As our yearly rivalry week with USC winds down, the UCLA community should participate in the revelry of this great tradition while ensuring its integrity is kept.
UCLA and USC are both prestigious schools, and our decades-long rivalry surrounding the yearly football game has provided alumni of both schools, as well as the greater Los Angeles area, with fond memories.
The recent actions of both fans and athletics administrators have reduced this rivalry to nonsense.
Earlier this week, a UCLA plaque was vandalized to read “USC” with red and yellow penises drawn around it.
On Tuesday, the athletic departments of both schools agreed to stop a game-day tradition in which the drum major of the USC marching band, dressed up as Tommy Trojan, takes his sword and stabs the field at the 50-yard line.
Because the Rose Bowl has a UCLA logo at midfield, Bruin fans responded in outrage last year when a video of this pre-game ritual was used in an advertisement for the Pac-12 network and forced this commercial to be pulled off the air.
Now there is an agreement between the two schools to prevent this tradition during Saturday’s game in order to “protect a great rivalry and conduct it in the most mutually respectful way possible.” A statement from the USC athletic department said this move was made “in the spirit of cooperation and sportsmanship.”
We can all get behind cooperation, sportsmanship and mutual respect. But what is confounding is the reason why this harmless pre-game ritual was even an issue to begin with.
The covering of the recently unveiled John Wooden statue is also indicative of the state of the rivalry. While this board supports the covering of the Wooden statue by Bruin fans in order to protect the similitude of Coach from any Trojan attacks, we wonder why this rivalry has come to this.
To even consider that someone would suggest tarnishing the Wooden statue is unthinkable and reflects poorly on both sides.
This board believes in fostering a tradition between these two great Los Angeles schools that is healthy and respectful both of campus properties and of the rival team’s fans.
Humorous pranks and well-intentioned traditions have their place. And, at the end of the day, it is important to remember: The team that plays best during the game will carry the day despite all the talk and hype that occurs before the clock starts ticking come Saturday at noon.