Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall Is The Best Season, But Not For The Reasons You Think

Fall is my favorite time of the season.

Oh sure, the weather is more crisp, the leaves turn bright colors, blah, blah, blah.

I'm from Southern California. Nothing like that ever happened to me until I spent a year on the East Coast.

No, Fall is my favorite time of the season because that's FOOTBALL season.

More specifically, it's COLLEGE FOOTBALL season.

More specifically than that, it's UCLA COLLEGE FOOTBALL season.

And with the girls now 14 months old, it was time for them to learn a little bit about Bruin Football.

Caroline & Katherine - Future Bruins
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There is nothing better than college football.

You can have the NFL.

Going to an NFL game is like going to Disneyland. The whole experience is so contrived.

Cheerleaders with no real ties to their team and who don't really cheer. Fans wearing the latest jersey of their team that will be redesigned in about six weeks just to make you buy another one. Loud rock music blaring through speakers in modern stadiums built yesterday. Endzone celebrations and player conduct controlled, monitored, and checked. Million dollar players mugging for the camera for making routine tackle.

College has tradition. There is nothing faked about the passion college football invokes.

The fans are students or alumni with ties to their team. The UCLA script on the helmet hasn't changed in 50 years, nor has the "M" on Michigan's helmet, nor the bright red "N" of Nebraska. A burnt orange Longhorn means only one thing -- Texas.

The cheerleaders are students. They actually lead the fans in cheers.

The band members are students (except for USC, who pays local musicians and community college kids to play in their band). Instead of rock music coming through speakers, you have "Sons of Westwood", "Hail to the Victor", and "On Wisconsin".

The Bruins play in the greatest football stadium on Earth -- the Rose Bowl.

College games feature elite athletes, but a walk-on with no future in the NFL can come out of no where and lead his team to victory.


We day started early, with the girls getting dressed in their UCLA cheerleader outfits by Mommy and Grandma.

Getting Ready for the Game with Grandma
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We left for the game early to secure our tailgate spot with friends. We arrived at the Rose Bowl at 12 pm, with kickoff not until 4 pm. Plenty of time to sit back, relax, and tailgate with friends.

True Blue Bruins
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Tailgate food on this day consisted of chicken fajitas, carne asada, and teriyaki chicken, with of course generous helpings of chips, dips, and too many desserts to mention.

The girls had a great time running around the lawn, chasing Mom or Dad, or running around with a small football (For those of you who have not tailgated at the Rose Bowl, the entire stadium is surrounded by a golf course, and you tailgate on the greens).

Caroline Enjoying the Tailgate
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Once inside the stadium just before kickoff, the girls had a great time clapping as the band played their pregame music, and cheered with the crowd as the Bruins took the field.

The Lim Family at the Rose Bowl
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Katherine then promptly fell asleep.

Yep, seems four hours of eating, running around, and throwing a football can tire out a 14 month-old. Katherine slept for about an hour, until mid-way through the second quarter.

Caroline fussed a bit longer, until she too fell asleep mid-way through the first quarter, then woke up just before halftime.

The second half, the girls enjoyed watching the crowd and reacting to music the band was playing. Luckily, being in Southern California, it never got too cold, so we were able to stay for the whole game.

The girls got a lot of compliments on their uniforms -- people shouting out: "Look at the future Bruins!" Things to make a father proud.

Final score: UCLA 27, Arizona 7.

Go Bruins!
(click on photo for larger view)


Amy said...

Oddly enough, as soon as I read that fall is your favorite time of the year, I immediately knew it was because of football.

You guys (y'all) are braver than I am--we haven't yet worked up our nerve to take them to a game yet. Seriously, though? I can't wait to do it.

Amy said...

OOPS--forgot to say just how precious the girls looked in their cheerleader uniforms!

Anonymous said...

I haven't braved taking mine to a game yet either.

But I'll still take the NFL (obviously in addition to college football) and I'll take it in the same chairs.

Those are Bucs shirts, you just can't tell from the back.