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Bowl Notes : After Game, Stevens Comes Through With a Winning Gesture : ROSE

January 02, 1986|BILL DWYRE

There was a tender moment on the field after the Rose Bowl game, while players and coaches from both teams were milling around, shaking hands and starting interviews with the press.

Matt Stevens, the quarterback star of the game for UCLA, had just spoken with to a few reporters and had been told by his coach, Terry Donahue, in a sort of kidding way that "press interviews will be held in the interview room, not the field, Coach Stevens."

Stevens, clearly knowing who the boss was, headed immediately for the locker-room area, but he went only a few steps when a man bashfully extended his hand to Stevens and whispered something to him. With the man was a small, teen-aged boy, wearing an Angels' baseball cap and looking somewhat weak and ashen.

When Stevens heard what the man said, he dropped immediately to one knee and talked quietly to the teen-ager. Then he gave him his wristband and a small UCLA towel.

Later, when asked about it, Stevens said the man had told him that the teen-ager was a cancer patient who went to Fountain Valley High School, where Stevens prepped, and who wanted to play for Fountain Valley.

"That quickly put things in perspective," Stevens said. "It reminded me that the world doesn't revolve around a football game."

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