Who the Hell is Bob Lusk? (WVRC on November 7th)

Just because we were both at UCLA in the late 40's, and just because he directly followed me as President of WVRC doesn't mean I should be required to remember EVERYTHING!  So when our Speaker, Dan Guerrero, mentioned BOB LUSK early in his talk, I just wanted to be sure who we were talking about - thus my question after Dan sat down.  When one's reputation in these name matters is in question, one cannot afford to take any unnecessary risks on the next name encountered, as I'm sure you can understand.  But, as usual, I digress.  On to the start of our meeting:

TERRY M. WHITE led the Pledge, with only PP ERIC LOBERG complaining that there was no history provided beforehand.  Get over it, ERIC, life is full of these disappointments.  Anyway, the song was next, and an even more chaotic-than-usual scene erupted, with some dissidents in the audience beginning to sing "Dixie", well before the HARRIS brothers and pianist PP JIM DOWNIE were prepared to begin.  This was somewhat quieted down, and then  PP JIM played a rousing rendition on his keyboard. An attempt by our harassed leaders to restart the song didn't fly - but the bottom line is that everyone had a good time during all this confusion.  At this juncture, a moneymaking opportunity appeared - PP MIKE NEWMAN was scheduled to give the Invocation, but he didn't show. This earned him, in absentia, a hundred buck fine!  SANDY SANDERSON gamely stepped forward, quoting from an ancient history book he had read in high school.  In it, they pointed out that man is born fighting, and dies fighting. This goes on all through life, and those that persist, usually win.

PP RALPH WOODWORTH made a find - we HAD a Visiting Rotarian!  He was George Methe, from Culver City Rotary. George was present on a bit of what you could call reverse-gumshooing.  He was responsible for collecting the bid amounts on silent auction items at the Paul Harris Celebration, and one such was signed, "Nina".  Between us, we figured out this was Nina JACKSON, so I assume he was there to deliver her purchase.  Other guests included ART HENRY'S sister, Linda Henry.  She is from Bellingham, Washington, but now lives in LA, and works in real estate with ART'S brother.  PP JIM COLLINS introduced the tomato he was with as his first wife, Carol.  MIKE YOUSEM brought along a possible Special Guest, Marv Steinberg - the two of them attended grammar school together in Omaha.  MIKE tells me that was almost twenty years ago… I had Dana Wood with me - his second visit as a Special Guest - but I was so traumatized by my name-confusion in last week's Windmill that I completely failed to introduce him.  The good news is that he knows most of the members already, being another one of those local Methodists. Among his other claims to fame is that he produced the discs on the Paul Wineman speech of October 24th.  We will have more of these next week, in case you didn't get one this Thursday (attn.: LILLIAN, OK?)

SLOS VIAU brought along Estella Wilson, Executive Director of the Salvation Army Transitional Village - note this is very local for us, located on Sepulveda, between Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd.  Estella reported that we had outdone ourselves on the just-completed clothing drive, exceeding our donations of last year by a large amount.  She stated that we have outfitted more than 2/3rds of their residents - and that's something we should all be proud of, certainly. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Bessie Pregerson Child Care Center at the same location - they presently have 53 kids enrolled, ages 2 to 5, and this looks like an excellent future opportunity for WVRC to help in our local community. SLOS, thank you for your continuing involvement with these fine programs.

LEE DUNAYER announced the Day of the Child program at Santa Monica Pier this weekend  - there will be 2100 Foster Kids there, and we should consider helping them next time they present a local program.  MIKE YOUSEM reminded us that the annual Christmas Shopping Trip is set for Thursday evening, December 12th, with the Westside YMCA kids.  Note that we will be dark for a couple of meetings close to the 12th, so please call MIKE to sign up as a host - spouses are also most welcome, and they expect 25 kids to be available.  PP DAVE WHITEHEAD again noted the Computer Class, set for Saturday afternoon, November 16th, from 1 to 4 pm.  RALPH SMITH announced that the VP of Jr. Achievement, Geoff Wilson, will be making a presentation at our meeting next week.  The Yearling Breakfast is set for Tuesday, Nov. 19th, 0730 at the Holiday Inn - HARLAN LEWIS needs your RSVP.  And finally, the joint meeting with LA 5 on Friday the 22nd just before the SC/UCLA game is still taking sign-ups - we have over NINETY going already!  SALLY BRANT is in charge.  

And now, in an act of mercy seldom seen in our otherwise-callous environment, I was permitted to appear before you all to explain my error - make that screw-up - regarding who ran last week's meeting. I asked the two contenders to stand before you, their peers, and answer some direct questions - my hope being that their responses would help me to get off the hook on this matter.  After diligent questioning by myself, it turns out that both PETER and TED do have some similarities.  Both are married, both to women from the Far East, both have three kids (this was disputed, but I overlook that), both travel to the same Far East on business - but Ah Hah!  One of them exercises by playing tennis, and the other gets his exercise walking to and from his car.  Now, if I can just remember which one does which exercise, I may have it made.  I thank you all for your indulgence…

PP JIM COLLINS introduced our Speaker, Dan Guerrero, who is the newly appointed Athletic Director at UCLA.  As JIM pointed out, he doesn't often get a chance to introduce a fraternity brother, but both he and Dan were members of Beta Theta Phi during their undergraduate years.  Dan succeeded Pete Dalis on July lst, after four years at Dominguez Hills and the last nine years at UC Irvine. While at Irvine, he restarted what is now a first-rate baseball program, and brought in several new coaches who agreed with his philosophy about the vital importance of maintaining scholarship standards while still competing on a winning level.  He was able to convince (read, sell) the students at Irvine on the need for upgrading several athletic facilities. They then voted to use part of their student fees to pay for this badly needed equipment and remodeling.  During his tenure, he supervised the construction of over forty million dollars worth of such new facilities, much of the money coming from alumni donors whom Dan contacted.

He started out be telling a story about Yogi Berra.  Seems Berra was described by someone as 'cool' and he responded by saying, "Well, you're not so hot yourself".  Then there was the hungry lion, who killed a bull, and roared in satisfaction.  This roar was heard by a nearby hunter, who in turned killed the lion.  Moral - if you are full of bull, keep your mouth shut!  On a more serious note, Dan noted the similarity between Rotary and UCLA - both are committed to public service, and thus their mission is the same.

Dan and his wife attended the UCLA-Washington football game last weekend.  As the game wound down, he came down from the stands to be among the players. It was apparent that everyone involved was both mentally and physically spent - but they persisted, and won, in front of a largely hostile crowd of some 70K shouting fans.  He was proud of not only their courage but also their composure in the face of such adversity.  He was also pleased with the recent, all-California World Series, noting that both teams were Wild Card entries.  And of course, the MVP, Troy Glaus (sp?) played his college ball at UCLA!

Dan outlined his own path to UCLA - he was recruited by all the West Coast schools, but his family liked UCLA, and he choose it because it provided both the best education and the best program.  He lettered for three years at 2nd base - and it was here that another 2nd baseman was named - BOB LUSK - some anonymous (read, cowardly) clown in our audience had the effrontery to shout out, "Did you get that, Ernie"? My only response is that sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me - SO THERE! Anyway, Dan thanked UCLA for his experience while there, giving him the opportunity to progress in his chosen field of athletic administration.  He was appointed on April 25th, 2002, which allowed some time for an introduction to procedures by Pete Dalis, and the transition from Irvine was easier because they are also part of the University of California system.

What type of guy is he?  He hates to lose - but his challenges include graduating athletes at a high level and emphasizing integrity in all aspects of the program.  Gender equity must be fostered, along with diversity, and of course, fiscal soundness.  Coaching salaries are too high elsewhere, and while some facilities must be improved, he does not intend for UCLA to try to build any Taj Mahals.  He thinks of himself as a man who considers the glass to be half full, and told of his Dad getting him his first bat and ball - both plastic.  He tossed the ball up, swung, and missed.  Strike one.  Again, swung and missed.  Strike two.  Same on Strike three - but his reaction was, "Well, I may not be a very good hitter, but I'm a good pitcher".

Q&A -DON NELSON, What tutoring is provided? Any class is eligible, study time is supervised, and a good effort is required.  They must learn to work smarter.  LENNY FRIEDMAN, What are your duties?  I give lots of speeches, but our budget is 40 million dollars, of which very little comes from the state.  I oversee 22 different sports, watch out for their financial stability, check on media relations, facilities, academics, and I'm the contact between the Athletic Department and the rest of the campus. KEN LEVER, Any plans for an on-campus football stadium?  We have a very small campus, and planned growth is necessary, but there simply isn't room.  We will consider other venues than the Rose Bowl, but we are happy there.  PP HOMER NEWMAN, Are you involved in scheduling?  Yes, we are now setting the 2010 football schedule, while basketball is done only a year or two in advance.  This year, we play St. Johns, Michigan, Kansas, Duke, and we are working on a home and home with Michigan State. PP STEVE SCHERER, What about gender equity in men's sports?  We must conform, and the rules are now clearer than when it first started.  The intent is not to reduce men's sports, but their 85 football scholarships have no comparable number in any women's program.  Thus, there are more women's sports available. This has eliminated wrestling, swimming, and gymnastics from the men's program.  PP HOWIE HENKES, Does proportionality come in here?
The number of undergraduate men and women is basic, and we are within 5% of equality here.  (If you wonder why I moved to the head table during the Q&A, it allows me to SEE who is asking the questions, OK?)   Dan Guerrero, we appreciate your being with us, and wish you success in your many new challenges.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe