Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Notre Lame v. UCLA (misspelling intentional)

So the Irish are proud of winning are they? Proud of their Jimmy Clausen from Oaks Christian High School in Thousand Oaks who came to his home in southern California to "win" against dad's virtual neighbor in yesteryear now carrying the Irish torch. Oh Jimmy, how nice for you, croons the LA Times, to get a win in your home town.

Well, yeah, sure. But let's not forget who he was playing to get that win:
This time, Notre Dame (1-5) knocked UCLA quarterback Ben Olson out with a knee injury late in the first quarter, then hounded freshman redshirt McLeod Bethel-Thompson into a string of mistakes.

A walk-on pressed into the backup role for UCLA (4-2, 3-0 Pac-10) because of an injury to Patrick Cowan, Bethel-Thompson had not thrown a pass in a college game.

The Irish picked off four of his throws, with Crum getting two of them. He also recovered the quarterback's fumble and ran it in for a touchdown.
Even I know that third string QBs who haven't ever thrown a pass in a college game are likely to be easier to overcome than University of Michigan's back up for Henne. So yeah. Every time the Bruins fumbled or Bethel-Thompson threw an interception, sure the ND squad got a chance.

And they might as well feel good about finally converting those into points. But let's not crown Clausen king just yet. ND still has a long way to go to be anything worth more than a chuckle.

The Bruins, however, look pathetic and shouldn't. They were supposed to be a top 25 team this season. They have to face the rest of the fall with a third string QB whose first game was appallingly bad. Or in the words of Colin Cowherd, "Unwatchable."

Actually, we witnessed utterly unwatchable football on both sides of the ball. I have not watched a worse game of football that I can remember. The pee wee Trojans and Bruins at halftime (made up of 7-8 year old boys) injected more excitement into the stadium than all four quarters combined of the big game.

My buddy Steve Norris (who hosted me on the first night of the trip to LA) sat in the opposing end zone. What kept both of us in quasi-good moods? Texting. We leveled creative critiques at our beloved Bruins for 3/4 of the game.

It might have been tolerable to be at the worst game of the season if I hadn't been seated in the Notre Dame section. Oh the pathos! I used to root for ND before my undergraduate days. And there I was again, with my dad and two Erins (my sister and step-sister have the same name - the cruel irony). The Erins are not football fans. They asked questions like, "If the Irish are in the lead halfway through the fourth quarter, can we leave early?" Are you kidding me? How far is Ohio from LA? Why did I come?

Still, they were thrilled with the Irish victory and enthused, "We were your good luck charms!" to my Dad. They turned to me, "It's much better that Dad's team won. He deserves it and you won't mind as much." What the $#**%&#$@? Can I just admit here to my intimate crowd of cyber friends: Of course I minded! A dagger to the heart. Come on. I was outnumbered in every conceivable calculation (fans, family and first string quarterbacks). Was there no designated Bruin fan assigned to me in my misery?

Apparently not.

And for the first time in my adult life, I felt what my dad has modeled for lo these forty-five years - surly disgruntled resentment against the opposing fans following the loss of a beloved team (particularly one that was supposed to win). I glowered, unable to rebound and join in the family post-game chatter.

And that's why it's taken me three days to write about it.

Other than that, I had a great time in LA. Thanks for asking.


Dave said...

Great write-up, though I recognize the pain and strain it took to deliver it to us. Will write more later, but one quick note that I found interesting is that I have a step-brother named Dave and a sister and step-sister named Debbie! And we were all born within six months of our respective namesakes. Pretty wierd, huh?

julieunplugged said...

Okay that is just weird! In our case, I was always secretly glad that we had two Erins as it forced all new friends of the family to know that we were a divorced family and I couldn't be claimed as a "daughter" by the new step-mom.

Steve said...


I giggled all the way through your post. As you can see at my blog, it has been a tough week, but I still smile thinking of our sarcastic texts, and of our wonderful pool side chat.

You are coolness defined.