Monday, October 31, 2005

Homecoming: Not Just Any Game

"It's not just any game day for us," said one USC fan at Saturday's game against Washington State. "It's Homecoming."

USC president Steven Sample seconded those thoughts. "It's a reunion, a sense of the Trojan Family coming together for the first time each year," he said, standing on the sidelines. Sample couldn't help but talk a little football, too, gushing over the "excitement" of USC football and the respect he had for the players.

Prominent alum George Lucas was also on hand for the festivities, accompanied by his son. What did Lucas think of this year's Trojan football team? "Exciting." He also hinted that he might be making more appearances on campus in the near future. "My daughter will be attending USC next year," he reported.

(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Another well-known USC fan, Snoop Dogg, was also in attendance. He said running back LenDale White had invited him to the game, and he was wearing White's 21 jersey on the sidelines. In typical Snoop style, he made his presence known, guest-conducting the USC band and appearing on the stadium JumboTron when White scored a touchdown and then tossed the rapper the football.

After the game, players like Keith Rivers took extra time to sign autographs for fans outside the tunnel, then headed off to a special barbecue for players and their friends and family. Away from the spotlight, the players enjoyed a spread that included home-cooked steaks and grilled shrimp.

The rest of the evening included fathers recounting glory days and mothers rushing around to make sure all the players had gotten enough to eat. Laughter filled the air as players recounted the highlights and blunders of the game. Several others joked about whose mom was the best cook.

Said one parent, summing up the day, "Homecoming really is a reunion, an excuse for people to come together, watch a hell of a football game and remember what it means to be a Trojan."

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