USC lost to UCLA 34-27 this past Saturday at the Rose Bowl in one of USC’s worst defeats, capping off one of USC’s worst seasons in a long time.
But the Trojans’ downfall on Saturday was not the most important event of the week.
Two weeks ago, a gunman killed 12 people in a bar in Thousand Oaks. This past week, the Woolsey and Camp Fires have left over 80 people dead, hundreds of thousands of acres scorched and millions of lives affected.
So before we have conversations about how sad we are that USC will most likely go 5-7 this season, let’s first step back and realize how lucky we are to even be able to witness what we did on Saturday -— win or lose.
I assure you: I’m not trying to call USC fans spoiled.
The USC-UCLA game on Saturday was my last football game as an undergraduate student. To say that the loss left me heartbroken would be an understatement. Feeling the crushing defeat when the team had so many opportunities to put it away and come out with a win was nothing short of depressing.
But I would be lying if I said that loss was the most important thing or should be the most important thing on my mind. There is life outside of football.
Obviously, the potential expensive buyout of head coach Clay Helton will not be a fun endeavor for Athletic Director Lynn Swann and this administration. And freshman quarterback JT Daniels has some questions surrounding his decision-making skills going into the final week of the season against Notre Dame. And obviously, it’s not fun to watch USC lose game after game and have no accountability for a program that has been historically excellent.
But during this week of giving thanks, I implore you to be thankful for the past and present. The USC area is safe. We get to breathe clean air and attend a school that isn’t being threatened by fire. The football team’s record should not define our time at USC.
I do apologize to the die-hard USC fans, boosters and alumni who go to every game, wake up every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn to tailgate and watch this team. This season was admittedly tough, but a real fan watches the team and supports it no matter what.
Next month, I’ll be moving to Missoula, Montana. I will be living in a state with a quarter of the population of L.A. It’s a place where five-star recruits are as hard to find as a parking spot on Menlo Avenue.
But you know what you can find a Montana with ease? You can find loyal fans who don’t care whether or not the Montana Grizzlies win a bowl game, whether or not they score 50 points on a Division II cupcake, who don’t care what has happened this season as long as the people who they care about are watching it next to them.
Continually, USC and Los Angeles fans are attacked by the national media for not being loyal enough. But this week, I’ve grown sick and tired of defending Trojan fans, especially when all fans can talk about is winning.
Let’s be clear: I’m not here to defend Helton. Simply put, he cannot be defended, especially after the way this team has played in their past three games.
What I am here to tell you is that our school is nicknamed the “University of Spoiled Children” for a reason: People simply cannot see the bigger picture.
So the question is: In a year when expectations have not been met, how is this student body going to respond?
My time at USC is unfortunately up. But it’s not too late for you to be thankful.
Keith Demolder is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. His column, “Keith’s Keys,” ran every other Tuesday.