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Sunday, April 1, 2007

Herder of the Week - April 1st, 2007

Powered Blue & Cardinal
HOTW - Brujan

by Mojack
The way that the calendar and destiny and karma mix sometimes is clearly meant as some kind of bizarre cosmic joke for what is a better April Fool’s trick than to have a UCLA Bruin fan as the Herder of the Week? But in our case, this is no joke folks, BruinGray, Brujan, UCLA-USC (as one of his email addresses implies), is this week’s HOTW.
To me there is nothing more “in-con-ceivable!!” as Vizzini, the Wallace Shawn character, used to say in “The Princess Bride” than having a staunch, diehard, UCLA-loving Bruin fan in the middle of the Herd, but there is Roy Shultz eleven out of twelve games a year in his Cardinal & Gold Herd shirt, standing and cheering for the good guys who play for USC. Huh?
It’s very true. Though most of us still have a hard time accepting the fact that we stand and cheer and high five a distinguished Bruin gentleman, we not only let him in the Herd but we embrace him in the stands and on our message boards. But the fact of the matter that Brujan is a huge Trojan fan, and a great Herder, and he stands and cheers for the boys in Cardinal and Gold 11 out of 12 games per the football season.
When I told Brooks that Brujan was going to be the HOTW, he emailed me with his impressions, “The first time I saw Roy Shultz (Brujan) was when we were holding a mini-tailgates at gate 24 before the Bruin game. It was the one that ended the losing streak. His face and hair was painted blue and yellow (ugly). He stopped by for a second and I asked why everyone was so nice to him. They told me that he was a Trojan every other day of the year. I couldn't comprehend. Later, I got to know him very well and he does the most difficult juggling act I could imagine; half Bruin, half Trojan. Well, almost. His description is 50.1% Bruin and 49.9% Trojan. And he is sincere. He was one of the original Herders and still keeps his two seats even though he can't attend himself. He sends his daughter and her friend to take his place. Roy has ties to both schools and is a loyal Herder and a gentleman.”
Shorty continued, “What a tremendously intelligent, humorous and passionate man. It has been my immense pleasure to know Roy and share some of his insights and knowledge. I've never met a Bruin I liked more than Roy. He is a devoted family man and a true gentleman in every respect. His physical presence is greatly missed in the Herd.”
So, as stated above, we’re honoring our very first April Fool’s Herder and how apropos that he is a Bruin, umm, I mean a Trojan. Fight On, Brujan, a great Herder and our Herder of the Week:
 
You have one of the more convoluted stories, so let's give props where props are deserved. You are a very distinguished graduate from UCLA. Can you list some of your achievements and awards?
 
A short list of some of the more memorable things: I graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in History in 1970, having served as President of our Debate Team from 1968-70, and taking 3d place with my partner at the National Debate Tournament in 1969. After graduating from law school, I became a volunteer with the UCLA Alumni Association, holding numerous committee chairmanships over the years, finally concluding by serving as its President from 1992-94, and as a member of the UC Board of Regents during those years, one of the most compelling and valuable things I have ever done. It was both surprising and very gratifying to me when, in 2003, I was named a recipient of our University Service Award in recognition of my work on behalf of UCLA.
 
If I remember correctly, you're a Los Angeles native. How did you settle on attending UCLA? Were you a UCLA sports fan growing up? And then, once at UCLA and after you had graduated, how did you avoid becoming a stereotypical USC-hating, USC bashing UCLA alum? Finally, how did you become a USC fan?
 
Actually, I'm not a Los Angeles native. A Navy brat, I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and spent most of my pre-college years following my Dad from duty station to duty station, from Frankfurt, Germany (where my sister was born) to Honolulu, Hawaii (where my brother was born) and many points in between. The principal reason I went to UCLA (I actually transferred there after my freshman year at California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks) was the influence of my high school world history teacher, debate coach, and great life-long friend. She was a UCLA alumna, loved the school, and while she did urge me to go, she was sufficiently influential in my life that it tipped the balance for me. I had seen the campus my junior year in high school on a visit, and found it impressive and beautiful, which helped. I was NOT a UCLA sports fan growing up; in fact, after Navy (it was understood we had to watch the Army-Navy game every year in my home), the only college football team I really had any affinity for was USC. That started when I attended a wonderful summer program on the USC campus in 1965 after my junior year in high school, which nearly led me to go there for college (we missed the Watts riots by 4 days), and was iced for me by the awful 51-0 ND blowout game, which I heard on the radio while on a road trip with my parents, and which made me feel both bad for the Trojans and really annoyed at the Irish. Ironic, since my high school biology teacher, a Domer, had recruited me very heavily to go to Notre Dame. The first major college football games I actually attended were in the 1967 season, including what I still think was the greatest UCLA-USC game I have ever seen (aside from the final score, of course.) I can't say I was a USC fan while AT UCLA; it was too much fun being in the UCLA student section at our home field, the Coliseum, doing card stunts and ridiculing all things Trojan. But I was never a hater even then, and was always quietly pleased to see USC win things not at our expense. Indeed, on the national debate circuit, our best friends as we traveled the country were the debaters from USC, and we regularly partied together when we were in Los Angeles. Of course, we always went all-out to win when we faced each other, as we frequently did.
<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> I think it would be safe to say that I actually became a USC FAN in the mid-to-late 1990's. My wonderful wife and her family had very strong USC connections--she has several graduate degrees from USC, several of her siblings are graduates (her late oldest brother played freshman football with OJ), a cousin was a member of the TMB, etc. On occasion, as none of his sons were interested or available, I would go to games in the Coliseum with my late father-in-law, a charmingly gruff old Greek retired general surgeon who had been Tom Harmon's backup on the Michigan teams of the late 1930's. I loved being back in what had been our home stadium when I was at UCLA. But I was conflicted, and sometimes wore my UCLA gear as a talisman to avoid being mistaken for a Trojan. Then I discovered TFO, while meandering around what was then the pretty-new-to-me Internet. I started posting as a friendly adversary during the UCLA streak. Then came the huge controversy over Ardeshir Radpour and Traveler, and I remember driving out to his home for his 30th birthday party I believe, the day after USC had beaten UCLA (I think it was the game that ended the streak.) I had been to some TFO tailgates outside gate 24, and casually knew a fair number of the posters by then. The warmth of the reception I received that evening pretty much confirmed that I had become, albeit a Bruin, a Trojan fan as well. 
And how did a UCLA Bruin, a distinguished Bruin alum, actually allow himself to support USC? What was that process? How did you used to watch USC games, attend games etc., before you discovered the Herd?
See the above, in part. But the reality is that I have come to love and respect--and support in my way--both schools. My wife has been active in the Theater School at USC for decades, a member of USC Associates, and aside from the Herd, I have for a number of years been a member of the West L.A. Trojan Club, the Touchdown Club, a contributor to Legion Lex, and regularly contribute to a number of other football and law-school related things at USC (my wife and middle daughter are both USC law school graduates.)
This isn't necessarily a shot, but the Bruin message boards aren't as "active" as the USC boards. When Al Gore discovered the internet, and years later you found the internet, how did you discover the football message boards? Did you find Bruin sites first and transition to USC sites? Or vice versa? Can you briefly summarize how you felt when the topics on TFO turned to the lack of fan support in the Coliseum, and grew into the formation of the Herd?
I pretty much discovered the UCLA and USC message boards at the same time. And you are right that the activity level differs on the various boards, though BruinZone is fairly active these days and has been for a while. But I had a lot of fun exchanging what I hope were good-natured shots with the folks on TFO in particular, in the days before Ryan created USCFootball.com. Having gotten to know some of the posters, when I saw the threads about the lack of support in the Coliseum, which I had personally witnessed, on an impulse I leaped in and I think e-mailed Surfeagle to say I wanted to be involved for all but one game a year. I actually think I was one of the earliest to join, truth be told. And I have a very fond memory of going to one of the early organizational meetings at Blackie's in Newport Beach to talk about a number of issues related to the Herd. At least, I think I remember it (as usual with many Herd events, beverages were involved)! Again, it made me feel very much a part of it all.
You're a fairly open-minded person in this regard, at least, that you openly love USC as a Bruin fan. There aren't many of you out there. What is the psychological process that you go through that is different than most fans who have such a strong dislike for their rival? We separate the entities and don't allow any crossover. For example, yesterday I wanted UCLA to lose in the NCAAs. My father was saying, "Go UCLA, I want the PAC-10 to do well." You, on the other hand, are very objective in this approach, and can root for USC in every sense except when they play UCLA. Again, how does your brain work differently than the rest of us?
That pitch is so slow I almost can't resist hitting it. But being diplomatic, as is my norm, I tend to view the world as a complex thing. It is easy, and simple, to categorize things in black and white terms. Those who do, and are affiliated with one of the two schools can happily, even blissfully, scorn and dismiss everything associated with the other school. I can't do that. Both schools have had an enormously positive impact on me and my extended family. (photo right: Newport and Brujan) I have had respected colleagues, and have very close friends, who have strong USC affiliations as well as UCLA ones. And both schools contribute immensely to Los Angeles in innumerable ways. I want them both to be great, and to become greater, for all of those reasons. I can understand the haters. I just can't be one. When I was UCLA Alumni Association President, I tried to generate some interest with my Board of Directors in some joint events with the USC General Alumni Association. I got nowhere, which demonstrates that yes, I am "different." And if that is inconsistent, I have to go with Emerson, who wrote that "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." No offense to anyone, of course.
What was your first Herd game, and what were your first impressions of the Herd?
San Jose State. The very first Herd game. My impressions? Best experience I had ever had at a football game, what football fans SHOULD be, and great regret that we did not then have something like the Herd at the Rose Bowl. And my passion for the Herd was cemented in that very game, when I was one of the lucky few accosted by the LAPD and Coliseum security about standing up during the game (being tall and gray-haired, I guess they thought if they intimidated me, it would get others in the Herd to go along; I was not intimidated, nor were the rest of us, and I think that mightily reinforced our Herd esprit de corps.)
You've brought one of your daughters into the Herd also. What has the Trojan experience and the Herd experience meant to your family? And continuing on that theme, what has the extended family of the Herd meant to you?
My Herd daughter loves being there, and has brought a number of her friends into it as well, some of whom are joining on their own now. My wife was pleased that I had the Herd as a focal point in the fall, as it was positive, and a break from a very busy law practice. It is fair to say that in many ways, the Herd experience came to define the Trojan experience for us, certainly insofar as football is concerned, and we have never really gotten involved in other sports as a family. The extended family of the Herd has been very special for me, and while I have numerous friends at UCLA, there is no single group there where I count as many of them as I do with the Herd. And it hasn't just been at games. Many Herders I regard as very close friends, despite seeing them so seldom now. Perhaps the most moving demonstration of that was when I had some major surgery in 2003, and Brooks and Shorty drove all the way from their distant homes into enemy territory at the UCLA Medical Center to visit (and bring me some Trojan paraphernalia, of course.) That was totally unexpected, exceedingly kind, and quite touching. For me and my family.
Explain the split loyalties you feel especially when the Bruins play at the Coliseum. You change your attire, of course, and you move your seats. Do you look over to the Herd and miss being with us, in our excitement, as we enjoy the Bruin rout? (I can say that because since the Herd was formed, all Bruin games at the Coliseum have been routs). Or do you feel like most Bruin fans in the sense that you become antsy in your seat and want to beat the other Bruin fans out to the parking lot for free pizza? You know I'm joking with you on that last point, because I've always seen you post Bruin game as you stop by the post Herdgates to give us our congrats like the good sportsman you are.
You are close to the mark here. I can honestly say that I miss the excitement of being in the Herd at those games--partly because my seats are atrocious as a fan of the visiting team, partly because through my binoculars I can see all of you having fun. Obviously, I have not enjoyed the routs, but have stayed to the better end in all but one of them--27-0. I left after the third quarter, and when chastised for leaving early by a number of very belligerent fellow Bruins, my response was "I was here three quarters longer than our football team was." But bad as that one was, 2005 was the absolute worst. And yet, I stayed. Because, unlike most other Bruins, I know I can go console myself with my Herd buddies, without fear of receiving more than the appropriate ridicule for our efforts. Indeed, you guys have always been more than kind to me about your wins and our losses. Oddly, that has sort of hurt worse sometimes!!
There are a few seminal Herd moments; from "We Believe" to Thomas Williams jumping into the stands. Are there any special moments that you remember and feel a strong part of?
My greatest regret was missing the ASU game where Russ started "We Believe" and Pete came into the stands. I had been at the Rose Bowl for the UCLA-Washington game earlier, and knew I would be too tired to get to the Coliseum later. But aside from facing off with the cops at the first Herd game, and the "Warm up the bus" chant at the same game, the single most indelible experience for me was our screaming our lungs out during the goal-line stand that preserved the victory at the end of one Cal game (I should remember the year, but I don't--feel free to put in the year if you do, Mo.) I KNEW we had made a difference during that series, and so did the team. My other special moments happened every game, and they were when Russ led his "That's another Trojan first down" cheers and the air-pushups, and SCowboy stood up on his seat (when he was able to stand, that is) for the SoCal spellouts.
The Herd and the Herd Forum has always been special amid the message board crowds because we all tailgate together and have become friends and interested in each other's lives. You have gone through some tough times the last few years, and you've shared that experience with the board and with your friends in the Herd. Could you update us on your situation, and how you're feeling these days?
I don't dwell on it much, as that is not my nature. My health circumstances have gradually declined over the years (nothing life-threatening as yet, unless I do something stupid), so I pretty much stay at home these days, except for essential errands and the occasional lunch or dinner at a quiet nearby restaurant. My window on the world is the computer, for which I am very grateful indeed. I am content. I had a great run, and am having a different kind of one now.
Finally, what do you see for the Herd as it moves forward? And what are your final thoughts about your Herd experience?
I see the Herd expanding as much as the University and Heritage Hall will allow, and that is definitely a good thing. I hope it continues to be creative in the support it provides to the players, coaches, and USC itself, not only in the monetary and symbolic things it does, but in the spontaneity it has always exhibited on game days. It has already added many new USC traditions, and I expect it will add more as inspiration strikes one or another of its members. For me, aside from that one game a year, the Herd was the best sports experience I have ever had as a fan, and tailgating, cheering with, and knowing all of you, on-line and in person, has been one of the most rewarding things in my life. And thanks to the Internet and my daughter, I will continue to be a Herder by proxy as long as the Herd and I exist--except for that one particular game each year.

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