Drew Christensen attended Texas. His sister, Dawn, picked USC. They’ve been razzing each other for weeks. “We knew if it turned out SC and Texas, cost is no matter – we’ll be here,” said Drew Christensen, 44, a Las Vegas attorney. The Christensens were among the thousands Tuesday wandering a few blocks of Colorado Boulevard closed for a pregame street fair, a sea of cardinal and gold among burnt orange and white. Musical stages were erected at Fair Oaks and Pasadena avenues. A jewelry boutique and a used-music store were selling licensed Trojan and Longhorn clothing. Bars hung banners welcoming football fans. But not everyone was pumped for pigskin. The influx of out-of-towners jammed city streets, turning a visit to Pasadena into a test of patience. “L.A. traffic is horrible anyway,” said Melissa Merkley, a bride-to-be from Burbank who spent 25 minutes trying to park for a meeting at a bridal boutique. The game also is creating paradoxical sentiments for some fans of the Trojans’ crosstown rival, the UCLA Bruins, whose football team calls the Rose Bowl home. Latiffe Amado, a 2005 UCLA grad, said she is rooting for USC – but only grudgingly. “What can we do?” Amado said as she shopped in Pasadena. “I’d feel like more of a traitor rooting for Texas.” In the Arroyo Seco, tailgate parties had already begun and should be in full swing by this morning. Will Jones, 30, of Alhambra arrived Monday with a group of friends and a rented RV. “If I could do this for a living, I would,” said Jones, a USC alumnus and auditor for Los Angeles County who took a week’s vacation to prepare for – and recover from – Rose Bowl celebrations. Many, though, are still praying they’ll see the game in person. Before arriving in Southern California, Meadows tried to buy a much-coveted face-value ticket but refused to pay $2,000 for one offered online. So he spent $290 on airfare and persuaded three friends to roll the dice with him. Meadows spent Tuesday, his 44th birthday, begging for admission to the big game. “I’m ready to spend $600 or $700,” he said. “Now if I get them at face value, that’d be a good birthday gift.” Staff writer Susan Abram contributed to this report. Brad A. Greenberg, (818) [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PASADENA – Bill Meadows traveled from Lexington, Ky., without a ticket to tonight’s big game. So, he stood Tuesday at an intersection in the Arroyo Seco holding a white sign with red letters: “I NEED ROSE BOWL TICKETS.” Meadows isn’t an alumnus of the University of Southern California or the University of Texas, the two teams competing in college football’s national championship. He’s just a typical die-hard sports fan who wanted to witness the Southern California spectacle that is this year’s Rose Bowl. “I’m taking a shot, baby,” he said. “This is the biggest game in the history of college football.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson For football fans, it doesn’t get much better than watching the No. 1 Trojans vie for their third straight championship against the No. 2 Longhorns, who last won a national title in 1970. But getting into the Rose Bowl is no first-down scamper. It’s fourth and long. Fans are playing hooky and paying thousands of dollars to flood Pasadena’s streets and fill the sold-out stadium’s 100,000-plus seats. “There are things more important than sports, but (tonight) you probably wouldn’t be able to convince me of that,” said Paul Stone, a newspaperman from Tyler, Texas, who flew out with his wife. USC and Texas are playing for football immortality. The Trojans start two Heisman Trophy winners – Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush – and Texas quarterback Vince Young was a Heisman finalist. Both teams’ offenses are among the most explosive ever assembled. But also on the line are Christensen-family bragging rights.
12 June 2021
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