Averting the Point of Sword Stabbing

Averting the Point of Sword Stabbing

In the last 15 years, I've covered nearly every USC road game where the Trojans marching band performs on the field, and there's always a moment in those games that makes me cringe.

It's the moment before the pregame show in which the USC drum major majestically — or is that tauntingly? — plants a sword in the middle of the opponent's field.

I hate it. I'm stunned other schools allow it. It feels like more than just a piece of metal digging into grass, it feels like a lack of respect burrowing under the stadium's skin.

I think about what happened in Dallas a dozen years ago, with San Francisco's Terrell Owens spiking a touchdown pass on the Cowboys' legendary midfield star and being angrily tackled by Dallas' George Teague. I think of the potential trouble faced by the Trojans band on any Saturday in this current violent sports environment, there being an inherent danger in a college kid spiking a sword amid a hostile crowd spiked with liquor.

So I think what UCLA did this week was not whiny, or petty, but smart.

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