I love sports. I love it for all the emotions it brings us as fans. The pain sits with you until it’s partially covered by the next batch of success. For whatever reason that pain lingers longer than the jubilation but both are realities if you are a sports fan. On Sunday I covered the spectrum of emotions as a fan. I have been a lifelong UCLA Bruins fan. Both my parents attended the school and we have had season tickets to football games since before I was born. I actually remember my first game at the age of 3.
I took on the love of the Bruins because I witnessed it through my father’s eyes. He loved UCLA, he got frustrated with the Bruins, he despised USC, he rooted for the Pac 10, he probably gave them the benefit of the doubt too much but was what I would call a positive fan. I have taken on a lot of those traits myself. I don’t like to boo. It feels good to cheer. So now let’s fast forward to Sunday at the Rose Bowl.
As a Bruin fan for life I couldn’t wait for the season opener. The team was just outside of the top 25 but that didn’t matter to me. I was going to the game and I love being at the Rose Bowl. I can’t get to many games anymore but this was going to be my time to watch my team and the field that I love. What could go wrong? Well a lot went wrong. The team was hot garbage and I was a total mess. It was sticky and hot at the Rose Bowl and I just couldn’t cool off physically and emotionally. The team couldn’t stop Texas A&M and when the had the ball they kept giving it right back. The deficit was growing, the crowd was leaving, the temperature was rising, my excitement was diminishing and besides being with my wife and a friend since child hood there really was nothing to enjoy.
I can handle watching my team lose but this was different. They had nothing, no fight, no passion, and what seemed like no chance. Then a funny thing happened along the way. UCLA starting to figure out some things offensively and A&M started to implode a little. Then a break here and there and all of a sudden a 34 point 2nd half deficit was in striking distance. The Bruins grabbed momentum and held onto it for a thrilling ride. Josh Rosen couldn’t complete a pass in the first half. In the 2nd half he could close his eyes, turn the wrong way and heave it and would end up in an awaiting Bruins arms. Good fortune shifted sidelines, and the Bruins pulled off the 2nd largest comeback in the history of college football and I was there. It was exhausting. I was spent but I was smiling. From agony to ecstasy happened in the matter of a few hours. The Bruins were looking like the worst team to one of the best over 4 quarters of football.
In sports you usually don’t get that wild a swing of emotions but that is why we love sports is that unpredictability. Sunday was everything to me. All ranges of feels but the lasting one will be the memory that I will take forever. So my takeaway is this, be a fan, through thick and thin, stay to the end and hopefully your team wins. If they don’t, enjoy what you can of the ride and support your team through in good years and bad. The other takeaway is that it is always ok to root against USC.