A Way of Life

USC Trojans in stadium tunnel

Of course it is only a game, but somehow the Trojans, bursting out of that stadium tunnel, have come to stand for a way of life. The sight of those USC teams rolling across the Coliseum grass, dominating their opponents — and without a single penny of government aid that the UCLA’s and Oklahomas and Nebraskas depend on, damn it. All of it happened, year after year, because the school annually turned out a phalanx of new achievers, men who pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and went on to become the cream of their crops and the captains of their industries, men who started companies and expanded businesses that created jobs and took people off the welfare rolls, men who took care to plow back their superabundance into the institution that launched them, so that the Trojan tradition of independence and excellence would go on and on. Yes, the sight of that wave of cardinal and gold articulates everything. Maybe you cannot comprehend that. But a Trojan can.

Sports Illustrated, November 28, 1988

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