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March 27, 2006

Sons of Westwood

I think I’ve mentioned here before that my wife and I are both UCLA alumni. So you can imagine what a nice day it was for me on Saturday afternoon, watching them scrap and claw their way into the Final Four this weekend.

To say the least, it wasn’t what you would call a pretty game. There were tons of fouls and missed shots and missed free throws and turnovers and absolutely no rhythm to the game. Both teams scored fewer points than the UCLA football team put up in several games last fall.

Our local newspaper called it the most boring game of the tournament. My friend sent me an e-mail that said, “UGH. Horribly played game. Neither team deserved to win. Ugly ugly ugly.”

Despite all of that, I thought the game was beautiful.

Although it seems strange, I’ve had lifelong affection for UCLA, and I’m very grateful for the years I spent there. Last fall I wrote an article about how UCLA basketball set me on my life’s path when I was still a child. It’s not a running-related article, but it’s a nice circle of life-type story you can read here if you want.

UCLA was the location of a lot of beginnings for me. It was where I found the girl who would become wy wife, established a foundation for my career, and matured (somewhat) into an independent adult. It was also the place where I first became a marathon runner (a story I'll tell another time), training for countless hours on the beautiful campus with some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

Needless to say, I have fond memories of my time there. Although I no longer live near Westwood, whenever the school sits in the national spotlight, I remember all of the good times I had and great things I learned. And when it comes to college basketball, seeing UCLA in the Final Four just feels natural, like it’s the way things should be.

So if you’re looking for somebody to cheer for this weekend…well, cheer for George Mason, because those guys are amazing. But if UCLA comes through and wins the whole deal, know that I’ll be watching at home with an enormous smile on my face, knowing that everything is right in the world. Go Bruins!


olga 3/27/06, 11:30 AM  

Nice to have memories like this...

backofpack 3/27/06, 1:55 PM  

I liked the article. You are absolutely right - we never know what little thing we do will be pivotal for our children. We never know which thing will become a treasured memory and which will be long forgotten. I guess it makes us work harder as parents.

BuckeyeRunner 3/28/06, 4:41 AM  

Great post and article.

I didn't have a dog in the fight for the NCAA title, but now, the Bruins have a new fan.


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