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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Bruins Cut USC Tradition from Saturday's Game

UCLA requested that USC stop its 41 year-old tradition at the next football game

USC's drum major stabs the ground to mark its territory before a football game. (Photo by Sarah Sax)
USC's drum major stabs the ground to mark its territory before a football game. (Photo by Sarah Sax)

The UCLA athletics department cut a USC football tradition, requesting that the Trojan marching band drum major refrain from stabbing the field at the beginning of Saturday's UCLA-USC game, according to a letter posted on Bruins Nation.

Since 1971, the Trojan Marching Band has made a grand entrance before each home and away game where the drum major walks to the center of the field on the 50 yd. line to stab the ground.

Should the drum major stab the Rose Bowl field on Saturday (as he has in years past), the UCLA logo would be demoralized, said the anonymous blogger.

"We find this response to be unacceptable and regret that we must find another way to keep the Trojans from insulting every member of the greater Bruin family," said the blogger.

The Nov. 11 blog post riled up UCLA fans and encouraged them to defend their Bruin pride.

"We want the Trojans to understand that it is not OK to come into OUR HOUSE and treat it with disrespect and without class," said the blogger.

USC drum line cymbal player Rachel Mattis said the Trojan tradition extends beyond the rivalry with UCLA.

"This is something we do on our own field; this is something we do at Notre Dame, Stanford, any game where the entire band is," said the senior. 

In Mattis' four years with the marching band, she has seen that the drum major's performance unites Bruins.

"One of my goals for this year is to unite students around the rivalry and use this rivalry to kind of bring students together around a common cause," said David Bocarsly, UCLA undergraduate student body president.

"I didn't think that there was ever any true intention to get rid of a tradition that brings them together as much as it brings us together," said Mattis. "It's really a symbol of the rivalry."

UCLA senior David Shamash said USC students' behavior is immature when they vandalize the Bruin campus.

"You don't get the right to show off all your glory and tradition if at the same time you're going to destroy our property right before," said Shamash.

Keeping with the rivalrous tradition of the two schools, a popular USC blog Arrogant Nation responded with a post of its own: UCLA Needs To Grow A Pair. Or Two.

"Do you deserve the right to command a team that beat you 50-0 to do anything? How about you can start making demands when you score," said the Arrogant Nation blogger, who is a USC alumnus.

The post proceeds to taunt UCLA to keep the Bruins' minds on the football game and not Trojan traditions.

"It's a shame that UCLA wants to deprive us of this tradition just so that their feelings are hurt a little less," said USC junior Aaron Taxy.

USC almnus Tamara Brooks has circulated a petition against UCLA's request to refrain from stabbing the field at the start of Saturday's game. So far, 714 people have signed the online petition and she said she expects more to show their support.

"I think it's important to stand up for our rights and uphold our traditions," said Brooks.

According to the petition, the act of stabbing the field signifies the start of "battle."

Bruins, however, feel that the rivalry has gone too far beginning with a PAC 12 video.

Bocarsly said the PAC 12 video began with the Trojan drum major stabbing UCLA's field and immediately the Bruin athletic department requested that segment be removed.

"We didn't appreciate that disrespect," said Bocarsly.

As undergraduate student body president, Bocarsly did not have a direct say in the athletic department's request. Although he does feel united to other UCLA students knowing his university is supporting a cause Bruins are "passionate about."


What a bunch of sissies to get their panties in a twist about this. How about using it as bulletin board material as well? You know, put it right next to a large print out of "50 to NOTHING!" Not sure they should need more bulletin board material, but hey, they're bRuins. Who knows how their minds work? I don't understand loser mentalities, so don't ask me. FTFO!

It's a sad day for our rivalry. I find it completely the opposite of "fighting on" to agree to such a petty and asinine request. When they ask us to wear blue and gold and stop playing Tribute under threat of revoking our Rose Bowl privileges, do we agree to that too? It would make a much bigger statement as to the pride of the Trojan tradition to stab the field as usual and let them ban our marching band in two years over their hurt feelings. It reflects poorly only on them.

Whiny cry baby bRuins. Baby blue is the perfect color for you....oh wait, that's right, you ditched those for the pretty white ones last year. Just because you have no traditions does not mean the rest of us do not. We actually care about our school and it's history. You are a bRuin for 4 years but a Trojan for life. Fight On!!

Such a petulant request can be expected from the Bruins and all this is a sad and ridiculous waste of time, but to COMPLY would be outrageous and cowardly.

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