVP in Clayton Kershaw’s 2014 season? A.J. Ellis, as we’ve been reminded.
In every interview the Dodgers’ pitcher does now, notice how he’s worked in something about his catcher front and center amidst rumors the team will look to “upgrade” the position and perhaps circle back to Russell Martin? Why not just keep Ellis in the Kershaw “personal caddy” role?
== The real MVP in Mike Trout’s 2014 season? Albert Pujols hitting behind him in the lineup. Otherwise, wouldn’t Trout lead the MLB in BBs, instead of just cracking the Top 10?
== Considering their new/established endorsement deals, does a Kershaw-Dodgers and Trout-Angels meeting for the world championship someday have to be reframed as a Subway Series?
== How do you trust Donald Sterling when it comes to the antitrust lawsuit he’s filed against the NBA? He’s contending the league’s lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine is “egregiously excessive and utterly draconian” – phrases he likely learned from suits filed against him by former property tenants?
== If an NBA box score has a category for field goals attempted, and one for field goals made, why are we figure out how many field goals are missed, and why this is how some will want to remember Kobe Bryant as the all-time leader?
== The chances of Ed Orgeron charming his way back to USC? It’s unfortunately in his name: Coach 0.
== Need a definition of courage?
Tune in an hour before Sunday’s Raiders-Chargers game and discover CBS’ annual “Courage in Sports” special.
Look for Pacific Palisades’ Jesse Billauer, the 35-year-old who became a quadriplegic in a surf accident nearly 20 years ago but has thrived with his Life Rolls On Foundation to inspire disabled surfers. One of them is Patrick Ivison, who became a quadriplegic at 14 months old, saw Billauer enjoying life in the 2003 movie “Step Into Liquid,” and now, at age 14, pays it forward for others with spinal chord injuries. Along for the ride on the board is his golden retriever service and “surf” dog, Richochet.
== There’s a message about how to run away from death that we will never forget from surf legend and health nut Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz, who waved so long to us and passed away at age 93 last week.
From his book entitled “Surfing and Health” is this message:
“Phil Edwards, the greatest longboard surfer of all time, once said to me: ‘Nobody ever falls off a wave, they jump.’
“What he meant was: As soon as we see we’re in trouble, we bail out. Even though to everyone else, including ourselves, it looks like we just fell …
“Life thrives on moments. Live thrives on activity. Death is a scorekeeper tallying up how much we love life and how much we are willing to work for it.
“We die when we stop living.
“Humpty Dumpty didn’t fall – he jumped.”
That Dumpty character was just a shell of himself at the end. Doc, on the other hand, kept egging us to live on.