Cross-Town Rivalry Is More Than A Football Game
I was sober. Nobody else was tho.
It was the USC-UCLA college football game and, as usual, there was a party bus from the Los Angeles “party cities,” otherwise known as the South Bay Beach Cities of Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo Beach.
Normally, I would have been on the bus and not sober. But at the time, I was doing Public Relations for the Lexus Gauntlet, the USC-UCLA all-sports trophy that existed at the time. As a result, I spent the pregame in the press box talking to the media and the game on the sidelines with the trophy. It was a great gig, by the way.
I had hitched a ride to the game with my Lexus Gauntlet PR associate but since he lived in Orange County, I took the party bus back home to the Beach Cities.
So after the game, I stepped on board. And I stepped into a sea of partiers.
To put it mildly, the people from the Beach Cities in those days could really party. They were pretty much all single and mentally were still in college. Anytime there was a big event – Jimmy Buffett concerts, Oktoberfest, the Long Beach Grand Prix and in particular the USC-UCLA game – there were party buses.
So imagine the scene when I got onto the bus, stone-cold sober.
Music was blaring out of the bus. The noise was loud, and not just from the tunes but from the alcohol-amplified voices of the people.
Some people were staggering on board, seemingly having expired their final remaining active brain cells just to have made it back to the bus. Others were dancing and yelling, as if this were merely a warmup exercise for the rest of the evening. Still others were slumped in their seats or even curled up in deep sleep with a seat mate, oblivious to what was happening around them.
The first thing I did was find some alcohol – a beer, some booze, anything that would transport me from work mode to party mode so I could begin to relate to everyone else.
Have you ever been sober in an environment full of people who have been and are drinking a lot? It’s really a startling experience. There was no way I could catch up to them, but at least I could somewhat enter their world.
I whooped and hollered with them. I laughed as one girl – a very attractive blond in a USC jersey, I have to mention here – danced in the aisle nearly the entire way back to the South Bay.
And I found enough leftover booze to put me in the party bus frame of mind.
When we got back to the Beach Cities, I joined a few of the people who were still standing in a Hermosa Beach bar. They did not last long, tho, and I was just beginning to hit my stride.
The evening ended rather calmly. The bars emptied out early because of the all-day partying but I did not mind. I had a great day and an entertaining ride home aboard the USC-UCLA party bus.