USCHerd, a USC fan site celebrating the USC Fan.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Herder of the Week, May 26th, 2007

MDog from The O.C.
HOTW - maddogOC

by Mojack

In having to think about one of the most consistent members of the Herd for this week’s Herder of the Week article, I thought of this Trojan gentleman and “consistent” was a good word to start with. This week’s HOTW is always standing with the Herd, be it home or away, always participating with the Herd on Trojan walks, tailgates (though we did miss his presence on campus this year) and fundraisers. Consistency and loyalty are very strong words that mean the person's tried and true, got a you-can-count-on-me attitude, and will always be standing for the Trojans to the end. A true diehard. And the Herd is lucky this person and his brother are members. So then I got even more philosophical and wondered if the whole of the Herd is greater than the sum of its parts?
I decided to do some googling, and unlike Brooks I didn’t type in “Is the whole sun in parts” but I did find this interesting statement and equation. From the USC Science Department, Professor Horace Bumhauser wrote, “As far as simple physical quantities like mass and energy are concerned, the answer is a definite no, for those quantities, the whole is commonly less than the sum of its parts. The key to this phenomenon is called binding energy, because splitting a stable object into its constituents takes some effort. In the language of physics:
Energy of the composite object = sum of the energies of its parts - energy needed to split the object apart.
At least as far as energies are concerned, this shows that the composite object (in physics lingo: the "bound system") is less than the sum of its parts.”
So I was thinking of the Herd and the energy that binds us together, loud energy of Trojan spirit, and using the example from above, though the Herd as a whole is awesome, 400 strong standing and cheering their hearts out for the Trojans, the whole is definitely less than the sum of its parts, because we have guys like Mark D. (maddogOC) as a member of the Herd. And Mark and his brother Mike bring a ferocious energy, a loyalty, a true positive value to the Herd as a whole that takes all of us up another level. So it is the sum of our parts separately that are greater than the whole, but wow, still, what a whole we have when all of us are together. As Shorty wrote, “For a short fellow, Mark is extremely generous, funny, has a Cardinal & Gold streak that won't end and is better looking than Brooks or Yucca. Mark is great!"
And we don't need the USC Science Department to tell us that MaddogOC is a great supporter of USC and the Thundering Herd, and someone who through their efforts has made the Herd almost as great as the sum of its parts. MaddogOC is this week’s Herder of the Week.
How did you became a USC fan?
Here's my story. I didn't go to SC and never really considered it. I dropped out of high school, had the kind of grades that people have when they drop out of high school and eventually went to college and the my first year of grad school on the GI Bill. That and though I grew up in Southern California I left here in the late 70's I swore I would never live here again. That I have lived in Orange County for 20 years now is more about fortune than planning.
I grew up in San Gabriel and I have been a USC football fan since the mid-60's. My brother and I were raised by my grandparents and our next door neighbors were big SC people. Our neighbors were the Nungessers and they had 2 daughters and a son. The daughters and the son, Kendall, who was known as ''Butch" were years older than us and our babysitters for years. We were really close to the Nungessers and Butch was just great to my brother and I.
Butch was about 9-10 years older than us and he was "Mr. Everything" when it came to sports. Even though I was about 10 years behind him his picture was still in the gym at San Gabriel High School when I went there due to all the records he set.
Butch was a QB and had pretty much committed to John Ralston at Stanford. John McKay came out and saw him play and offered him a scholarship. That Butch's father played for Howard Jones at SC probably didn't hurt McKay's efforts.
Butch graduated in 1965 or so and went to USC. I was 9 years old at the time and his going to SC was just huge. Butch was our hero and my brother Mike and I were just in awe of the guy.
He played freshman ball and JV as well. It was the days of unlimited scholarships so a lot of good players on scholarship never saw the field for the varsity. Butch was one of guys. He changed positions a few times but he never played in a varsity game. When USC played Ohio State in the 1969 Rose Bowl Butch was the guy who emulated Rex Kern running the scout team. The was even an article in the LA Times about him. In 1968 he won the Sam Barry award for the player who contributed the most to the varsity. His years at SC were 1966-69.
Through Butch and his family we met players, notably Bob Klein. We got tickets for games with the 1968 Rose Bowl being the first game we went to. (photo left: the three M's, Mark, Mike and Monica) We owned the Rose Bowl in those days and my brother and I went to the 1969 and 70 games as well. We also got tickets to the 1968 game with nd.
But what we really got was rabid. In those days only the ucla and nd games were televised during the regular season so my brother and I listened to the games on an AM radio in our bedroom. I still remember the call with Ron Ayala kicking a last second field goal to beat Stanford.
Where we went to grammar school in San Gabriel you had to pick a side; USC or ucla. On the Friday before the SC-ucla game the students and teachers wore the colors of the school they supported. It was madness!
Tell us how you used to support USC, watch games, etc., before you discovered the Herd?
Alot of things happened over the years. I lived alot of different places and though it was often years that I didn't make to a game I always followed the team. I lived in Washington for a year in the late 70's and made the game in Seattle. When I lived in the Bay Area I went to the Stanford games. If there was ever a game on TV I watched it.
I moved back to Southern California in 1987 for the job that I still have. Between 1987 and Pete Carroll's arrival I probably made maybe 2-3 games a season where my brother Mike and I would just show up and buy tickets at the game. In those days I think it was Ralph's had a deal where you could get 2 for 1 tickets to select games that I would get. Back then tickets were not hard to come by at all.
I remember going to a game and having scholarship tickets. It was a real first cabin deal and the amenities there (your own beer line?!) were unreal. But one of the things that stuck with me was that my friends and I were about the only people yelling and everyone else looked at us, that is until they left early, like we were common louts! Nice people but you would have thought they were at high tea.
I had a feeling about Pete Carroll and when offered the "deal" of Herd tickets I thought "What the hell, I'll give it a shot". The rest as they say is pretty much history. Since the Herd got started I have missed one home game and wouldn't you know it was the game where Pete came up in the stands with the Herd section?!
What were your first impressions of the Herd?
I was always nuts about college football and completely over the top about SC football. My wife Monica who used to leave the house when I watched the SC-nd game can attest to that. Depending on your perspective, I suppose I've gotten either better or worse since with my affiliation with the Herd. While Mike has always been on about the same level as me, my wife Monica is now just as bad. I take full credit for that.
I live for college football. I watch every game I can and HS games as well. The NFL really doesn't do it for me though I follow former SC players. I can't wait for the college season to start and I religiously buy those preseason magazines. I used to buy them all which was pricey so I now buy maybe 3-4 of the same ones every year. I follow recruiting and though I am not an expert I scare even my brother sometimes with some of the stuff I know. My life and to some extents my vacation schedule is set up around Saturdays during the season. I have game day superstitions and the whole package.
Man, has the gamble on those discounted Herd season tix paid off!! I have met the greatest people and had some of the best times. I am not much of a joiner but this is a whole different deal to be part of. As I explain to people it is alot like a cult experience. There have just been so many intense experiences together and it feels really good to have been there from that first game where there were 45,000 pople in the stands and people were gripped because we didn't sit down.
There are a few seminal Herd moments; from "We Believe" to Thomas Williams jumping into the stands and Pete Carroll coming up and greeting Herders. Are there any special moments that you remember and feel a strong part of?
In terms of Herd experiences I don't think anybody who was at the kal game where they had 4 shots at our endzone at the end of the game will ever forget that. I am sure my hearing has still not recovered from that game. God bless Sean Cody and Mike Patterson. The times the house got rockin' because we incited it are highlights. The times that we've been recognized by Pete Carroll, his staff and the team and invited to practice or down on the field have been epic.
I work in an office where sarcasm and dogging people is the order of the day. My office has all kinds of SC football stuff in it and it is no secret that I am a rabid SC football fan. The Monday after the ucla game last year was like the trail of tears for me. People hate SC winning so I catch a lot of that kind of stuff and things about being a bandwagoner (forget I have been going to games for 30 years. I attended both the Fresno St Freedom Bowl and the Vegas Bowl!).
There is a guy in my office who went to nd on a football scholarship who I hear it from as well as a domer I started betting a few years back that the loser has to wear the winners jersey to work. To his credit he has kept his bet, last year even wearing it into court under a suit jacket where he was ridiculed by the judge.
I have a big collection of SC stuff. (photo right: The Changos and the maddogs) I have a closet full of signed jerseys, real game day jerseys and a collection of jerseys I wear to games including my usual game gear a #18 jersey in honor of Butch Nungesser. I have programs from every game I have ever been to. One of the coolest things I have is a wool football overcoat like the players would wear in really cold weather. It is from the 40's or 50's and is cardinal with Southern California on the back in big gold letters.
I'll say it again; I wait all year for football season to start. I can't wait to go to games. A big part of what makes the whole thing so great is being part of the Herd. It's not just a game it's more like a religious experience.
Fight on and beat everybody this year!


TrojanSkyCop said...

Congrats and Fight On for the well-deserved recognition, Mark! Give my best to Monica and Mike as well!


Chris 'TrojanSkyCop' Orr

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