Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oxy Undaunted

There's an article in the Sports Section of the L.A. Times today about Occidental College in Eagle Rock. It brought back memories. They are a Div. III College. They play Colleges like Redlands and La Verne. Without any athletic scholarships they have something in common with mighty U.S.C. ie. They are undefeated this season...8-0. They have crowds smaller than at some H.S. games and an enrollment of around 1900 students. They get less publicity than some H.S. teams. However, they have avid and loyal fans. I'd be one if I still lived in that area where I grew up.

Walking through their beautiful "ivy league-ish" campus, as I did alot, one g0t that "feeling" of loyalty, fraterity etc. "be true to your school" from the Beach Boys song. It was old and ivy- covered when I did just that back in '54, '55, '56. It was a short-cut on my "long walk home" that I had to do most days. You just went over the hill and through the Park behind Eagle Rock High. There was the Sylvan Amphi-theater back there nestled in the trees. It was quite hidden from view and kids would go back there to "make out" and "smoke" (quite foreign to me at that time...ha, ha, ha) It was rumored that they had an "honor system" on the Oxy campus that was so strong that you could leave your books or belongings on a bench and they would "rot" before someone would steal or disturb them.

I went to many a "swim and gymnastic" meet there since our school didn't have adequate facilities for those sports. John Bobo was a record holder in the "butterfly" and a great tuba player too. He hung out there too. I would see campus flyers of events upcoming. I actually went to a choir concert there. It was on the Jewish festival of Hanakah..."Festival of Lights". First time I had heard any of that beautiful music and there was this one particular girl in the front row that looked very "distracting" in her choir robe...I remember.

The article in the Times jokes about the football captain and team not knowing the words to the "alma mater" which is always sung at the end of each game. They usually just went back to the locker room. This time, because it was Homecoming, they had been asked to stay and sing. Most didn't know the words, so the undefeated quarterback, Andy Collins, flipped up his wrist band, where he kept the plays etc. and there he had a copy of the words folded up. All the team gathered around to sing together and get a picture taken:

"Occidental Glorious
O'er her foes victorious
Be her praise uproarious!
Occidental Fair!"

It was for camaraderie with the Alumni. How many of us even remember our school songs?
I probably don't. Let's see"

"Far above the city's turmoil
Arched by blue above...
...Eagle Rock... ugh...
Nope. How about my class song?

"Imperials, we're known for our success
With our colors flying, we symbolize the best
Persian Blue and Ivory, forever may they stand
Ever true and loyal and known through out the land."
Yep. That was just the first verse. Oh, those were the days!

Oxy has been fielding a team since 1984, 35 years before the USC-UCLA rivalry was born. It's 1957 team spawned Jack Kemp, the Republican Vice Presidential Nominee in 1996, and Jim Mora, a former NFL coach, both of whom returned to Patterson Field for the Homecoming Reunion.

Many of the current players, from the 65 who come out, play both offense and defense. They have to work extra hard at practice and at games. They also have to be very strong academically just to go to Oxy. "You've got to make the Big Time where you're at." Andy Collins. This is a great attitude and one to carry with you through all your life I think. Bob


At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Bette said...

Eagle Rock from thee we take the honored(or hallowed?) name we love.

Eagle Rock thy symbol guides us,
by it we'll prevail

To thy courage, strength and honor,
Eagle Rock, all hail.

At 7:17 AM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

Ah, yes! I might've known you would remember those words. I've got the tune down cold. Do you remember your class song? Let's just see if you remember them 5 years from now when you'll be my advanced age. ;-)

At 7:15 AM, Anonymous Bette said...

Celestians, we are Celestians,
the class of Winter 62
With thy centaur's strength and power, we excell in all we do.

We're leaving this school behind us, Eagle Rock, we say to you
and I forgot the rest!

At 8:06 AM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

You see!'s starting. Five years from now...(?)..."swiss cheese" up there...just like me.
;-) Bob


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