Single page view By Erica Lucero
Special to Page 2

EDITOR'S NOTE: Erica Lucero, a sophomore at Southern Cal, will provide Page 2 with periodic updates from campus this season as the Trojans attempt to win their third consecutive national championship.

Let's face it. Here in Los Angeles, we're known for our threepeats. All right, so only the Lakers have won three championships in a row. But if we Trojans have anything to say about it, we're going to do it, too -- starting Saturday, when the team plays its first game of the season at Hawaii.

Pete Carroll
USC fans ... and most everyone else it seems ... will be surprised if this scene isn't repeated come January.

Why? Because at USC, we students expect to get what we want. And we are conditioned to expect only the best.

The other day, I walked into the guidance office to resolve a minor scheduling conflict. Flouncing out was an unhappy-looking brunette sporting a shirt that proclaimed, "California: Only the tan survive."

"Don't even bother," she informed me. "There's a 15-minute wait."

Our university constantly strives to get an A-plus in Perfection 101. I heard one intimidated mom, who was taking a tour, say, "This place is like Disneyland." On a campus where gardeners rip up perfectly good plants just to replace them with newer, prettier ones, we students are encouraged to add creative-writing minors to our neuroscience majors, to become active participants in every club under the sun, and to make lifelong social connections while we live it up in our Greek system's old ambassadors' mansions.

Foreign cars are a must. Cafeterias offer unwaxed apples. And chefs in spotless white garb serve us dishes with a sprig of mint or parsley on the plate. Since school started, I've seen more Gucci messenger bags than you'd spot walking through the Beverly Center Mall on a Saturday afternoon.

The other day, I failed at one of my daily attempts to balance a chai tea, sunglasses and wallet; and just as my iPod was going down, a freshman caught it. Bless her. I asked her what she thought of USC, and she answered, wide-eyed, "Everyone's so beautiful here." Between obsessing over working out and lying out on McCarthy quad most of the school year, everyone here is as pretty as the Princeton College Review says they are.

Visitors must walk away as intimidated as visiting teams do after they engage in futile competition against any of our many championship-caliber teams.

So it's no surprise -- especially considering our astronomical tuition -- that we expect nothing less than perfection from our two-time defending NCAA champion football team.

Yesterday, as I walked out of an American Studies class, I was confronted by a beautiful sight: the football team decked out in its grubbiest clothes, practicing in the middle of our newly remodeled track. Pausing for a moment to take in this breathtaking collection of athletic talent, I immediately realized my mistake: I was a lone obstacle that beach cruisers were swerving to avoid.

Is it any wonder that, surrounded by perfection every day, we don't waste time worrying about the perfection of our football team? The moral of this story: We don't think our team is good; we know our team is good.


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