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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Zona Zoo road trip successful despite loss

    Michael Schwartz
    Michael Schwartz

    PASADENA, Calif. – When I found out the Zona Zoo was taking a road trip to see Saturday’s Arizona-UCLA football game, I figured it was a must go. I mean, it’s not every day Arizona makes it to the Rose Bowl.

    Although the bus ride was long and the Wildcats played, well, a typical Arizona football game, all in all it was a good time. Here’s the minute-by-minute account:

    3:55 a.m., Saturday: We pull out of McKale Center about an hour late. So it begins.

    6:22: We stop at McDonald’s and it actually looks nice. We must be in Phoenix.

    9:00: “”Here come your Arizona Wildcats!”” A bit predictable, but a nice touch to replay the video of last year’s UCLA-Arizona game. Can lightning strike twice?

    10:00: We get our free T-shirts, which are a must for any Zona Zoo trip (and, it seems, for any fraternity or sorority outing as well. Do they really need a shirt for every date dash?) This one’s appropriate. On the front: “”Remember, remember the fifth of November”” with a single rose. Also, a gravestone that says, “”RIP Bruins 11-5-05 and a “”Road to the Rose Bowl”” graphic. Back: “”Relive the madness”” with Wilbur driving a bus. Another group bought shirts with pretty much the same touch, but with “”52-14″” on the back. The Zona Zoo shirt was solid, but the score just rubs it in that much more.

    12:31 p.m.: The Rose Bowl is in sight!

    12:42: I listen to “”Bear Down, Arizona”” on my iPod. Yes, it’s sad that I have “”Bear Down, Arizona”” on my iPod. But I’m ready for game time.

    12:50: So I’ve got a little problem. We’re about to leave the bus, but I’ve got to brush my teeth, and there’s no sink in the bathroom. I can’t visit the Rose Bowl with dog breath, so I decided to brush my teeth on the bus, spit into the toilet and wash my brush off with water from my water bottle. It worked out except the bathroom smelled worse than those at Sun Devil Stadium. (Note to self: Don’t use the toilet on the way back.)

    1:09: Walking by a bunch of UCLA tailgaters we start the “”52-14!”” chants. I just hope the Bruins fans don’t chant something similar by game’s end.

    1:37: Food is served at the alumni tailgate.

    2:14: One double cheeseburger, one piece of chicken, half a hot dog, a couple pickles, four sugar cookies and one oatmeal raisin cookie later, I’m finally done.

    3:13: After we get our tickets, I spot the UA fan group known as the “”Red Army.”” Even in Los Angeles, it feels like home.

    3:55: It’s 20 minutes before game time, but where is everybody? Oh yeah, I forgot – we’re in LA. That means they don’t show up until after the game starts.

    3:59: We serenade the Bruins with “”Bear Down, Arizona!”” as they take the field.

    4:10: U-C-L-A, UCLA sucks, sucks, sucks! Nice coordinated effort by the Bruin student section on their infamous cheer, complete with hand motions, but I guess they only come out en masse for basketball.

    4:29: The Wildcats still have no running game, but at least they got a first down. And I can’t complain that I’m sitting in the third row at the Rose Bowl.

    4:32: UCLA quarterback Ben Olson is drilled and taken out of the game, it turns out for good. The Wildcats should be able to beat their backup, right?

    4:40: Five punts in 10 minutes. I might be at the Rose Bowl, but this is definitely an Arizona game.

    5:00: Willie’s hurt. Should we start the buses now?

    5:08: An Arizona touchdown off a 10-yard reception by Mike Thomas. We’ve got two people crowd surfing. Maybe Adam Austin’s the savior. Uhh, probably not.

    5:15: So much for the tie. UCLA touchdown.

    5:19: Stoops goes nuts on a UCLA fumble recovery when Syndric Steptoe never had control of the ball. Stoops walks halfway across the field, which somehow football coaches get away with yet a basketball coach never does. Good thing he was right, as the call was overturned on instant replay.

    6:02: Another 52-14 chant, although the Wildcats’ are down 14-7.

    6:38: The Bruins are now up 20-7 after consecutive field goals. I believe in miracles, even with this UA offense.

    6:47: Ronnie Palmer drops another potential UA interception that could have been returned for a touchdown. There goes Arizona’s best chance to score.

    6:51: The fans in the Arizona section almost break the bleachers cheering for the FSN camera. Solid turnout for a road game.

    6:52: Paying attention to the game, I almost drop a little kid trying to crowd surf. Oh well, he isn’t hurt, and he’s a Bruins fan anyway.

    7:04: Wildcats need a touchdown, or better yet, two. Don’t go to Vegas with the odds of that happening.

    7:12: A group of seemingly inner-city, middle school-aged UCLA fans have been taunting us all game. It gets particularly bad at this point, so some UA fans start an “”Orphans”” chant. Pretty scummy. Still, the Wildcats are moving the chains and the game isn’t over quite yet.

    7:15: With the Wildcats in the red zone, Austin is intercepted for a 89-yard touchdown return. Game over. At least we’re going to Hooters after the game.

    7:20: As Arizona fans leave (I guess they don’t realize that clock isn’t 0:00), I move into the first row at the Rose Bowl. Not bad.

    7:24: The game’s officially over. Although many people probably think this stadium is the closest Arizona’s getting to a bowl game, remember the next two games at Stanford and against Oregon State should be wins. If that happens, it sets up a huge showdown at Washington State that would put the Wildcats an ASU win away from a bowl. Or else it’s “”wait til’ next year.”” Again.

    8:43: We finally arrive at Hooters after a nice but chilly walk through Pasadena (yeah, I should have brought a sweatshirt). We all get booed and respond with chants of “”52-14″” that never do get old.

    8:49: As the Dodgers get set to bat in the bottom of the ninth, down 9-5 and facing playoff elimination, we go with another favorite cheer for fans of Arizona pro sports: “”Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!””

    8:57: The Mets sweep the Dodgers to the applause of the Zona Zoo. At least we had something to cheer about tonight, and there’s nothing that could beat being in L.A. when the Dodgers are eliminated – except maybe being in New York when “”The best team money can buy,”” the New York Yankees, gets eliminated.

    11:00: We pull out of Hooters en route to Tucson.

    12:55 a.m., Sunday: The bus stops. Are we almost home? Nope, just northern Palm Springs. Time for a bathroom pit stop, considering the situation with the toilet on the bus.

    6:38: We hit Speedway! That bus ride wasn’t so bad.

    6:48: We’re back at McKale Center. So in recap: 26 hours, 57 minutes, about 33 “”52-14″” chants, some good food, a quality T-shirt and my first trip to the Rose Bowl.

    Hopefully one day I’ll make it back there for an Arizona game in January.

    Michael Schwartz is a journalism junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu

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