USCHerd, a USC fan site celebrating the USC Fan.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Herder of the Month - July 2007

Dreaming in Cardinal & Gold
Herder of the Week - SCVince

by Mojack

As the great minds of the world still struggle with the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, Herdmembers debate whether it was luck or genius or a combination of both that the Herd was brought into existence in the beginning of 2001 before Pete Carroll’s incredible run of success on the football field. Who knew that the Herd would have front row seats for one of the greatest runs of dominance since NCAA football began? Who knew that the Trojans would go to 5 straight BCS games? (photo left: SCVince and son Vinnie) Who knew that the concept of the Herd would continue to grow every year with the Trojans’ success on the field? The answer; nobody. Nobody in 2001 knew what the future held for the Trojans and Pete Carroll and/or the Thundering Herd.
But almost all of the original Herders have held on since the beginning, and they will have some special memories that will never be taken away. Each time we profile another Herder, we learn how the Herd and the Herd Forum and the Trojan games and the Trojan experience have enriched the lives of the Herder, and as they’ve enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships that they’ve fostered through the Herd, seemingly they’ve helped to enrich other Herdmember’s lives and the lives of those around them.
This month’s Herder of the Month, SCVince, regales us with another touching story about USC football and what it’s meant to his life. He tells us about the lifelong friendships he’s shared with USCRick and Father Mike (scpriest), and how they brought him into the Herd, and in so doing, Vince has been able to bring his son Vinnie into this Trojan family by introductng him to a great group of caring yet diehard Trojan fans. It is people like SCVince and Vinnie who make the Herd a special group. True, the Herd has been on a great ride of USC Football dominance, but the ride has been enhanced and enriched by the friendships made in the Herd and especially by getting to know the unique individuals of the Herd. That’s what this is all about, not football success, but football kinship.
I asked Yucca to write a few words about Vince and Yucca wrote back, “When I was running a numbers racket in Santa Fe Springs, Vince was my muscle. Put a ½ inch pipe in his hand, and he can get blood from a turnip. And he’s a great Trojan fan too.”
Brooks followed that up with, “Vince is the epitome of loyalty. He has more longevity as a resident of Santa Fe Springs than any other resident. How many guys do you know who have stayed in the same poverty-stricken town while communities around them jump into the upscale class and into the 21st Century. (joke, insert laugh track here) He has also been a Herd member since the early days. I can't remember him missing a home game. And we know that he will fight for the team. A couple years back, someone in the Herd was floating a banner that the Herd didn't like. I'm not sure but I believe it was saying something negative about the starting quarterback. Vince destroyed the sign. Don't hold me to the details of the confrontation but trust me, there was a confrontation. As it escalated, Vince realized that the guy was quite a bit bigger but Vince went for it. All of a sudden, the guy just kind of collapsed. He kind of collapsed because Vinny, Vince's quiet son collapsed him from the bottom. End of fight. The moral of the story: if you want to take on Vince, make sure Vinny isn't around.”
The moral of this intro is that Vince and Vinny are always around the Herd, and we couldn’t be happier and feel safer. Thanks for being a great Herdmember and Trojan fan Vince. Fight On to our Herder of the Month for July 2007.
How did you became a USC fan?

First off, thanks for selecting me as Herder of the Week. I will try to live up to
the lofty standards, but don't hold me to it. Let me start out by saying that the friendships I have found in the Herd are enduring relationships with a strong foundation in Trojan football. Being a Trojan for life is a very true statement, and being a member of the Thundering Herd makes it even more so. It fosters and nourishes our desire to be all that is Trojan. I can't imagine a better way to live as a Trojan than standing with the Thundering Herd. One has to experience it to know it. I'm sure you all know what I mean.
I attended my first USC game at the age of 10. My Sunday school teacher promised he would take us to see a USC game if we finished our assignments. Only three of us in the class got to go. It was 1965 against the cal bears and I remember walking through campus before the game, awestruck by Tommy Trojan and marching with the band over to the Coliseum. Mike Garrett was the star of the game. USC won and I fell in love with the Trojan tradition. From that point forward, I dreamed of going to USC and did all I could to make that dream come true. I grew up in Santa Fe Springs, which is about 17 miles east of USC. Growing up so close to LA, put me in close touch with the USC/ucla rivalry. You were either a Trojan fan or a bruin fan. Back in those days, it was pretty much like it is now. USC dominates football, but ucla dominated basketball. I think we have closed the gap in basketball, and have distanced ourselves from those sonsabitches in football. From the get-go, I hated ucla; but I hated cal first. There has always been something about cal that I have always disliked.
Tell us how you used to support USC, watch games, etc., before you discovered the Herd?
Prior to discovering the Herd, I attended many home and away games, but did not have season tickets. In high school I attended some home games. My parents were friends with Bill Bain Sr. and Bill Bain Jr. was playing for USC at the time. After graduating from SC, I relied on USCRich and the Gutierrez family to get the tickets and I went along for the ride (still do). Rich and I met at USC when we were freshmen students and became immediate friends. His Mom and Dad kind of adopted me into the family. Father Mike was just a little kid back then, but was a big USC fan. Hell, the whole family was USC. Rich Sr. attended USC after World War II and he had season tickets for many years. Rich and I went to every home game as students and made it to some road games. After graduation, we relied on Rich Sr. for tickets. I went to USC during the golden era of USC football, 73 to 78 (same years as MPRon). Rich and I experienced some great Trojan victories, including the comeback victory over Notre Dame and the Shelton Diggs two point conversion to beat OSU in the Rose Bowl. I thought that was as good as it gets until I discovered The Thundering Herd.

Which brings us to how I discovered the Thundering Herd. I believe USCRich wa
s one of the original posters on the old TFO board and I remember him telling me about a group of guys trying to organize a fan support group for Trojan football. Rich told me to go online and check it out, but I was computer illiterate at the time and wrote it off. That was sometime around 1999 or so. Shortly thereafter, I went through a very disheartening and emotional divorce (what divorces aren't) in the year 2000. My brother was murdered in February of that year and my wife divorced me in May. She took the new house in Murrieta and I was exiled back to Santa Fe Springs. Little did I know at the time it was a blessing.

Good ol USCRich came to
the rescue. He flew out from Colorado just to make sure I was OK and wouldn't pull a Peter Pan off the Telegraph pedestrian bridge. Rich told me to start attending USC games again. Rich Sr. and his good friend Kenny had season tickets in section 10, just west of the Herd. Father Mike also had season tickets.
What was your first Herd game, and what were your first impressions of the Herd?
In 2001, I attended a few home games compliments of these good friends and that's when I discovered the Thundering Herd. Our seats were close enough to see all the faces. Brooks, Shorty, Mojack, Grover, Deke, Cardinal Blood, Dr. Z, Champs, Yucca, Cowboy and all the other crazies. I just knew I had to be down there. Fr. Mike knew it too. Next game, we walked on down to section 11. It was like walking into one of those open parties in high school. Everyone was having a ball. From that point forward, we had tickets in section 10, but we were standing with the Herd and I realized the Golden Years were here again.
You and your son Vinnie have a special relationship, since in a sense you have USC Football as a very bonding experience to share together. You've also have good friends that you've met at Trojan games and Herdgates? What has the Trojan experience and the Herd experience meant to you?

I have not missed a game since joining the Herd on that wonderful day in 2001, and I have to thank Father Mike for that. You know Michael comes across as an unassuming fun-loving guy, but he has a heart as big as the Coliseum, and he would give you the shirt off his back - even in a Denver blizzard. There
was some difficult moments for me in 2001 during my divorce. I could only see Vinson once every other Friday. I would drive to Murietta to visit him for one hour, then drive back to Santa Fe Springs. I got to take him to two football games that year, and both games were with the Herd. The most memorable was the cal game when we were down by 21 and came back to win. Yucca got thrown out and got back in. Cowboy gloated over in the cal section after the game. It was one of those magical USC games, and what made it so special, Vinnie was with me - and he has been with me ever since. I got custody of Vinson when he turned 14 (in 2004) and we have experienced some great Trojan moments together - not only the great games, but the friendships and the family that is The Thundering Herd.
I would like to thank all members of the Herd for helping to bind and nourish the relationship with my son. There are memories that will last forever. I can't think of a better way to spend time with your son than with the Herd watching Trojan football. Special thanks to the Gutierrez family for helping me out when I was at the end of my rope.
There are a few seminal Herd moments from Pete Carroll coming up into the stands, to Desmond Reed and Thomas Williams pointing us out. There have been great road game experiences. Great tailgate experiences; seeing the Tree kick Yucca's ass. Share with us some personal moments of glory you've had as a Herd member; watching, participating, instigating, etc.

OK - let's touch upon some lighter moments during this time of rediscovery. The Auburn game in Alabama comes to mind. Yucca,
Fr. Mike, Joe, and Yucca's buddy from Atlanta and I got plastered all to the dismay of USCRich. After finding out that Rich wouldn't let us take the rental van, Mike proceeded to flag down the nearest cabbie. We ran into Yucca and his buddy and took another cab to Buckhead. We found a bar loaded with Trojans and partied all night. I don't remember getting back to the hotel, but Rich was pissed. Don't mess with Rich on gameday. He expects everyone up and ready to go. It's like being in the armed forces. Everyone has an assignment and you better do it.

You think I would've learned my lesson after the Colorado/Kansas St. back-to-back
road trip. USCRich hosted the Colorado tailgate. There's nothing like a road game to bring Herders together, partying in a hostile environment. I found an old Trojan, Vinnie Van Dyke and brought him and his wife over to our post-game tailgate. Got to know Shorty really well. Rich Sr. got to know JoeSC pretty well after a heated policital discussion. After Colorado, it was on to Kansas St. This is where I learned my lesson not to even try to match drinks with Fr Mike. We found a bar in Manhattan KS serving $1 pitchers. Don't remember the rest. I do remember partying with Greekpete and his family and the Mean Farmer.

Fr. Mike, Joe and I made the Oregon St. fog bowl trip, but we got a little sidetracked on the way. Joe has a cousin who lives in
Dunsmiur, so we decided to pay her a visit. We found the nearest watering hole somewhere in the town of Mt. Shasta and cozied up to the bar. There was a band playing live music and this cute blond saddles up and asks me if I want to have a good time. "Sure"! Next thing I know we are in her car driving towards the middle of nowheresville when she starts asking me how much money I have. I asked her if she was still thirsty and then realized she wanted me to pay her for XXX. I politely declined, so the biatch threw me out of her car on a dark night in the woods. I called Mike - no answer, he never answers. I called Joe and he says "where'd you go?" I told him what happened. While walking, I found a veterinarian's residence. Joe's cousin knew where that was (about two miles away) and they came to get me. So I'm walking down the road in the middle of nowhere and Mike comes driving up with Joe's cousin. He is driving on a flat tire. I told him, "Hey Mike, you have a flat tire". He tells me to shut up and get in. Now Mike has pounded down at least a couple pitchers and sure enough as we're driving back through town, we get pulled over. Cop wants to know why he is driving on a flat tire, asks him if he has been drinking - anyway, we got away with a warning. At that point, I knew we would beat OSU, but what a wierd trip, fog and all.

OK, I was asked if I was there when the Stanford tree kicked Yucca's ass. Yes, I was there and I helped Brooks get Yucca released - so to speak. That damn tree was completely out-of-control. Lawrence had just led a SoCal spellout right at the time the stanford band was coming d
own the street in front of our tailgate. The tree was bounding into people and actually knocked over a girl. Vinnie and I were throwing the football. I was getting ready to bounce the football off the back of the tree's head when I see Yucca grab one of tree branches and try to tear it off. All hell breaks loose. Some other dude comes over and starts beating on Yucca while he is being held by the tree. A pure case of intentional thuggery. The cops come over and handcuff Yucca. I start telling the cops that the tree instigated the whole incident. The cop was looking at me in disbelief until Brooks came over to corroborate my story. I guess Brooks appears more believable than me. Cop let Yucca go. First thing Yucca does is walk over to the cooler and grab a beer. 
Here is the controversial question. You are a member of Section 13. Some of you Section 13ers revel in your false pride of actually being the Herd rebels, like you're just a little bit more edgy and hardcore than the Original Herders in Section 11. Tell us a little about a typical Section 13 Herder. Give us some insight into that twisted mentality of the Secton 13ers. Tell us about the rumblings of jealousy you hear when Section 13ers are peering across that tunnel to the promised land of Section 11.
Now for the controversial question asked by Mojack. It seems there is a rumor going on that Section 13 Herders carry a subtle jealousy towards Section 11 Herders - that Section 13 Herders are a bit more rebellious and rowdy than those in section 11. Well, to tell the truth - you section 11 types are nothing but a bunch of wussies, WLP's as Trojan Odyssey would have it, and I will tell you why. For the years prior to last season, we had to fight off the fans in the visiting section 14. Those twerps from cal, ucla asu, osu, etc. have given us a hardened, take-no-prisoners attitude. We have to defend the wall from these marauders every game, with no reinforcements from section 11 during incursions from our most hated enemies, cal and ucla. In fact, I almost got arrested for defending the wall against one of these imposters dressed as a Trojan. Another problem we have in section 13 is the Herd wannabes. They come dressed as Trojans and they stand in our hallowed ground, but they don't come to the tailgates and are just not with it most of the time. (photo below right: The Section 13ers) As far as jealousy, yes I do admit we are jealous of our brothers in 11. We feel like the stepchildren over in 13. All of the big-shots and shot callers and famous Herders reside in 11. Names like Brooks, Valley Trojan, Shorty, Mojack, Cardinal Blood, Deke, Rex, The Springers, Trojan Russ, Grover, JoeSC, Cowboy, Jeff and Cathy, Gary and Shara, SCGary, SCLisa - to name a few. How do we rate with all those famous people. We have guys like Yucca, SCPriest, Joe, Cedrick, Tazz, Gary, Dr. Z, Greekpete, TrojanWarrior - not your famous types. We'll get over it. 
You've been a pretty consistent contributor to the Herd Forum over the years. True, you're not Brooks with 40,000 irrelevant posts, but it seems when you have something you want to say, you're there to add to the discussion. Give us some thoughts on this internet culture, and how the message board introduced you to this group you now belong to, and what it means to you when you wake up and check that message board on a regular basis?

Funny how you mention the Herd message board and how it effects our lives. Man, that is the first thing I read every morning. Even before checking my e-mail at work. I have a home-based office so I can get backed up real quick if I spend too much time on the forum, but I do have my priorities in order - that being Trojan football. In fact, the Herd forum has changed the whole landscape of how I root for USC football, which is everyday. The season never ends. We readily have a forum to discuss our concerns, fears, desires and of course, relish in our victories, which have been many. We are extremely fortunate to have a forum like this to nurture our group and keep everyone in touch. Gratitude to the likes of Mojack, Brooks and Shorty who spend countless hours keeping up the board and volunteering much of their time making the Herd Forum the first stop of every morning and the last stop of every evening. I'm going to help Brooks out this year transporting and setting up some of the fixtures for our tailgates and being his gofer. It's the least I could do for all the Herd has done for me. So let's all remember, true Trojans never say die. WE BELIEVE. And I don’t want to
forget to thank Errol and Grover for all their hard work as our chefs.
Finally, what do you see for the Herd as it moves forward? And what are your final thoughts about your Herd experience?

As the Herd moves forward, I expect the numbers to continue to grow, but that will also be contingent on our continued success on the football field. That will create more work for those in charge of the Herd and we will need more help in that area. I envision all of Section 11 and 13 loaded with the diehard Trojans fans of the Thundering Herd, standing and yelling from the first snap to the last. Thanks and Fight On!


Anonymous said...

Way to go, Vince, Fight On! (-:


Anonymous said...

I'm really Glad i discovered this web site.Added to my bookmark!