TROJANS vs BRUINS
For an Indian cricket fan, watching his team defeat Pakistan gives him an extra bit of satisfaction than when they over power any other oppositions and on the same time, he becomes a bit more despair when it is Pakistan that ends up in the better side of the game, than he would have when the opposition is someone else. Even recently, when India was eliminated from the ICC T20 World Cup, many would have consoled them through the fact that the clean slate against Pakistan is still maintained. Be it the Ashes, the El-Classico in Spanish football or the Manchester derby in EPL, rivalries have always increased the emotional quotient involved in the game. Suddenly you see a fan wanting nothing else, but his team to emerge victorious against that particular foe. Rivalries are an integral part of any kind of sport and they aren’t just restricted to the highest level of competition. Even in my college days one could see rivalry among the various departments in playing the game of cricket and you could very easily see this sporting rivalry creeping out of the playing arena out into the daily routine and the sight of the members of the rival units take a dig at each other every now and then, is a common sight, most times falling into the casual and just for fun category in this case. Rivalries can be worse than this. Having come into the Trojan family of the University of Southern California, I have inevitably become a part of the long standing rivalry that exists between the University of Southern California and the not very far away, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). This rivalry being a long standing one has a long history over the years and today has become a part of the culture of both the universities. As I said earlier, rivalries in sport does creep out of the arena and makes its presence felt in other avenues as well. Or in general two units which develop a rivalry between each other in some or the other field just extend their tussle to all the other fields they can. This has been the order of the world as far as I believe. If you ask someone which is the greatest cricketing rivalry today, debate may go on between India-Pakistan and Australia-England. But the former was just an extension of a political rivalry, the reason for which is still hard for me to comprehend. So today USC and UCLA are rivals. Arch rivals. Though I may say that USC and UCLA have become full-fledged rivals, the greatest joy for a member of either side is to see his team beat the other in a sporting field. I don’t know if USC faculties and UCLA faculties compete among each other to come up with better quality research papers, but every single soul in USC wants UCLA uprooted in a sporting clash with humiliation. The same holds the other way around too.
So I happened to get a first glimpse of this rivalry in a volley ball match played between these two teams. So I just witnessed a game of volleyball in which USC played against and other team, and naturally any member of the USC family will want his team to win. USC fans hooting for their team to go all out against their opposition is just natural. They want their team to win. But this wasn’t the first volleyball game that I got to see USC play. Two weeks before this clash I saw a match between USC and Notre Dame. Having seen that match before this encounter, I could say, “Oh yeah, this is a one heck of a rivalry”. The difference between the intensity of both these matches sums up the heat of the rivalry. Even the turn out for this particular match was higher than that for any usual match. As this happens to be a match between universities in the same city, there were a sizable number of supporters for UCLA also. For any other match, the students could just sit where ever they want in the stadium. But on this occasion both USC and UCLA students were made to sit separately. It seems things have gone ugly in the past. Each team had their own way of cheering their teams, shouting out slogans in support of their team. This is how the UCLA supporters went. They would shout “UC”, followed by two claps, “LA” followed by two claps, then again “UC” followed by two claps and this goes in a cycle. So it reads like this. UC, “clap-clap”, LA, “clap-clap”, UC, “clap-clap”, LA, “clap-clap”. Though USC fans had their own way of chanting they were more interested in making some enhancements to the UCLA chanting. All they did was simply over writing “sucks” during every alternate clap, starting from the second. So this is what one actually hears. “UC, “clap-clap”, LA, “SUCKS”, UC, “clap-clap”, LA, “SUCKS”. And the cycle goes on. In an arena were the USC supporters outnumber the UCLA supporters at least by a ratio of one to four, they were just pushed to their own corner.
But one gets to see the real rivalry during the football and basketball matches, though the football match is more intense than the basketball. Football is indeed a big deal here. Historically, USC have been a better team in football and UCLA have a better record on the basketball court. On any football match day, the security in the host campus is beefed to prevent any undesirable events. The statue of “Tommy Trojan” which serves as an emblem for USC is covered to make sure no one adds to the splendid work done by the craftsmen. The same happens in UCLA also. All important structures are brought under security cover to prevent any unwanted happenings.
This feeling of rivalry is not just among the students, but also among the faculty and stuff. Even the general public have their favourite team, and go all out in support of it. I have had instances where the faculties took a dig at UCLA. I don’t exactly remember the context, but when explaining problem situations, we just came across a scenario that showed complete lack of professionalism. The way it was described, would convince you that the person described in the problem has to be an idiot, and immediately the Professor commented that, the guy has to be from UCLA. Not once but twice, each time by different Professors. This rivalry is deep rooted and is being transcended to the coming generations. Sometimes it looks ugly, but it does add to heat of the competition and does raise the standards. Whatever be it, this is here to stay. And all I could say for the time being is “GO SC”. “BEAT UCLA”.
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