Happy Fourth of July.
Recently, our friends — and bitter rivals — at Reign of Troy put up a post detailing five reasons why U$C is America’s school.
The entire thing was, as you’d expect, mostly about their football program, although they mentioned their film prowess and Neil Armstrong, both of which took a back seat to the tired “football is awesome” narrative that Southern Cal students defer to whenever they’re hit with the realization that U$C is a really good school at best, rather than “elite” as they claim it to be. If football makes you an elite school, I’m guessing LSU and Alabama are both on the level of Harvard and Princeton now.
All while UCLA is considered an elite school while producing game-changing alum and not having any of our own wind up being the face of the “trial of the century” or getting DUI’s consistently or what have you.
The reasons that UCLA, not Southern Cal, is America’s school are numerous. Let’s outline them and in the same vain that our boys at RoT have done. (Except better, since UCLA always does everything better.)
10. Our football team sucks, but it still receives national attention
UCLA’s football program hasn’t been very good since the early years of Bob Toledo. That’s a very long decade, Bruins, and though we haven’t been great at football, the program is still talked about nationally. Jim Mora’s hire was pretty well scrutinized and his successes so far have been well-documented in the media. Our recruiting classes consistently finish in the top 25 and the Rose Bowl is an iconic venue that has been associated with UCLA for the longest time.
Our 6-6 seasons aren’t something to be proud of, but they still make news, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl has received an immense amount of … well, it was the butt of everyone’s joke, mainly because UCLA played in it.
Sure, the football team can be better. But overall, UCLA is still considered a “sleeping giant.” When the right pieces fall into place — whenever that may be — UCLA fans will enjoy another dynasty and will sit atop the college football mountain.
9. Jackie Robinson is the most important social figure in America’s Past-time.
If UCLA is known for anything, it’s for students’ and alums’ ability to effect change and demand that America’s standards be raised, even in avenues where politics are to be negated, such as sports.
UCLA alum Jackie Robinson managed to cross two barriers when he suited up for the Dodgers. Not only did he break the color barrier, he managed to make baseball — and sports in general — symbolic of the American spirit and effected the American political climate through an avenue that’s mainly seen as solely a form of entertainment.
Robinson helped to give sports meaning beyond entertainment. Baseball became America’s Past-time because men — Bruins — like Robinson broke down barriers and walls to impact the narratives that dominated America’s politics.
8. Ralphe Bunche wasn’t just the first black man to win a Nobel Peace Prize: He was America’s game-changer overseas
Your passive UCLA student just knows that Bunche is the guy that UCLA named a building after. The somewhat-more active UCLA student knows Bunche was the first black person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Your hardcore UCLA student knows exactly why Bunche was given a Nobel Peace Prize.
Once again, Bunche effected change, this time in a totally different arena: Foreign policy.
Bunche was an iconic diplomat that mediated one of the most difficult disagreements in world history, between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Bunche helped the states achieve an armistice in 1949 after a bloody war broke out between Arab states and Israel.
Overall, Bunche directly affected the political climate in an avenue that is the most unappreciated in America, which is that of foreign policy. Bunche helped American interests directly, overseas. How much more American can you get?
7. Vint Cerf? He modernized the way we Americans consume anything and everything, and is the Father of the Internet.
All 22 tabs you have open on Google Chrome (11 of them being undoubtedly on GoJoeBruin.com)? All those shoes you buy online at a discounted price? All the news you get in your RSS feed, the videos you watch on YouTube, the papers you procrastinate in Google Docs, your friggin’ email inbox? None of it would exist without Vinton Cerf.
Cerf is widely considered to be the Father of the Internet, modernizing the previous framework for the Internet — which, mind you, was also created at UCLA — by inventing TCP/IP, which are protocols that allow the Internet to be the Internet.
America has undergone an accelerated evolution and that evolution is undoubtedly centered around online communication. The way humans connect, the walls broken down between cultures and worlds, the acceleration of globalization, the way in which Americans are informed, all of it is impacted by the Internet.
America has progressed more in the past ten years than in the previous 100 years combined. You can thank Vint Cerf, who received his Master’s and Doctorate from UCLA, for that.
6. John Wooden is the greatest coach in sports history, because he did more than just win
It’s true that UCLA basketball coach John Wooden won ten national titles in his tenure as coach, and it’s true that Wooden helped put college basketball — and likely basketball in general — on the map.
However, the dude is widely considered the greatest coach in any sport because his teachings extended beyond the court. His Pyramid of Success has gone mainstream and he is one of the most quotable people in American history. His demeanor and his teachings are exactly what the American spirit should be about.
We can’t get into all his teachings, but look up “John Wooden quotes” sometime and watch this video, when you get the chance.