A few years ago a gym friend of mine and former USC wide receiver told me about a recent business trip that took him to the campus of Notre Dame University.
Just before leaving for South Bend, a bunch of his friends and family members asked him to stop by the Notre Dame bookstore to pick up Fighting Irish hats, sweatshirts and jerseys for them, figuring this was a rare chance to load up on Notre Dame gear.
"So there I was, standing in line with all this Notre Dame stuff," my buddy told me. "And I start thinking, I'm USC through and through and here I am getting ready to buy - literally pay for - a bunch of Notre Dame memorabilia."
My buddy looked around, thought about that ghastliness of what he was about to do and immediately came to his senses.
"I just walked out, period. Left the basket of stuff right there in line and everything," he said, laughing. "As bad as that sounds, I just couldn't do it, I just couldn't bring myself to do it."
Welcome to the passionate, emotional, deeply rooted intersectional rivalry between USC and Notre Dame.
A rivalry that's spanned 86 years, helped create coaching legends and Hall of Fame players, produced some of the greatest moments in college football history and propelled its participants to their greatest emotional highs or lows.