This weekend was the big UCLA vs. USC football game. The two colleges are extremely competitive with each other, and the week leading up to the game was filled with ‘F@*% USC!’ chants and posters. The main source of the rivalry between the schools isn’t so much a sporting issue but a social one – while UCLA is a publicly funded school, USC is known for being very very expensive and having a higher rate of acceptance. As a result, the general stereotypes are that UCLA is for ‘poor’ but smart people, while USC students are perceived to be stuck up, rich and stupid. This, of course, is largely rubbish – there are rich people at UCLA and very bright people on scholarships at USC. That doesn’t stop the students going at each others throats once a year during football season, however.
One UCLA legend (according to Yaz, who was fuzzy on the precise details) goes that a years ago, a group of USC students thought it would be hilarious to spray paint a box of cockroaches red and release them in Royce Hall in the week before the game. However, they foolishly didn’t anticipate that spraying a box full of insects with paint would kill said insects, and so all they left behind was a pile of dead, red bugs on the doorstep. To UCLA students, this epitomises the arrogance and stupidity of their rivals.
I thought that although there was a degree of personal prejudice against the USC students for going to a private school, it would largely consist of the odd drunken chant or muttered comment.
How wrong I was.
The moment we were dropped off on USC Frat Row in our bright blue gameday gear we were met with heckles and shouts of ‘UCLA is for peasants’. When trying to join the tailgates along the street, USC girls were given priority over us, meaning we struggled to get into any houses before the game began. People walked past with ‘fucla’, ‘don’t Bruin your life’ and ‘pUblic School suCks’ tops, jeering in our faces. To be fair, the UCLA fans fought back where they could with chants and jibes, but we were incredibly outnumbered!
The game was fun, although we did lose in the end, and I still don’t understand the rules. Every time I think I’m getting it, the play stops and I’m lost again. I hear the UCLA coach was fired soon after the game – poor dude. My friend Matt from Trinity who is studying abroad at USC this year came and found me and said hello, which was lovely! Also I remembered to bring my prescription (sun)glasses, so at least I could kind of make out what was going on around me!
Yaz’s boyfriend, Tom, kindly picked us up afterwards and drove us back to campus, through the sketchy streets of Compton where USC is located. I had a good day, although it was a little emotionally and physically draining! Nothing a good De Neve Late Night burger couldn’t fix, though.