I always wanted to attend USC. Growing up in a family of USC alumni, I was born with cardinal and gold blood. I knew the Fight Song like my ABCs. I was destined to be a Trojan.
Yes, I had always heard about the Trojan Family, the connections and everything my parents and relatives had lived, breathed and experienced during their time here. It had seemed like it was just a matter of time until this school would eventually be my home.
The old cliché is to follow your dreams, and USC was my dream school. Of course, I always dreamed of playing in the NBA because I knew what it felt like to be “In The Zone” back in my childhood days. That dream, though, ended in high school. And now my college career is winding down.
But for thousands of students around the world, it’s a crucial time of the year — finals are coming upon us, summer is around the corner and a new beginning awaits next fall for prospective college freshmen.
For those of you graduating high school and for parents of high school seniors, I understand there is some uneasiness about choosing USC — especially with the recent events of the last two weeks.
But before making a rash decision based on these incidents, think about all the great things the campus has to offer.
What embodies the Trojan spirit, what embodies the Trojan Family can be found when looking to our football and basketball programs this last year for some guidance and inspiration.
Winning on the gridiron is pretty much expected for Trojan football. It seemed like an eternity that former coach Pete Carroll’s squads ruled the collegiate football landscape. Fast-forward to summer 2009 when the NCAA laid down the law. That destroyed my hopes of ever attending a bowl game as a student.
And there was certainly disappointment. But last season, experiencing and watching a team bond was something special. Who can ever forget the Oregon game that capped off the season?
As for our basketball program, it’s been a little different. There would be no postseason during my first year at this school because of self-imposed sanctions. There was a swift exit from the NCAA tournament the following year.
Last season was arguably one of the most frustrating sights to watch. Players kept getting injured. The losses kept coming. But if there’s anything to take away from the group of young men competing on the hardwood night in and night out, it’s their heart and character.
These two athletic programs made the most of what they had. They were dealt a hand that certainly wasn’t too favorable. There was overreaction from even the most loyal fans and probably unjustified scrutiny. Nobody thought the football team would emerge as one of the top teams in the nation last fall. On the other end of the spectrum, nobody believed the basketball team would suffer as tough a season this year. But it never mattered — not to the players, at least. They fought, they clawed and they battled.
In spite of hardships, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. The Trojan Family and the Trojan bond are stronger than whatever else might try tearing us down.
If there is one thing that can be gleaned from my time as a USC student, it’s this: Always remember to fight on.
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