Wednesday, January 22

Throwback Tuesday: Bruin reporter injured in game against Daily Trojan, avoids conscription

The UCLA-USC football game is stepped in many age-old traditions. One of those is the Blood Bowl, typically a flag-football game played by staff from the Daily Bruin and the Daily Trojan, USC's student newspaper. (Daily Bruin archives)

Throwback Thursdays are our chance to reflect on past events on or near campus and relate them to the present day. Each week, we showcase and analyze an old article from the Daily Bruin archives in an effort to chronicle the campus’ history.

Over the weekend, UCLA’s football team suffered a disappointing loss to our crosstown rivals, the University of Southern California. The fallout has been dramatic, with UCLA football coach Jim Mora facing the chopping block (more like Jim No Mora) and Bruin pride yet again being subjected to Trojan taunts.

UCLA’s and USC’s student newspapers also have a pre-football game rivalry of their own called the Blood Bowl that the papers revived this year, in which staff from the Daily Bruin and the Daily Trojan typically compete against each other in a friendly game of flag football. This year, the Daily Bruin – much like our home team – suffered a disappointing loss to the Daily Trojan. Unforuntately, 2017 just isn’t the year of the Bruin.

Of course, UCLA’s pride wasn’t always subjected to Trojan hegemony. In fact, in 1968, the Daily Bruin made a point of rubbing salt into the Trojan’s wounds and puffing its chest in arrogance.

In a Nov. 21, 1968, column published in the Daily Bruin, then-senior Sports writer Buddy Epstein described his experience winning the 1967 Blood Bowl.

“It may not be entirely correct to say that ‘SC is 100 percent bad, but it comes pretty damn close,” Epstein wrote. “In fact the only thing I can ever remember ‘SC doing right was keeping me out of the army.”

That’s right. Epstein reminded himself of the Daily Bruin’s victory at the Blood Bowl by cheering on the Trojans for helping him opt out of fighting in the Vietnam War.

Epstein described how he was the second-string defensive tackle in the 1967 Blood Bowl, and how he was stacked up against a Trojan who “must have been a guy from the taxi squad of the Colts” – referencing the NFL team from Baltimore at the time. He qualified the statement, though, saying he didn’t think the individual was a member of the Daily Trojan because “he didn’t have loafers and white socks,” but rather “growled and had foam at the mouth.”

He continued, stating his opponent held him back after each play because of his sheer size. Epstein said he eventually changed strategies and sidestepped as the supposedly Trojan “lunged his 200+ pounds” at him – a move that eventually allowed for him to take the opposing quarterback’s flag, and for The Bruin to beat The Trojan 20-14.

Epstein wrote that he visited the doctor a week after the victory, only to find that his stomach wall had slightly ruptured from excessive strain – most likely from the football game. He wrote that his doctor told him the injury wasn’t severe enough to require an operation, but that the army wouldn’t accept him to be drafted for the Vietnam War.

“As evil as SC is, and as dirty as they might play, some good can come from it,” Epstein wrote.

That maxim probably only applied to 1968, though. Unfortunately for the Bruin, Daily Trojan staffers won the Blood Bowl on Friday after eight rounds of overtime. The Trojan wasted no time flaunting its victory on Twitter, claiming the Friday Blood Bowl victory foreshadowed the Bruins’ Saturday football loss.

USC clearly had the last laugh this time. But, at least none of our staffers had to suffer stomach wall ruptures to escape a military draft – none that we know of, anyway.

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Senior staff columnist

Tadimeti was the Daily Bruin's Opinion editor from 2017-2019 and an assistant Opinion editor in the 2016-2017 school year. He tends to write about issues pertaining to the higher education, state politics and the administration, and blogs occasionally about computer science. Tadimeti was also the executive producer of the "No Offense, But" and "In the Know" Daily Bruin Opinion podcasts.

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