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As I've noted, however, attending the reunion event was
a somewhat spontaneous decision for me. That's because for all my
self-proclaimed "I bleed blue and gold" associations,
I have never before partaken in an official UCLA alumni function.
I have always felt that being a UCLA alum in many ways spoke for
itself. It needs neither explanation nor excessive display.
Not like our cardinal-and-gold rivals. I have always felt that
declarations of the "Trojan Family" were overtly effusive
and ostentatious. It reminded me of the notion that if you say something
enough times and prominently display it enough times, you may actually
start to believe it.
On the other hand, just the four letters U ... C ... L ... A provide
a simple but effective connotation. Has an alum ever had to say
they were part of "the Bruin Family" or an official member
of "Bruin Pride"? No. UCLA is self-explanatory. It has
always implied a world-class education, preparation for a successful
post-graduate life, a reputation without peer and, if you can make
yourself forget that the last two years ever happened, a superior
So what I have always felt, or wanted to feel, is that UCLA as
an institution need not require excessive self-promotion or chest
thumping by the masses. Do Bruin alumni really have to be spurred,
invited, encouraged or even downright prodded to announce their
true colors? Was this truth not held to be self-evident? Did I really
need to attend an official alumni function to reinforce my eternal
loyalty to the alma mater?
Yet, I felt compelled to attend. Why was that? Was it to catch
up with long-lost friends? Not necessarily. I had no expectations
about seeing anyone and, as noted, I am still close with most of
the people who were my friends in college. In fact, in looking around,
I really didn't see a lot of "I haven't seen you in so long
..." going on as much as I saw people just having a good time.
I also didn't find myself or anyone else breaking out into spontaneous
bursts of spirit. I didn't perform any sudden eight-claps, high-five
Joe Bruin or point out to my girlfriend the exact spot in Pauley
where I sat when Ed O'Bannon kissed center court on his last home
game. Although, of course, one could argue that decorum was as good
a deterrent as any on that one.