WESTWOOD VILLAGE and L.A. FIVE - November 22nd

Yes, we had a wonderful joint meeting with LA 5 on Friday the 22nd, with over 100 Westwood Village Rotarians and guests making the long trek downtown. SALLY BRANT arranged the bus transportation, which left from the Methodist Church at 10 and 11 a.m. The early bus was provided so those who hadn't seen the Cathedral of Our Lady of Los Angeles could have time for a tour before the actual program began. The next bus arrival was in time for the start of the program, which was at 11.50 in the Plaza. Before that, starting at 11:30 was an open-air reception in the Plaza, with drinks provided by two L.A. 5 members, Wes Idol III and Manny Ahsan. Idol's family owns Pacific Dining Car restaurant, and represents USC, while Ahsan is a VP of Manufacturer's Bank, and stands up for UCLA. The UCLA band and spirit squad provided entertainment during the reception (the schools alternate having their bands present for this welcoming activity).

The formal part of the program began outside, with the flag presented by the Manual Arts High School Junior ROTC. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, we sang the National Anthem, accompanied by the UCLA band. They then led everyone upstairs to the meeting room in the Conference Center. As background, the idea for this joint meeting started with SALLY BRANT, who recalled attending similar programs with her late husband, BOB, when he was still a member of LA 5 (he later joined WVRC, of course). SALLY asked PP JIM COLLINS and PP BOB WESSLING to join her team - JIM as the direct contact for UCLA, and BOB for his known abilities as a coach, and both carried out their responsibilities very well, as you would expect.

This was the 52nd annual USC/UCLA Football Rally, and the total attendance came to 525! L.A.5 President Bob Aldridge ran the meeting, and it was busy - and completely scripted, down to the exact amount of time each speaker (and there were about fifteen) was allowed. Our own DAVE MATSON gave an excellent invocation, followed by several introductions. For those of you who follow college athletics, you will remember Rod Dedeaux - the long-time coach of USC baseball. During his over 40 years at USC, the Trojans won the Conference Championship 28 times - a record which obviously still stands. Dedeaux started the USC/UCLA luncheon affair in 1958, and was its chairman for many years. He was saluted, and then asked if he would like to reply. I regret that I didn't have my tape recorder along, but he was terrific! He had a bunch of funny stories, and when he paused, several lovely women from the audience came up and hugged him. His comment, "I though! t I had died and gone to heaven - and oh, to be eighty again".   He then cautioned two of his grandchildren, who were in the audience, not to tell their grandmother what he had said!

Mike Garrett, USC Director of Athletics, and Dan Guerrero, UCLA Director of Athletics, then spoke briefly, and each accepted a check for their scholarship fund of $5,000.00. Keith Parker, Asst. Vice Chancellor of Government and Community Relations at UCLA, and Dennis Dougherty, Senior VP of Administration at USC, were up next. Parker spoke first, offering ten reasons why the Bruins would beat the Trojans -for instance, the UCLA band knows more than the two songs the Trojan band does. Dougherty pointed out that they had won the last three - it was an excellent exchange between the two of them. Coach Bob Toledo had two minutes, and pointed out that this was really the best inter-city rivalry in the whole country. USC coach Pete Carroll agreed, and emphasized that many of the players on both teams had played with, or against, each other while still in high school.

The two radio announcers, Chris Roberts from UCLA, and Pete Arbogast from USC, then interviewed a number of former players from each school. The USC players were Gordon Gray, Randy Curtis, Marlin McKeever, Terry Barnum and Craig Fertig (who later coached at USC). From UCLA, Frank Stephens, Ken Norton Jr, Brendan McCracken, Wendell Tyler, and Craig Rutledge. Both groups spoke well, pointing out how much the game had meant to them during their playing days. I was particularly impressed by Ken Norton Jr, who played with Dallas and San Francisco, and was chosen for the Pro Bowl and played in the Super Bowl - he felt the USC/UCLA games compared to those biggies.

We had a two-minute video of highlights from past USC/UCLA games, and this was perhaps the only part of the program that wasn't perfect - there were some technical problems, and then when they got straightened out, we often weren't sure who was doing what in the clips that followed. Chris Roberts and Pete Arbogast then auctioned off several items - tickets for the game, and autographed footballs and helmets from each team. These brought in over $5,000 - and last year, they only raised $500, so you can see why LA 5 wants us to co-sponsor this event EACH year henceforth.

That pretty well covers what was an event everyone enjoyed. If you missed it, it's likely that we will do it again, so it is something to look forward to.

And now, a P.S.

Sunday afternoon at Westwood Methodist, we held a lovely reception for PP DOUG DESCH.  His neice, Kathy Pharis was there, along with two sons of her brother, Mike. The program itself was very short, with SHARON RHODES-WICKETT speaking on behalf of the Church, and Prexy TED providing a brief Rotary coverage. The crowd was large, the buffet food was delicious, and we all had an excellent opportunity to visit with DOUG. Cards were provided for those who wished to give him a written message, and everyone came away feeling good about our visit. It was a lovely Sunday afternoon.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe