Monday, December 05, 2005

USC Football Experience

Hey all. We have been away all weekend. Our family experienced the USC vs. UCLA football "game of the year" up close and in person!

Our trip started on Friday night. We met our kids at my daughter's apartment and I had my belated birthday celebration at Claim Jumper. After having a great meal, my kids gave me a card and presents! My son gave me my favorite fragranced candles and my daughter bought me a few items from the Christian book store. She gave me the "Day of Fire" CD, a book called, "Darwin's Proof: The Triumph of Religion Over Science," and a car license plate frame that says, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven by a God who is!" My daughter knows me so well!

My husband gave me a great gift. A GPS for my car! I will never get lost again! It came in quite handy for this trip, too. We stayed at the Marriott and later found out that was where the USC team stayed.

Everything went smoothly, at first. We all got up at 5:00 a.m., met our friends Pam and Tim in the lobby and followed them to the tailgate parking lot at the coliseum. After waiting in line for 45 minutes to get in, a patrol car abruptly pulled up and cut off the stream of traffic. The "passes only" sign went up and there was nothing we could do but drive on. Tim and Pam made it in, but we didn't. Now what do we do? We were totally unfamiliar with the area and didn't know where to find parking. After driving around for about 15 minutes and seeing "passes only" signs all over the place, we were grateful to find the USC parking garage. The bad news is that it was about a 2 mile walk to the coliseum! There we were, hauling our chairs, the few groceries we could manage to carry and the smaller of the two coolers we had brought for the tailgate party. It was 7:30 a.m. and the shuttle buses don't start operating until 9:00!

In addition to that, we didn't know which direction to go in order to get to the field. I thought, "Lord help us have the strength to carry all this stuff!" Moments later, a man with a USC hat in a small passenger vehicle with "parking management" designation all over it pulled up and got out. My husband asked him which way we should walk to get to the coliseum and the young man said the words that were music to our ears! "If you'd like to wait a few minutes while I post these signs, I'll give you a ride over there." Oh joy! Thank you Lord! We were so fortunate and so thankful to this man for offering us a ride and being willing to drive us to the tailgate area! We presumed that he was part owner of the parking complex because he thanked us for parking there.

We met up with Pam and Tim at their tailgate site and had a tasty breakfast. Pam and my son went over to the College Gameday broadcast. They met Pam's daughter and two of her friends there. After the broadcast, they came back to the tailgate party. My husband got into the USC spirit and bought a USC t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat for our son and scarf for our daughter. I was trying to remain neutral, although I did favor USC. The reason was because UCLA is Pam's alma mater while her husband Tim and daughter Katie graduated from USC. Poor Pam. She certainly was visibly outnumbered in her light blue UCLA jacket and hat amidst a sea of USC red and gold!

The USC team spirit is fanatical! And, the rivalry between the USC Trojans and the UCLA Bruins runs deep! Some of the sayings on the t-shirts were hysterical! Many are too vulgar to post here though! (Good thing the "hate crimes" police weren't on campus! heh heh...) I guess I could tell you about one t-shirt that I spotted while, of all places, on line for the porta-potties. It's a little gross and mean...but not as bad as many others I had seen. It was a picture of a person wearing a USC shirt sitting on a toilet. The caption read, "A Bruin is born." I just had to laugh! The people in line must have thought I was nuts...standing in line, alone, at the porta-pottie site laughing. There were hundreds of stuffed animal "Bruins" bears hanging on ropes and suspended on sticks being dragged in the dirt and stomped on. I's all in fun. But I wouldn't stomp on any bears for the sake of my friend Pam's alma mater! There were gangs of fans with faces painted blue running through the USC tailgate spots shouting fighting words for their team. That's when the Bruin stuffed bears got the most abuse!

It was amazing. People really do it up big time at these tailgate parties. EVERYTHING seems to have the USC designation on them. The chairs, the tablecloths, the clothing, red and gold body paint etc. Some even had T.V.s set up to watch the game! Maybe they didn't have tickets to get in.

We walked over and had lunch at the Dr. Pepper tailgate party. The food was really good and we chatted with some of my husband's co-workers and their families. They had a football target throwing area and of course all the men went over to try to toss the footballs through the small hole in the Dr. Pepper balloon bottle target. My son did great! Because he is a college baseball pitcher, he has a very accurate arm. I just never knew he could also throw a football so well!

We entered the stadium at 12:30 and had to part ways with Pam and Tim. Their season ticket seats were located in section 17 and we were several rows up over to the right in section 16. We spotted them and waved every so often. We sat in the Dr. Pepper seats that we had gained through our winning bid at a charity auction. It felt good to know that the money spent went to the Boys and Girls Club of San Diego.

We watched as the sparce crowd filled to capacity (@92,000!) by gametime. Shortly before the kick-off, a group of 15 10-yr.-old boys sat in the seats directly in front of us. They were so excited! I'm sure that they were sponsored by an organization. With ticket prices going at $1,000 each outside the stadium, these boys must have realized the privilege of attending THIS game. At one point, one of the chaperones asked my daughter if she would go along with a plan he devised to celebrate the birthday of one of the boys. He previously had told the boy that he would "find a girlfriend for him" at the game. So, my daughter put her acting skills to work. She stood up, waved and smiled at the boy who was seated about ten seats down from her. She even kissed her hand and blew a few kisses his way! The boy turned as red as his USC t-shirt! It was too cute. Later, the same chaparone brought 3 other teen girls over by his seat (they were in an aisle row). This 10 yr. old was now surrounded by beauty! And boy, could these kids eat! They had soda, hotdogs, frozen lemonade, huge bags of popcorn. What a thrill that day must have been for them!

We had some UCLA fans near our seats. I kinda got the feeling that this game would end up being a blow-out for USC when one of the UCLA fans cheered because USC didn't score on their first possession of the ball! Just before halftime, Pam stood up and transferred her UCLA hat for her husband's USC hat and flashed the typical USC "V for victory" sign. She's such a good sport. Even though her beloved alma mater was being crushed, she still shows loyalty to the Trojans!

If you saw the game or read the paper the next day, you know that the final score was 66-19! We left at the end of the third quarter when the score was 59-3. It worked out perfect, too. We immediately boarded the shuttle bus, got in our car and headed back to the hotel without incurring any gridlock! We listened to the remainder of the game on the radio and watched the news broadcast of the end of the game in our room. I thought it was so cute when running back Reggie Bush stood on the field at the end of the game and became the conductor of the Trojan band! Such school spirit was a pleasure to behold! There is nothing equal to the college football experience!

My daughter told us at dinner that night that it was the best time she has ever had at a sporting event. Now she wants to transfer to USC! Oy vey!! When we finished dinner and walked through the lobby of the hotel, she spotted USC quarterback Matt Leniert giving autographs near the check-in area. I told her, "now is your chance to meet him!" Her reply, "Mom, you're so lame." Ha!

After such a long, exciting day we were all exhausted and grateful that we stayed another night at the hotel and didn't have to make the long trek back home. And, you know what they say about college kids not getting enough sleep? Must be true because they both slept 12 hours! We ended up having brunch at Mimi's Cafe. Our fun and exciting mini-vacation trip was over. Back to school for the kids, back home for us. Such fun!


MoNoMo said...

Dear Christine,

I've been visiting your site recently -- I'm always on the look out for fellow Christians in this fallen age -- but I have been very disappointed by several aspects of your blog. To put it bluntly, I do not think you show a proper submission to Christ, and you do not properly glorify his name on this blog. You talk about your family more than you talk about the Lord, and you idly boast of the licentiousness of your children. You glorify in "bread & circuses" of sports that the modern pagan authorities (under the direction of the prince of this world) have given us to distract us from our Christian mission. Furthermore, this website has become a meeting-place for rebellion against God, as pagans, Satanists, and homosexuals come here to spew forth their rhetoric against our Creator and Father. As a Christians, we are told to put on the full armour of the Lord and shun these criminals and rebels against the Holy Spirit. It is one thing to sin against the Law which God has given us; it is another thing to reject the gifts of the Spirit when the Word of God's grace has been made manifest. I believe that the people who hate God and speak against His name have already committed the sin against the Holy Spirit, which Jesus tells us is the one unpardonable sin.

Since you allow such blasphemy to reign unchecked on this website, I have to ask: Is your salvation truly secure? You seem to be a woman of immense pride, without the signs of Christian modesty which a lady cultivates when she is meek and submissive to her husband. I really wonder whether I can call you a sister in Christ. I half suspect that you are a false convert, crying out "Lord, Lord" without an understanding of your utter depravity in the Lord's eyes. You see, Christine, we are all unbelievable sinners, absolutely worthless and stinking wretches. We all have the penalty of death upon our heads. If it were not for God's amazing grace, in choosing a fortunate elect from out among us at the dawn of time, we should all be consigned to hell.

You have very few of the signs of election upon you. In your dress (and in the dress of your daughter, whom you wantonly display by your side), you are just as immodest as pagans and harlots of modern America, a land which has abandoned its Lord, and which is paying the penalty for its fornications. I'll be praying for you and your visitors, and I hope that you will begin to turn this site around and begin to use to glorify God, and not yourself. As it stands now, you are in danger of being erased from the Book of Life, which the Lord in his justice uses to secure our salvation. Whether you are among the elect or not, your website should be used to steer other Christians away from the works of Satan.

"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"
(Matthew 23:33)

To God be the Glory,

Christinewjc said...

Hello Maureen,

Welcome to my blog (I think). That is what I usually say when people who visit here are upset with what I have posted.

My blog is a "conversational" kind of blog that happens to be written by me, a sinner saved ONLY by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ at the cross through the grace and mercy of God the Father.

Romans 12:1-2 instructs us:

Living Sacrifices to God

12I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

I write about many different topics here; including a few posts about my family. I write about current political and social events and movements and how such events should be "filtered" and seen through the truth of the Word of God.

My way of using the spiritual gifts of God may differ from yours.

Serve God with Spiritual Gifts

3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

You are entitled to your own personal opinion of me. That's what free speech is all about, isn't it? I have allowed all types of people to post here (including any or all sinners in need of the Savior) as long as they do not curse or blaspheme the name of the Lord.

I'm not sure how long you have been reading my blog, but if you delve into the posts a bit further back you may get answers to your questions regarding your opinion of whether or not you could (or, more accurately would want to) call me a sister in Christ.

What you call "distraction of our Christian mission" is called having fun with the family. Attending a football game doesn't make me a pagan just as attending a church doesn't make one a Christian. Repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, faith and love through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God in the heart is what truly matters in order to be reconciled to God.

During his ministry on earth, Jesus entered into the houses of many different kinds of sinners. A hated tax collector, for one. He came to the aid of an adulterous woman who was about to be stoned by a throng of men. They were ultimately shamed into dropping their stones when Jesus told them, "he who is without sin may cast the first stone." Jesus visited with the woman at the well who was involved in fornication because she was living with a man to whom she was not married.

Behave Like a Christian

9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.
17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have* regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. 20 Therefore

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."*

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

12:19 Deuteronomy 32:35
12:20 Proverbs 25:21, 22

(bold emphasis above added)

Christinewjc said...

The purposes of Jesus Christ are not finished when one of his own is forgiven. Not at all. He wants us to be healed and share such healing with others who are brokenhearted and currently held captive by the darkness of the evil one. We are called to share the Good News of the Gospel with sinners and plant seeds pointing to the saving grace of Jesus Christ to help them find the Spirit of Life instead of remaining in the spirit of despair -

Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)

The Good News of Salvation

61"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified."

(bold emphasis added)

Susan Smith said...

I have missed you Christine! I was wondering if you were on vacation, fallen ill or just taking a day off. Great day... perhaps you could advise your International readers around the globe just when you plan on playing hooky. :)

I am glad my "little" (age-wise) sister in Christ on the West Coast is back on duty following the good plan and purpose of our Lord, Jesus the Messiah. Much love from East Talpiot in Jerusalem. (ss)

Christinewjc said...

Awwww...Susan! It's so nice to hear that I was missed by someone lovely and as loving as you my international friend!

We brought our laptop computer and I had every intention of keeping up with blog posts each day. But it turned out that we were so busy with activity that I didn't get to the computer but for a brief moment to answer just one email! When we arrived home (Sunday night) I was so exhausted I fell asleep at 7:30 p.m.!

It's good to be back at the blog; especially now that the problem I had with it last night has been solved!

Love from the West Coast,

Happy Gilmores said...

I guess you can call me a lurker. Just ran across your blog because I am a USC alumn. I really enjoyed your telling of your USC football experience. I've moved to Texas and had to give up my season tickets. I dissagree with Maureen, I look at it that you had a wonderful day with family and friends, sharing your love with them, I don't know what is more Christian than that. I got to watch the game on television with my son. You sound like you have a wonderful family. Oh yeah, and happy belated birthday. If I was your daughter, I would have at least gone up and got Matt's autograph. He seems like a very nice young man, I'm sure he would have been very polite. p.s. I hope Pam isnt too depressed after that blow-out

Christinewjc said...

Hello Happy Gilmores,

Welcome to my blog! And thanks for your kind words about my family. We did have a wonderful day with family & friends.

The upbeat school spirit at USC is certainly contagious! My husband and I have attended two other games in the past through invitation by our friends Pam and Tim. We have always enjoyed their company and the games!

Let me ask you. I noticed that prior to the current USC 2003 and 2004 National Championships, their last championship was way back in 1978? (I think) or did I read that wrong? My husband noticed that they were in many Bowl games, but it had been quite a while since they claimed the National Championship until the '03 & '04 seasons.

How nice that you watched the game on TV with your son. How old is he?

Leinart got off to an unusually rocky start, but he certainly came through as the game progressed.

I should tell my daughter what you said about Matt. I think she figured he either has a girlfriend, or probably has groupies falling all over themselves to get to him! Ha ha...

My friend Pam is fine. Of course she had hoped UCLA would have made a better showing. However, she is also a loyal fan of USC football all year, so she's OK I'm sure.

Thanks for visiting and commenting! Visit any time!