USCHerd, a USC fan site celebrating the USC Fan.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Herder of the Week - February 18th, 2007

Youth is Served - TFan
by Mojack

Oscar Wilde said, “An inordinate passion for pleasure is the secret of remaining young.” That’s great news for TFan, because he started off younger than all of us to began with, and he has as much passion for the Trojans if not more than all of us in the Herd also. As Shorty wrote to when I told him TFan was going to be this week’s Herder of the Week (HOTW), “Gaither (TFan) was a Junior in high school when he started in the Herd. His dad would drive him to the games, drop him off then come and pick him up. TFan remains one of the biggest fans of SC football EVER. His character, personality and morale values are what every father wants his son to be. TFan is the greatest. P.S., he hates Bruins!”

I don’t remember my exact thoughts when I first met TFan, but looking back in hindsight, I know I was full of respect for him in that he was one of the Founding Herders who joined the Herd at 17 on his own, not through his father’s allegiance to USC, not through a friend or brother, but by himself. That took moxie, a word from the early 1900s that Brooks can relate too. And let me differentiate between a Herdmember like myself who has brought his son to Trojan games since he was six months old, lots of Herdmembers and Trojan fans raise their families as Trojans, and have brought their families to the Herd since the inception, and a high school kid who found a group of Trojan fans on the internet and said to himself, “I want to join this group.” Again, that shows a maturity and initiative that some 40 year olds don’t have let alone high school juniors.

Since TFan is currently a student at UCSB, he hitches a ride down to the Coliseum with the Springers from Sacramento. TroBob wrote about TFan, “I have enjoyed riding with Gaither for the last two years. He loves needling the Springer Bros. and trying to get an opinion out of me. Gaither is much more laid back in person than he is on the message boards and he has really matured as a person since he was in high school. I was very impressed with the way he acted around (my 3 year old daughter) Abby and Abby enjoyed him too. He'll be a good dad taking his child to SC games like Mojack does with Eden. I consider him a Trojan brother and a brother to the Springers.”

SCRed continues, “Can't help but love TFan. Dude has that kinda mischievous smile/look that must make the babes go nuts. I like belting out the SC Fight Song with him at games when I attend and when the TMB plays it. Neither of us are alum. Doesn't matter. The boy feels strongly about making sure the other side of the stadium hears him singing "Fight On, for old SC, our men fight on to victory!!"

Again, it is that passion that people remember about TFan. It oozes from him, and that infuses those around him with the electricity and enthusiasm that he brings to the Coliseum, helping to symbolize what a Trojan Fan and Herdmember should be, a person who loves USC Football and USC, the university, unconditionally. Again, with no family allegiance and without being a student at USC, TFan brings a love of USC to every game he attends, and it is contagious, we all revel in his youth and his idealism and his desire to be in the Herd. TFan has made us all appreciate what we have in The Thundering Herd and USC Football, and that’s why he is this week’s Herder of the Week.
A lot of USC fans were born and bred Trojans. Our fathers or grandfathers went to USC or worked for USC or rooted for USC and that is the genesis of our support. It was inherited in a sense. But, if I remember correctly, your dad isn't a big USC fan. So, tell us how you became a USC fan?

My obsession with USC started at a young age. Growing up in Los Angeles you generally have to gravitate to one of the two schools. I live pretty close to LMU, but the day USC hired Paul Hackett all geographical affiliations went out the window. I started going to any USC event I could get a ride to and in 2001 talked my dad into getting me season tickets and I haven’t missed a game since. To date I’ve missed a couple weddings and a funeral. My family has taken an interest in USC over the years, I guess it has to start somewhere.

Tell us how you used to support USC, watch games, etc., before you discovered the Herd.

Before the Herd I would go to games with anyone willing to take me. This usually put me in uncomfortable situations with teachers and truck drivers…I guess not a lot has changed though.

Refresh our memories, how did you find the Herd, how did you decide to join us at the games, and how did you persuade your father to drop you off at the Los Angeles Coliseum to hang out with strange men who you never had met before?
I found out about the Herd on TFO. The Herd seemed like a good idea and the ticket location was a serious selling point. I think it was a good thing that I didn’t meet anyone before my first game, I was expecting a much younger crowd, but it all worked out. My dad was a bit skeptical about the situation at first, but it’s better than dropping your son off at ballet practice or Westwood.

What was your first Herd game, and what were your first impressions of the Herd?

My first Herd game was against perennial powerhouse San Jose State. Just a few weeks before the start of the season I tried to refund my tickets to protest the hiring of Pete Carroll, but to no avail. In front of about 13,000 fans we beat SJSU 12-11, I think. All I can remember about that game was all the broken forks in the stands after Norm Chow’s offense failed time and time again.

What does it mean to be the youngest Original Herder? Yes, I've been bringing my son to the Coliseum since he was a baby and others have been bringing their children throughout the history of the Herd, but you consciously made the decision to join the Herd as a teenager. As you've matured, did you ever think to yourself, "I'm hanging out with a bunch of really weird people...Maybe I have to find new friends?"

The thought never really entered my mind. I was a punk kid standing next to Father Time (Brooks), but he yelled louder than me and you have to admire that. I’ve tried many times to make new friends, but it never panned out, I guess I’m stuck with the Herd and you guys are stuck with me.

There are a few Herd moments in history that TFan participated in; road trips to the Vegas Bowl and up north to the Stanford and Cal games. What the Herd has meant to you these last few years?

On Christmas Day 2001 my dad woke me up at 3am and drove me to Fontucky, where I met up with Brooks and SC Nut and from there we drove to Nevada to see SC play Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. The game was pathetic and Christmas dinner at Jack in the Box was depressing, but it’s those losses that make Rose Bowls so much sweeter. Bay Area trips are always a blast. In 2002 I went to the Bay with Chris (punkdrummer) and Mr. (MG4SC) & Mrs. Guajardo. That was the year Carson killed Stanford and the Herd conquered the stadium. It was such an invigorating feeling to walk the streets of San Francisco dawned in Cardinal and Gold as Stanford fans hang their heads in shame.

You didn't get into USC as an undergraduate. Was that a disappointment or not in your plans? What's it like to be a Trojan fan at UCSB? How is your college career proceeding, and what are your plans after you graduate? We've heard you might attempt to go to USC for graduate school. Is that still an option?

Finances played a large role in not going to USC. After talking to a lot of college counselors I decide to take advantage of California’s great public education system. I’ve always planned on going to graduate school and felt that if I ever did attend USC it should be at the graduate level. But money is still a issue, I’ve been blessed enough to come out of UCSB without debt and hope to do the same in graduate school. I haven’t decided what I plan on doing with the rest of my life. I’m considering law school and graduate school after I take a year off and work.

UCSB has a large USC following. Our biggest two counties are San Diego and Los Angeles and USC is probably the second most represented school (next to UCSB). There isn’t a big ucla fan
base out here and no domer fans at all.

The Springers as well as the Molinas have taken you under their wing, almost made you one of their clans. How do you describe being a part of the Trojan family and more specifically the Herd family?

The Trojan family is great. When I started attending UCSB the Springers offered to pick me up and even take me back to Santa Barbara sometimes. They never asked for gas or parking money (not that I was offering) and they treated me as one of their own. When I moved to Santa Barbara I had no one to watch the USC games with, so the Molinas offered their hospitality. They provided the wine coolers and plenty of salad and again, never asked for compensation. It may sound like I’m a bit of a mooch, but they never let me feel like one and that’s what the Trojan family is all about. It’s difficult to explain the Herd to non-herd members. Six Saturdays out of the year we get to watch USC football with 200 of our closest friends… and a couple of cool 103ers I guess.

TFan is renowned for his hatred of UCLA and Notre Dame. Tell us, in your words, how you really feel about the Bruins and the Domers?

I hate both schools. Some people believe that we should all live peacefully, but I disagree. They’re vile and disgusting. I took my cousin to a USC-ucla basketball game, he couldn’t have been more than five at the time and the obscenities those bruin @$holes were yelling were disgraceful. I have no respect for ANYONE affiliated with either school, they could all go to purgatory for all I care.

Finally, from a young man's point of view, someone who has many decades ahead to be a Trojan fan, what do you see for the Herd as it moves forward?
The Herd has evolved so much in its recent history, but kept true to its underlying cause: unrelenting support for all that is USC. I don’t see the Herd ending anytime soon and I hope to one day contribute to its growing legacy. The Herd's spirit is contagious (like Bolshevism) and the Coliseum has become a great atmosphere because of it. I look forward to many more great seasons and hope that one day every USC athletic attendee will have the Herd spirit.


Grover said...

Congrats TFan. I'm reminded of the time, when TFan was still in HS, we all went to hear Coach O speak at a dinner in West LA. Brooks and I met up in Oceanside and drove to meet Shorty and Doc, who in turn met up in Laguna, at an off ramp along the 73. The four of us old guys drove up to Venice in Shorty's truck to pick up Gaither at his parent's house. It was a progressive carpool exercise and I couldn't help but wonder what TFan's dad must have thought about his son's friends.

Coach O was great (as usual) with his legendary stories of recruiting in the south. One that I'll never forget was the telling of his recruiting of Warren Sapp while at Miami. He said Sapp's family lived in little village FL that consisted of little more than an old gas station and a few shanties. Sapp's family lived in a small house with dirt floors. He said when Sapp wasn't sure if he wanted to go Miami to play football, Coach O looked around and said, "Well, I guess you just stay here and work at that gas station for rest of your life." We all know how the story ended.

molina73 said...

You are always invited to come watch an away game at the house, just take a cab home.