Let's stop to applaud the Tournament of Roses committee for breaking from tradition.
Never has the committee allowed an outside agency to take up collections during the Rose Bowl game, but fans attending today's Texas-Michigan game can donate to help the victims of the southern Asia tsunamis at eight American Red Cross stations set up at the stadium.
At times, the only way for me to quantify the unbelievable loss of life in the Indian Ocean region was to consider it in terms of sports venues. The initial reports of 8,000 dead were about the equivalent of a typical basketball game crowd at Pauley Pavilion. When the death toll climbed to 55,000 in the middle of the week, that amounted to a sold-out Dodger Stadium. Imagine all of the voices at a game in the pennant drive suddenly silenced.
Once the numbers climbed above 100,000, it called to mind some of the country's largest sports buildings, including the Rose Bowl, which drew a record crowd of 106,869 for USC-Ohio State in 1973.
Here's a chance to hear some large figures put to good use. It makes sense that the best way to honor the dead and help the survivors is at one of this country's largest gatherings of the living.
The reconfigured Rose Bowl now seats about 91,000 people. If everyone attending today's game contributed $11 each, that would be more
than $1 million for the relief
effort. That's a huge amount of money. And it's a sobering reminder of just how large a number 91,000 -- or 150,000, which the death toll reportedly neared Friday -- truly is.
Donations payable to the American Red Cross can be sent to: The San Gabriel Valley Chapter, 430 Madeline Drive, P.O. Box 91087, Pasadena, CA, 91109-1087.