It’s been six months since I last posted on this site…
I was the first lead editor of GoJoeBruin.com when the site launched in October of 2011, covering not only UCLA football and basketball, but also touching on other sports like women’s volleyball (defending NCAA champions!) and women’s gymnastics, to show that the Bruins are not solely about what happens on the gridiron and the hardcourt.
After leaving Go Joe Bruin this past February to focus on other writing commitments, I felt that I could write opinion articles on this site once a month, to give Go Joe Bruin an alumni’s perspective – I’m a UCLA alum, class of 1991 and yes, I know I’m old – so here I am.
As an alumnus, I have a perspective that Bruins who currently attend and have attended UCLA in this century don’t necessarily have, in that in the 24 years that I have been involved with Bruin Nation dating back to my student days, I have seen and experienced many things.
For instance, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman was in one of my classes during my first quarter in Westwood. I have also shared classrooms with athletic standouts such as basketballer Tracy Murray, leading running back Shawn Wills, and all-time softball great Lisa Fernandez.
Not to mention being a member of the UCLA Bruin Marching and Varsity Bands, traveling to places like Dallas, TX for the Cotton Bowl and the San Francisco Bay Area for the Cal and Stanford football games, and seeing countless other football and basketball contests due to my ability to play the tenor saxophone.
During my first ten years after I got my degree from UCLA, the Bruins have provided many thrills, starting with the fact that unlike nearly every current Bruin on campus, I actually know what the Victory Bell looks like as the football team beat USC a record eight straight times in what is known in Westwod as “The Streak”, lasting from 1991 to 1998.
The most memorable win over those Trojans in that span – and arguably the greatest Bruin victory ever - was the 48-41 double overtime thriller in 1996 when the Bruins staged a 17-point comeback in the fourth quarter to force what is still the only overtime game in the history of the crosstown rivalry. I was proud to have been among the more than 80,000 fans in the Rose Bowl that afternoon when Skip Hicks ran 25 yards to score the winning touchdown.
I also fondly remember the basketball team’s unforgettable 1994-95 season, when Ed O’ Bannon and Tyus Edney led UCLA to their first national championship since the John Wooden era with a record-setting 31 wins; I’ll never forget Edney’s run and lay-up with 4.6 seconds left to beat Missouri.
It’s hard to believe that I am entering my 25th year as a member of Bruin Nation.
As one can see, I have experienced much in that span, and am particularly looking forward to seeing the football team going in a new direction of commitment and accountability under Jim Mora.
Can those Bruins return UCLA to the football success that they were accustomed to in the 1980s and 90s? That remains to be seen, but it will be quite interesting to watch.
And I will be on this site once a month to offer my thoughts and opinions on what’s going on not only on the Bruin gridioron, but also in other things pertaining to UCLA athletic, because unlike a certain other school 11 miles away and located just south of downtown Los Angeles, Bruins understand that there’s more to college sports than just football.
It’s good to be back – Go Bruins!