When you cross the Los Angeles County line, you go through a checkpoint. They stop your car and they ask you: “Trojans or Bruins?” Well, not exactly, but as far as rivalries go, the one between USC and UCLA is pretty fierce and few get away without choosing sides. Around town, you’ll see couples who agree to disagree and fly a flag out front reading: “A house divided.”
Well, seeing as I was a Lewis and Clark Pioneer (Go Pios!), I wouldn’t generally choose sides on this one, but my boyfriend is a DIEHARD Trojan (He currently has USC Christmas lights around his door).
My university’s namesakes
Fortunately, my father is an equal opportunity fan since although he did undergrad at UC Berkeley (where he has season tickets), he went to USC and University of Oklahoma for medical school.
On my first visit to LA, my boyfriend decided to ease me into the culture by dropping me smack dab into the crimson and gold sea that is USC tailgating. There’s no real way to ease into a crowd of over 100,000 assorted hardcore fans and/or hardcore partiers, pinatas, tents, barbecues and flags. In LA parlance, there is a GRIP of people. Apparently, this is what people habitually do on Saturdays in the fall. It’s insanity. With barbecue on the side.
There were a few more traditions that I needed to be introduced to including: The USC Fight song. I don’t even know my university’s fight song. We’re division 3, a fact which made my boyfriend snort milk out his nose. Our fight song is probably holding us back. Behold.
Now here’s the USC fight song:
USC Fight Song
My recording doesn’t capture the hundreds of people punching their fists in the air with a V for victory. Truthfully, it’s frightening.
Here’s another Trojan marching band classic, the eloquent and timeless “UCLA Sucks”:
If you doubted the animosity of the rivalry, well, this song is played repeatedly at EVERY game, not just the UCLA game. Also of note, at the USC book store, you can purchase a board book called “My first counting book,” which your 2-year-old can use to count Trojans, song girls and other major cultural touchstones of USC culture.
The “song girls” are the cheerleaders, but if you ask me, they’re a bit weak sauce since they don’t do any acrobatics.
The guys don’t seem to mind.
But the band and cheerleaders are just the start. USC has its own Trojan and he has a might mount: Traveler.
People, this is for real. Traveler has his own Web site. Well, if there were any doubt that there exist cultural differences between northern and southern California, I think we can lay that to rest. And all my Bruin, Aggie and Banana Slug friends, when you come to visit, just keep your loyalties on the down low. Go Trojans!