The other day someone sent me an e-mail from one of the USC Internet message boards.
Now as you know, I've been a part of the Trojan family for as long as I care to remember, so I was delighted to know there are USC message boards, including something called "The Thundering Herd Forum" and
wearesc.com, until I discovered SC must stand for Silly Chatter, or Stupid Conversation.
Initially I had hoped it might be a fan club, giving me the chance to apply for an official Trojan ID card to prove I really am a die-hard USC fan, until they lose.
I've seen the skeptical look on Mike Garrett's face when we get together -- once a year or so -- and although I'm sure a $2,500 Cardinal & Gold donation might be more convincing than my USC aloha shirt, I thought joining a fan club for just a couple of bucks might avoid an embarrassing situation later.
I don't want Garrett to feel as if he has to give me a BCS championship ring, because I wouldn't be allowed to accept it, and who knows what that would do to our relationship.
It's true the publisher and the president of the Boston Globe each accepted World Series rings from the Red Sox, but now they find themselves in a pretty embarrassing situation.
The Tribune Co. owns The Times, as well as the Chicago Cubs, but though some consider it a bad investment, it's accepted the Cubs will never win a World Series, so our bosses were actually thinking when they bought them.
While I was expecting something else from the message board, when I opened the e-mail I noticed a headline across a string of messages about a rather tame Matt Leinart column: "Can Simers be more of a [nasty word] this morning?"
I thought that was kind of silly, because of course I can be more of a (nasty word), and on most mornings -- just ask the Dodgers, which goes to show you the kind of lightweight information being transmitted on USC message boards these days.
I TOOK a closer look at wearesc.com and usc.rivals.comto see whether that's all there was, and noticed everyone has a screen name -- a nickname that allowed them to be anonymous -- as if they were embarrassed to be known publicly as Trojan fans.
That seemed odd. I put my name on my column, proudly proclaiming my "TroJan" allegiance, and when I take a shot, folks know who is firing at them, because they always seem to get the name right when they fire back.
On wearesc.com, though, someone calling himself "randy88moss" wrote that "Craig James is on crack," and although there's a decent chance it really is Randy Moss, it's more likely it's an anonymous Raider fan attacking the broadcaster for saying something critical of USC, which suggests there are prison inmates using the site.
There's also a lot of name-calling when it comes to Times columnist Bill Plaschke, and although that makes it no different from our house, much of it has to do with something he wrote four years ago.
"Gla4USC" reminded the other anonymous name-callers that today "is the anniversary of Westwood, Ho," a column Plaschke wrote about this being a Bruin football town.
That explains why Plaschke was named columnist of the year, sports editors honoring him for writing something so memorable, and motivating USC to become No. 1 not only in L.A., but No. 1 in the world.
I UNDERSTAND why fans get excited about their team, or school, and send an occasional message to a friend, but these DePodestas fire back at each other all day on their computers as if they have nothing else to do but sit in their jail cells.
OK, sites like these -- I found nothing interesting at USC.rivals.com -- are all in the name of good fun -- unless you read them. These yahoos get angry at anyone who looks cross-eyed at USC, prompting "TrojanAl" after hearing USC was No. 2 in the BCS rankings to write, "We should drop out of the BCS. They need us a lot more than we need them."
You throw in a dash of arrogance, which comes with 29 wins in a row, and there isn't much appealing about folks who lose it every time their team wins. Suggest to them it's just a game and you'll get an obscenity in return.
When they say, "We Are SC," I sure hope not.
SHOCKING NEWS! I just learned UCLA has a similar site, only with fewer visitors. If you saw the size of the Rose Bowl crowd Saturday, you'd understand.
I thought about reading bruinreport.comto see whether it packed the same vitriolic punch as wearesc.com. But after noticing how uptight Coach Karl Dorrell got Saturday after his team won, I worry the pressure of playing USC and moving up the BCS ladder is getting to the coach, which obviously is going to rub off on Bruin fans. As it is, these folks couldn't have possibly thought they were going to be unbeaten when they played USC, couldn't have imagined winning that game and playing for the BCS title. So there's no way they're going to be themselves on a website that insists on an air of confidence.
They have to win at least five more games before they can start acting like USC fans. Fight on! and Fat chance! But if so, for some odd reason, then maybe I'll take a look to see how they handle success.
TODAY'S LAST word comes in e-mail from J. Mendoza:
\o7 "Get off your butt and put some effort in support of \f7Orel Hershiser\o7 as Dodger manager. He was Dodger blue through and through, and that's what this club needs, a fresh influx of Blue blood. Dodger Stadium is now a haven for the passive and heartless. Let's go, pal, do your thing."
\f7 What are you talking about? I've never seen so many blue Dodger fans.
\o7T.J. Simers can be reached at email@example.com. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.