Passing the time away this summer

The massive Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum stares quietly at the congested 110 Freeway. Howard Jones/Brian Kennedy Field gazes silently over the yet-to-be opened John McKay Center. And inside Heritage Hall and the Trojans football offices, all is tranquil.

For USC football fans, it’s the dog days of summer.

For those Trojans fans living in the surprisingly mild Southern California heat, there are some offseason options. There can be a stress-free vacation to Maui, an annual passholder’s visit to Disneyland, or simply a fun and romantic evening at one of the various and beautiful beaches.

Yet one word sums up the beginnings of the second week in July.


Seriously, how much beachfront vacationing, theme-park hopping, and outdoor barbequing does it take to bide your time until the opening of the 2012 football season?

A number of Trojans families use this time to conveniently schedule weddings, anniversaries, and reunions.

I remember being told by one rabid Trojans fan that he refused to allow his daughter to be married on a Saturday in late November because the Irish were coming to town. It all worked out, as his daughter received some “compensation” for being cooperative and moving the wedding date.

But what if there are no summer weddings, vacations, and no more college football magazines to be the novocaine for July and early August?

You could replay all those Trojans DVDs purchased during the Pete Carroll era. There is nothing like rewatching the Men of Troy demolish the Oklahoma Sooners for the BCS national title in 2004.

You might find it entertaining viewing the Trojans’ aerial bombardment of Penn State in the 2009 Rose Bowl. Nothing like pure football without the distracting commercials.

Now for some real “inside” fun, there is the DVD “Pete Carroll Mic’d Up” where Carroll wears a microphone during the 2008 Rose Bowl win over Illinois. You’ll hear not only Carroll working officials during the game but just anybody within earshot before and after contest. If you thought Carroll could mesmerize a banquet setting or the living room of a recruit, you’ll see the master at work.

One other DVD alternative is the History of Trojans Football. This is a classic production, which includes legendary games and a piece on the Trojans Heisman Trophy winners. You can also hear some of the greatest calls by the legendary voice of the Trojans, Tom Kelly.

Then again, there’s always YouTube.

You can treat yourself to the 1967 showdown been the Trojans and UCLA, as ABC’s Chris Schenkel and legendary Oklahoma Sooners coach Bud Wilkinson describe O.J. Simpson’s renowned 64-yard touchdown run.

For a Trojans fan, it never gets old hearing Schenkel’s call on Simpson's run, gushing, “Wow, let’s watch that one again.”

YouTube can transport you back to the 1973 Rose Bowl Game and you can watch those four historic Sam Cunningham dives into the Ohio State end zone. It’s a good watch for those who have a special place in their heart for old Sam Bam.

When it comes to books, I’d recommend one written by Steve Bisheff and the late Loel Schrader entitled “Fight On!” The two USC Athletic Hall of Fame writers have enough stories, vignettes, and player insights to keep you mesmerized for a week. Check out their top 50 Trojans player rankings and let the debate begin.

If books aren’t your thing, maybe pulling out some of those old USC football programs or media guides, which can keep you not only amused but educated. On another note, maybe it’s me, but players from a generation ago sure look a lot older than players do today.

Lastly, you can always hit the video games and play some NCAA Football. You can be the offensive and defensive coordinator for the Trojans and never worried about getting fired.

However, if you’re going to be the Trojans of 2005, you’ll have to decide whether to play Reggie Bush or not, and that debate might keep you stimulated till the first week of preseason camp in August.