Nasty Business

It's UCLA. We Hate That School.

By Tom Danehy

EIGHT REASONS WHY the UA men's team absolutely must beat UCLA on Saturday. And it has nothing to do with momentum heading into the NCAAs. You'll recall that when the Cats won the NCAAs two years ago, they were coming off a season-ending twin thumping in the Bay Area.

1. It's UCLA. We hate that school. Over the years, UCLA has been transformed from noble giant to classless behemoth. When John Wooden was there, the Bruins could do no wrong. They stood for truth, justice, and NCAA championships fairly won.

After he retired, his aura permeated the place for a while, but as the years went by, they got further and further away from what they'd been and what they should have remained. Now they're just L.A. punks, tattooed thugs in baggy shorts. They're Axl Rose with a vertical leap.

This is how bad it is: I would root for ASU to beat UCLA.

2. Stanford has won the Pac-10 crown, but finishing second with freshmen playing all over the place would be a stunning achievement for Lute Olsen and his squad.

I'm not usually the type where it's not enough for me to succeed; everyone else must fail. But the only thing better than the UA finishing at or near the top of the standings will be the fact that highly-touted UCLA will finish beneath the Wildcats.

3. Did you see that picture of John Ash in last Friday's paper, with his head in his hands? The poor dude was distraught over losing to Cal. And that was just Cal. I don't ever want to see a picture like that again. Do you understand me? And there's no telling where his head might be if his team gets swept by UCLA and loses on Senior Night at home to the infidels.

4. There's a very good chance Sports Illustrated will name Jason Terry College Basketball Player of the Year. This means he'd be featured on SI's cover for its NCAA Tournament issue next week.

(And forget about all that nonsense about the cover being a jinx. There may be isolated incidents where the cover person had some bad luck later on, but look at the people who've been on the cover. There was that horse once that had to be destroyed. And that Michael Jordan guy got on the cover a few times and turned into the World's Largest Anus. Rebecca Romijn was on the cover of the swimsuit issue and nothing happened to her. No wait, she married John Stamos. Okay, so maybe there is something to the jinx business.)

Just have the Cats beat UCLA, have JT go for 40, then have him decline the cover shot. Ah, the celebrity, the mystique of it all.

5. UCLA has been wearing BLACK road uniforms. This is the most unholy transgression of them all. The school colors are powder blue and gold. Do you see black there anywhere?

It's a vulgar attempt to get more money in retail sales of jerseys to mindless street clods and other impressionable children. Over the past decade, black has become the "in" color for those morons who think they're pretty fly for a white guy.

The only problem is that it has absolutely nothing to do with UCLA. One big thing that sports teams and institutions of higher learning have in common is the burning need to cling to tradition and reap the benefits derived therefrom.

When it comes to the history of NCAA basketball, UCLA is the undisputed king. People might throw out names like Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina, but UCLA has more championships than all of those schools combined. Why turn your back on a heritage like that just to sell a few extra over-priced shirts at Champs?

One good thing to note: The Bruins have a horrible record when they play in those black monstrosities. Let's see if they're stupid enough to wear them here. Yeah, put those things on in McKale and then bend over.

One other note: According to fashion industry sources, the booming sales of athletic gear have crested and are heading down. Today's pathetic young people have moved on to hip-hop gear. Yes, they want to plunk down $150 for a hot-orange faux baseball jersey that says "FUBU" on the front and the idiotic "05" on the back. This identifies the wearer as a member of a unique group, one of a few hundred thousand people willing to spend their entire week's pay at Wendy's to buy something they won't even want to use to wash their car with in a couple years.

6. Nobody likes UCLA. Oh sure, there are probably a few UCLA alums in the Old Pueblo, but they generally keep their dirty little secret to themselves and we, in turn, leave them alone.

My friend Jay claims to be a UCLA fan, but I think it's just a cry for help. He has other issues. He used to be a stud ballplayer until Home Town Buffet opened. Now he's more like two stud ballplayers.

They even have a picture of him at the cash registers, like those people who pass bad checks. When the video camera spots him coming, the signs on the wall automatically switch over to "All You Can Eat Within Reason."

Last time he was there, they told him he'd have to go through the line sideways. He replied, "Dude, I don't have a sideways!"

I don't know why he roots for UCLA. Maybe he's suicidal. Maybe he feels like a loser inside, so he openly roots for a loser on the outside.

Or maybe it's because he was born and raised in Los Angeles. Naw, that can't be it.

7. Baron Davis thinks he's a baller. But he ain't even a shot-caller. Hey, I listen to Hot 98-FM.

8. Over the Pac-10 years, games against Stanford have been exciting, games with ASU have been tight, but games with UCLA have been blood matches. And it's not just when the two are battling for the top spot in the Pac-10. If they were fighting for 9th and 10th (God forbid!), it would still be nasty. We wouldn't want it any other way. TW

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