There, now we can talk without any USC fans reading this post.
Now that we have some privacy, let’s talk. In this more intimate atmosphere, I feel like I can open up to you. Yes, you. The reader. You, the one wasting their employer’s important time, to come to our random site and read. Normally, you will see signs like this all over the place:
But for this week, we’ve covered those signs with these:
Oh yeah, it’s hate time. Many people look at my Die USC, Die knuckle tattoos and wonder if I am a bad person. But it merely means The USC, The in German.
And nobody who knows German could be bad.
So, about hatred. Wikipedia notes that: "Often the verb "to hate" is used casually as an exaggeration to describe things one merely dislikes, such as a particular style of architecture, a certain climate or some particular kind of food." Some people might say "But Twist, doesn’t this mean that you don’t *really* hate USC. It is just an exaggeration like your dislike towards a particular style of climate."
To that I would say "Where’s the exaggeration here? I fucking HATE the boreal forest taiga biome. Continental climates where precipitation increases during the summer months are an abomination of God!"
But no, I’m just joking about that. I don’t really know what the boreal forest taiga biome is, but I do fucking hate USC. I seem to have a mental illness. I’ll see a car with a USC license plate holder and be really upset for the next hour. It could be Mahatma Ghandi’s great-grandson Billy Ray Ghandi, it wouldn’t matter. At the DeYoung opening a few years ago, I saw a girl wearing a USC sweatshirt. I didn’t know anything about her at all. Whether she was a USC student or grad. But I started screaming a word in my head, which I’m not going to repeat here. But it was reclaimed by the Vagina Monologues, if that helps.
Clearly, I am sick. In the noggin.
So, what explains this perfectly rational emotion? What are the reasons any of us hate another team/fan base anyway? I think it breaks into 3 clear categories:
1. Actions of the fans.
2. Actions of the team.
3. Success of the team in relation to your own.
Let’s look at these one by one.
1. The actions of the fans: This is probably the #1 reason that people HATEHATEHATE USC. Because even when USC wasn’t all that good (i.e. when I was at Cal), their fans were still unsufferable. USC fans seem to lack the rampant insecurity inherent amongst Cal fans. Going to the Coliseum was like going into the lowest levels of Hell. USC fans, be they men, women, or children, would rain abuse down upon you.
Also, being in the band, we had our interactions with the self-proclaimed "Great Marching Band In The Universe," the Trojan Marching Band. If you don’t know anything about the USC Band, I envy you. The less, you know, the better. Firstly, on a general level, they only know 1 song. 1 song! And they play it about 50 times a game. Or more. We’ve counted. And they play it seemingly independent of what just transpired on the field. USC Touchdown? FIGHT ON! USC first down? FIGHT ON! USC fumble? FIGHT ON! Embarassing loss to 40 points underdog at home? FIGHT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
More particularly, they are run like some sort of neo-Nazi organization. Punishments for minor offenses include push ups and running laps. If they interact with an opposing team’s band, they run laps. And when you are out there performing, they will yell and rain abuse down upon you. Not particularly professional.
The craziest part was in 2002 when Cal v. USC happened to be Alumni Band Day (it was also Alumni Cheerleader Day, I’ve never seen so much plastic surgery in my life). The Alumni Band is even worse, because they have the built in need to yell swear words at anything non-USC in the nearby region. But they only have 1 game a year to do it in, so they have to get it all out. There is nothing weirder than a woman who could be old enough to be my mother screaming that she just fucked my mother. That certainly is going to create some hatred. I think they even threw a rock at us on the field. That’s a felony! And apparently back in the day, the USC band would throw golf balls at the Cal band. That’s GOTTA hoit!
Actually, no, the craziest part was 2001. It was in Berkeley. You might remember we did moderately poorly that year. What’d we lose, like 55-7? Something like that. We gave the USC band the standard 7 or so minutes for their field show (wherein they did the exact same show as we were about to do, which was odd and fuck them). Anyway, as the time was up, instead of finishing up their show and marching off the field, the band got on the ground and started playing on their backs. And just stayed there. It was like they were trying to annex our field or something. Instead of the normal lines the band uses to run onto the field, we physically just sprinted onto the field, just a few steps behind the quickly retreating USC band.
I’ve always wondered what would have happened if a Cal band member had actually caught up to a USC band member as we chased them off the field. Lamest fist fight ever? Indubitably!
"I’ll get you, USC marching band!"
That’s where my personal hatred most likely stems from. But for most, it just stems from the imperial arrogance of the fans. Like Yankees fans and Red Sox fans combined. But worse! And where do the fans take their cue?
2. Actions Of The Team: USC has to be one of the most arrogant teams I have ever witnessed. Case in point, 2005 National Championship game where during an on-field post-game interview Matt Leinart noted that the best team had lost that night. If USC was the best team, then why did they lose? USC was always a team filled with arrogance, but now that it is justified by success, they are unsufferable. The worst is their 4th down attempts. I remember at the 2005 game, when USC was smacking Cal. Even though they were dominating, they went for it on a 4th and 10. Of course, they got it, but there was no point in doing that save for pure arrogance.
And let’s not forget when Stanford defeated USC this year, Carroll wouldn’t even shake Harbaugh’s hand. The fans and the team take their cue from Carroll and there is nobody more arrogant, it would seem.
One of my favorite facial expressions of all times was the one that Pete Carroll made when the hail mary pass in the 2006 USC-UCLA game dropped incomplete and the game ended in a USC loss. All in one second, he went from elated (as it looked like the pass might be complete) to devastated (as their National Championship hopes were scrambled). God, I loved that.
So, from the very top of the food chain (Carroll) to the plankton at the bottom (Alumni Marching Band), USC fans seem to carry themselves in a very, very arrogant manner. And this is a key reason why everybody seems to hate them SO very much.
3. Success Of The Team: But probably the spiteful cherry on top of the delightful sundae of hate is the fact that during this era of unprecedented success for Cal, USC has stood in our way. Most teams with the record Cal has had the past few years would have been in at least 1 Rose Bowl. However, due to the historic success of USC this decade, we have been relegated to Holiday Bowls and Las Vegas Bowls. The frustration is only compounded by the Pac10s terrible bowl tie-ins where a supremely talented team like Cal, which is a big toe from the Rose Bowl faces off against inferior BigXII competition. Would Cal have defeated Michigan in 2006? I don’t know. But thanks to USC, we’ll never know will we.
Perhaps if Cal had made it to a Rose Bowl or two by now, we all wouldn’t hate USC as much. But God doesn’t have it in His merciful plan for things to be easy for Cal. It’s been a half-century so far and golly-gee darnit, we are going to have to wait at least one more year.
But that doesn’t mean the hate is any less this year. Both of these teams need the win more than anything. Both of these teams hate the other. And we have to get out there and do our best to help Longshore. I don’t know if that means ankle massages, but I’ll be first in line, if need be. Barring sensual massage, all I can do is get out there and scream. Scream like I’ve never screamed before, which, given that I’m married, is a tough bar to leap.
But this is USC! I can do it! GO BEARS! MOTHERFUCK USC!
"NOBODY CARES THAT YOUR FILM SCHOOL IS THAT GOOD!!!!! YOUR FAUX IVY-LEAGUE ARCHITECTURE IS EPIC IN POSERDOM!!!!!! YOUR CHILDREN WILL GROW TO RESENT YOUR ATTITUDE OF WEALTHY ENTITLEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOUR BEST KNOWN ALUM IS A MURDERER AND, WORSE, A TERRIBLE ACTOR!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!"