On Labor Day weekend, Sunday night, I was laying in bed reading War and Peace (in order to maintain my snooty, west coast, intellectual, know-it-all street cred) when my cell phone rang. It was late and I considered letting it ring, but 70 pages into War and Peace I found there were too many characters, too many princes and princess and too many Russians speaking French for me to get too involved so a phone call was a bit of a respite.
Jake had an extra ticket to the UCLA-Tennessee game at the Rose Bowl the next evening. This happens to Jake, that is, free tickets happen to Jake and sometimes he invites me along. In turn, when free tickets happen to me, which isn't nearly as often, I return the favor.
The next day there I was, in the Rose Bowl. It is at those moments that I take a few seconds to reflect on the oddity of finding myself, without any real planning, being at such places and doing such things.
Jake and I had expected the game to be quick and painless (for Tennessee). Turns out it wasn't, but more on that later.
In my three years in Los Angeles, I have had a disappointing run at celebrity sightings. I made up for it a little during the game. Before the game, taking a sip from my souvenir Bruins cup, I spotted a familiar face - Harvey Dent, or Aaron Eckhart, if you prefer. Then, during halftime the crew from ESPN showed up in the corner of the field - Lou Holtz, Mark May and Rece Davis (you can see them in the picture below, really you can). Sadly, at work, no one knew who these people were. I'll spare calling my coworkers names (like ignoramouses, for example).
In the end, the game was neither painless for Tennessee or quick for Jake and I. With 27 seconds left on the clock and Tennessee down by 3 it was nearly 9 o'clock. For normal people that would be meaningless, but for those of us trudging through our working days in "food processing" anything happening after 9 is happening after bedtime. Of course, Tennessee managed to get all the way down the field and kick a field goal. It would have been rude to leave before overtime and besides we'd come this far, we may as well stay on for a few more minutes.
UCLA prevailed in the first overtime.
It took over an hour to get from our seats to the car and out of the parking lot. Fortunately, while sitting idle in the car waiting for the line to move, we enjoyed Chex Mix and watching the glossy eyed, open mouthed looks of people looking for cars they might never find.
Oh, and we'd seen a classic college football game...too bad we spent the entire game trying to decide which team to cheer for.