Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Better Luck Next Time

Last weekend was wonderful, going back to Ohio with Wendy, seeing the parents, and just chilling out. All good feelings - except for the UCLA football game. Now, I am not a sports fanatic, but I have a rooting interest in college football for Penn State (my father's tried-and-true alma mater) and UCLA (ah, so many years ago in Westwood now...). When Saturdays roll around in the fall, I keep my mobile phone close at hand - if I'm not in front of the television at some point - to keep tabs on game results. What happened over the last weekend was a cock-up of mammoth proportions, as UCLA went down to the wire and lost in stunning fashion to Notre Dame.

I also have to admit another thing - there is something about Notre Dame that really gets on my nerves. Maybe it is the rabid adoration of their fans and alumni. Maybe it is the "holier-than-thou" feeling that emanates from Touchdown Jesus and the lore of their football team. Maybe it is just plain frustration at not having a few more interesting football stories to tell about days gone way past (Notre Dame was America's team back in the 1950's, a legacy that seems to linger even when modern-day realities suggest differently). But that feeling is there, which compounded my feelings about last weekend's game.

In short, UCLA lost on a last-minute drive consisting of three Notre Dame plays culminating in a touchdown pass that found an elusive receiver shirking tackles like Donald Rumsfeld takes responsibility for the Iraq debacle. But that is beside the point. What I do know is that 20-odd seconds was all it took to wipe out 59 minutes of glorious football where UCLA was able to play convincingly well as to think it has a shot to win out the rest of its games and get into a very good bowl game. The reality is that I'll have to wait another year to feel like we've got a shot at the Pac-10 title.

Oh well, it's all in good fun anyway - better luck next time...
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