5 Ways You Know You're a UCLA Fan
With the UCLA Bruins trending upwards and the once mighty USC Trojans losing ground, the landscape of Los Angeles college football appears to be in flux.
For more than a decade, Southern Cal has dominated the Southland, and the fair-weather fans have flocked to the Cardinal and Gold accordingly. But with the Bruins primed to take over, it wouldn't be shocking to see some of those wishy-washy L.A. fans donning the True Blue next year.
To the UCLA fans who have stuck with the team through thick and thin, that idea doesn't sit too well. No legitimate fan would ever switch schools, especially not between such hated rivals.
So, to settle the discussion, this slideshow will highlight the five best ways to know if you're a veteran UCLA fan. If you get lost at any point, then you probably haven't been around the Bruins for very long. Let's hope that's not the case!
If you find yourself inexplicably counting to eight every time you start clapping, you know you're a UCLA fan.
I'm referring, of course, to the "8-clap," which is the Bruins' go-to cheer on game day, graduation or just about any other occasion. The name really tells the story, as the famous rally cry is simply eight claps, followed by two U-C-L-A spell outs and the words "Fight Fight Fight!" Or, if you're with a rowdier crowd, the last part can be subbed out for some choice words about Southern Cal.
UCLA students are taught the 8-clap at freshman orientation, and they are liable to perform it hundreds of times over the course of their lives. There is nothing that brings together UCLA fans like the 8-clap, and for that reason it's a must-know for every true Bruin.
Take off That Red Shirt!
If you often chant at strangers wearing red, telling them to take their clothes off, you're probably a Bruin.
Nothing grinds the True Blue gears like Cardinal-clad fans invading Westwood, the UCLA campus or the Rose Bowl.
At athletics events, the students and recent alumni are trained to rain hell on any fan wearing red, especially those that dare flaunt their affiliation with that other school across town. If you are caught in enemy colors, the Bruins will gang up on you, screaming "take off that red shirt!" until you either comply or walk away.
And if you choose to ignore them and stick around, they'll crank it up a notch. So, to be safe, make sure you listen. Or just never ever wear red.
Golf Course, or Parking Lot?
If you've ever tailgated a UCLA football game, you know what I'm talking about with this one.
Before coming to UCLA, I used to look at golf courses as pristine playing fields that required the utmost respect and appreciation. But now, a day on the links is likely to include my 4X4 and some tackle football.
In case you haven't been, a major portion of the Rose Bowl tailgating space is actually the Brookside Golf Club, a 36-hole paradise nestled in the hills of Pasadena. But make no mistake, there are no early-bird tee times scheduled for Sundays during football season.
Aside from the tire tracks of 80,000 fans, Brookside is littered with garbage, divots and a whole lot of recyclables after a busy game day. I can't even imagine how massive the clean-up crew is the next morning, but UCLA probably pays a pretty penny for that service.
If you can say you've been stuck in traffic on the fairway, or that a shortcut through a sand trap is a legit option, then you're a seasoned Rose Bowl patron. And, as logic follows, a True Bruin.
Every Man, Woman and Child!
If you understand that title, then you're a bona fide UCLA fan...or at least you've been to the Rose Bowl on a Saturday.
The famous hype-up yell "every man, woman and child" is screamed by alumnus Geoffrey Strand, who is pictured above, flying the Bruin colors behind Datone Jones after UCLA toppled the Trojans in November.
Geoff is the vocal leader at all UCLA home games, carrying the crowd through every cheer and every jeer. When it's time to get behind the team and will them to victory, he's there for a Bruins spell out. When the defense needs help to get a stop, he's there with his bell to rattle the opposition.
Next time you make it to the Rose Bowl, keep an eye out for Geoff. He'll be there rain or shine, cheering the Bruins to whatever end.
Prepared for the Worst Every Week
This is definitely the least fun, but most surefire way to find out if you're a dedicated member of the Bruin faithful. And it's especially relevant for the younger generation.
The most recent season notwithstanding, UCLA has been stuck in a rut on the gridiron for quite some time. Couple that with the downtrend of Bruin basketball since Howland's Final Fours, and you get a fanbase disturbingly accustomed to underachievement.
UCLA sports, at least the two main revenue generators, are insanely inconsistent. One day the Bruins will dominate a nationally-ranked opponent, and the next they'll come out flat and lose to Joe Blow State University. It's the definition of hot and cold.
As a means of adaptation, UCLA fans have learned to have a thick skin and never get their hopes too high. The scariest thing for a Bruin fan is when the team is favored, as that's the time they're most likely to lose. You can call it cynical, or even defeatist. But the fact of the matter is, most Bruins have had their hearts broken too many times.
So if you just bought a brand new Brett Hundley jersey and are expecting a 14-0 season next year, you may want to ditch the bandwagon. But if you're always braced for adversity in your Bruin blue, you're a UCLA fan through and through.