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Camped out for UCLA basketball tickets

Camped out for UCLA basketball tickets

1972: UCLA students study, sleep and play cards while waiting to purchase tickets for a Bruins men’s basketball tickets at Pauley Pavilion, a wait that could often be two or three nights.

These photos accompanied a Feb. 25, 1972, Sports section article by Times writer Jeff Prugh:

The lines outside of Pauley Pavilion begin forming 12 hours before game time — and, if the game is really big, sometimes two or three nights in advance.

Kids sprawl on the pavement –some in sleeping bags, others in blankets. Some study everything from “Western Civ” to “Hero’s Hymns.” Others write everything from master’s theses to telegrams asking Dad for more money. Still others play cards, or toss Frisbees or munch pizza to the backdrop of rock music piped in from the campus radio station.

These are the Basketball Freaks of UCLA, the student insurgents who stomp and shriek for their Bruins or heckle the USCs and the Citadels and the Washington Staters.

To them, basketball — UCLA style — is more than a game. It’s an obsession, a carnival, a social phenomenon, a fashion parade. Perhaps no other “happening” in town does more to galvanize both the button-down Establishment and the let-it-all-hang-out Now Generation than a recital by college basketball’s mightiest team.

Beneath those seven NCAA championship banners hanging from the rafters unfolds a potpourri of sights and sounds.

It is seven leggy song girls — garbed in hot pants and boots — dancing and prancing to “SuperStar,” “Lucretia McEvil” and “American Pie.”

It is a standing ovation for the band’s rendition of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

It is an undergraduate named David Silver, alias “The Incredible Hulk,” performing a strip-tease while the band plays “Let Me Entertain You.”

It is the 1,500 kids who waited hours outside for the only student seats left (25 cents each), giving the freshman game their undivided indifference. Some razz girls from the visiting school. Others play trivia or read science fiction. …

It is Bill Walton, the Bruin center, sinking a free throw — and a coed screaming, “Ohhhhhh, BILL!”

It is coach John Wooden’s family — including seven well-scrubbed grandchildren who never miss a game — shrieking at the officials with expletives no stronger than “Gracious sakes!”

It is pomp and pageantry, madness and merriment, color and cacophony.

It is hand-made banners (some unprintable) and heckling and chants of, “We’re No. 1” and “Pour It On!” — even when the home team is leading, 90-40.

As graduate student Sherman Gordon, 23, who even makes all the road games, says, “It’s kindred to a religious experience.”…

Pauley Pavilion opened in 1965, and through the 1975 season, the Bruins’ home record was 149-2. Then Wooden retired and the Pauley Pavilion atmosphere changed. After the 2010-2011 season, the facility was closed for renovation, with the last basket scored by the Bruins’ Tyler Trapani, Wooden’s great-grandson.

2 Comments

  1. March 22, 2012, 3:45 pm

    Do people still wait like that for UCLA games? Or was this merely a snapshot of yesteryear and days gone by. Or has the school gone totally electronic & has no need for this any longer?

    By: Jack
  2. March 25, 2012, 4:45 pm

    People still do wait for tickets and sometime camp out overnight for them but mainly for big games like ones against cross-town rival USC. However, since the program has been underperforming as of the past few years, it's rare to see anyone camping out overnight for tickets if at all.

    By: bruin

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