August 2009 Candygrams

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Friday, August 28, 2009---Women’s Cross Country is in the House!

What a way to exercise! As soon as I walked up to the Heritage Hall desk, several students asked me where the Athletic Lounge is. There was a meeting for tutors. So several trips from the desk, across the lobby, to the Lounge ensued. Phew! What a workout!

As I was putting out the treats at the Heritage Hall Information Desk, I saw Matt Barkley walking through the lobby talking on his cell phone. I asked him if he saw his picture on and with a smile, he gave me a thumbs up! More about Matt later.

Nikola VucevicI finally got Nikola Vucevic to come to the desk. Nikola is a Sophomore basketball player who is undecided on his major. He is from Montenegro and likes to listen to Serbian Rap music. Nikola told me that the Serbian Rap beat is the same as the American Rap beat, but, of course, the words are different! RAP On, Nikola!

Many old friends came by to say “Hello.” Charles White ran up, took his favorite chocolate mint, and ran out the door for his daily run. Jacki Gemelos took a Starburst GummiBursts and a pack of gum on her way upstairs to work. Rower Kate McFetridge, with her usual big, pretty smile, said, “Hi, Candy” as she took a caramel apple sucker. The last old friend to stop by was Junior golfer Belen Mozo. It was so nice to see Belen and her beautiful smile again!

Liene BertasjusSeveral new friends came to the desk. Junior Liene Bertasjus, who rows on the Varsity Eight for the Women of Troy Crew, is majoring in Economics. She is from Latvia, and she likes Rice Krispie Treats. When I asked her if she has any hobbies, she told me that she likes to have an active lifestyle! Fight on, Liene!

Davis RozitisTwo new men’s basketball players came to Heritage to have their pictures taken by USC photographer Dan Avila. Director of Basketball Operations, Coach Dwayne Polee, brought 7 foot Davis Rozitis into the lobby. Davis has been in the U.S. for only one week! He came from Cesis, Latvia, and he told me that he is interested in aviation and biology. Naturally, he spoke with fellow Latvian Liene in the lobby. So nice to have a fellow compatriot at USC! Fight On, Davis!

Evan SmithThe second new basketball player was Evan Smith. Evan, who just signed with USC, will play at guard or forward. He graduated from Calabasas HS and will major in Communication. I asked what his hobby is, and he said that he likes to surf. Notice his naturally curly “surfer” hair! Fight On, Evan!

Dan Avila was also taking individual pictures of the Women of Troy Cross Country team. 2009 Cross Country teamSID Dave Tuttle was organizing the shoot. Twenty young ladies and Coach Tom Walsh then met the Wednesday Heritage Hall volunteer Hal Keimi and me outside for the group picture. Between shots, Dave complimented the Cross Country ladies. He said teasingly that “...they all have 3.9 averages in Engineering!” The truth is that they are excellent athletes and scholars! Fight On, Ladies!

Anniya Louis, who is a red-shirt Freshman on the Cross Country team, later came to the desk to visit. Fight On, Anniya!

Matt Barkley and Sergio SotoAs luck would have it, I saw Matt Barkley walking across the lobby again. I asked him if he would autograph his picture in the Football Media Guide for my son. I explained to him that we didn’t get his autograph at the Salute to Troy. Matt’s picture is the fourth one in the Guide. As soon as I thanked him, visitors came up to get his autograph also. Naturally, Matt obliged! Sergio Soto, who works as a Field Service Engineer on campus, was thrilled to get a picture and an autograph. Fight On, Matt!

Throughout the day, several other football friends came up to the desk. Brice Butler came to say, “Hello,” and I asked him to autograph my son Gregory’s Media Guide. Brice, with a big smile, told me that he is on page 24. Nice autograph!

Averell SpicerAverell Spicer came to visit and stacked his selection of treats on the desk when I took his picture. I asked him if he has any hobbies, and he said that he likes to play football! Also, he likes to listen to Gucci Mane music.

Jeff Byers, Nick Perry and Malik JacksonThen I turned around and saw massive bodies make a run for the Heritage desk. I ran to get behind the desk! They arrived in a blur! I put the entire box of Air Heads on the desk! One last chance for some football players to get a treat before the team meeting starts. I snapped a picture of some of the players, but missed some. Jeff Byers, Nick Perry and Malik Jackson were a few of the players.

Jordan Cameron also came by for the first time. As the players were swarming the desk, Averell yelled out, "Don't take my stack!" To no avail, it was gone! Luckily, Averell replenished his snacks. Then he also disappeared into the meeting room.

With that, my husband and I packed up and went home.

August 22, 2009---Salute to Troy

I had the opportunity to attend the Salute to Troy event after today’s football practice. Here are a few pictures that I took with my son Gregory:

Joe McKnight with Gregory Yee
Joe McKnight with Gregory Yee
Taylor Mays with Gregory Yee
Taylor Mays with Gregory
Jeff Byers with Gregory Yee
Jeff Byers with Gregory
C.J. Gable
C.J. Gable

Here are a few pictures taken by my brother Charles:

Ronald Johnson with Gregory Yee
Ronald Johnson with Gregory
Anthony McCoy with Gregory Yee
Anthony McCoy with Gregory
1984 Football team
1984 Football team
Pete Carroll
Coach Pete Carroll
Trojan Candy taking a picture of Taylor Mays with Gregory Yee
Trojan Candy taking a picture of Taylor Mays with Gregory

August 20, 2009---Trojan Candy Chosen to Stand-In for Pete Carroll!

The entire university was bustling with new student tours. As each tour encountered one another, the tour guides had their group shout out, “Fight On!”

Chris ChengHeritage Hall was filled with tour after tour after tour for the first hour that I volunteered. One of the tour guides was Chris Cheng. Chris, who is from Nashville, TN, is a Junior majoring in International Relations. Best of all, the new students on these tours are all Trojans! Then the tours stopped so that the students could return to their dorms for lunch. This is when all the excitement began!

As I walked by two chairs, a camera, a huge light and three men talking, one of the men asked me to be a stand-in. He told me to sit in one of the chairs so that they could focus the camera. Whom was I standing-in for? As soon as I stood up and an instant later, Coach Pete Carroll came bounding down the stairs from his office, sat in the chair that I had just gotten out of, and started an interview. While the interview was being conducted, SID Tim Tessalone gave my husband and me a special assignment: To catch anyone entering Heritage Hall and to ask them to please be quiet. So we stood at the doors on the lookout for anyone entering Heritage Hall. Luckily, only four large football players (Aren’t they all LARGE compared to me?) entered noisily, but my husband “shhhhed!” them. The three interview men were from “One Child at a Time.” Again, Coach Carroll gives his most precious time to young people!

So many athletes came by the desk today. There were old friends, new friends, first day on campus friends, and parents of athletes friends.

Brice ButlerFootball players continually came up the stairs from the weight room and walked through the lobby. Brice Butler, a red-shirt Freshman receiver from Atlanta, GA, came to the Heritage desk first. Brice is a Public, Planning and Development major, whose hobby is, “Just playing football.” His favorite music is Gospel Rap, and his favorite candies are (what else?) Nerds, Sour Punches and Air Heads. Fight On, Brice!

Aaron CorpNext, I saw a football player wearing a shirt that read, “My Quick Smells Like French Toast.” Then I noticed a big bag of ice on his left knee. Quarterback Aaron Corp came by the Heritage desk for the first time. When I said that he was a red-shirt Freshman, Aaron politely told me that he is a red-shirt sophomore majoring in International Relations. He is from Villa Park and likes to play the guitar. As he took a Starburst and a pack of watermelon gum, I asked what his t-shirt meant. With a smile, Aaron told me that the writing is an inside joke about Coach Carroll because Coach was in some kind of commercial. As I took Aaron’s picture, I asked him if anyone had ever told him that he looks like Carson Palmer. Aaron said that, “Carson Palmer’s brother told me I look like Carson.” Then he said, “I wish I can do as well as Carson.” All Trojan fans do too! Fight On, Aaron!

Patrick HallOld friend and fellow Texan Michael Morgan came to the desk to say “Hello” and told me that he saw himself on my website. He brought along a new friend! Patrick Hall, a Freshman Free Safety from Oxnard, just arrived on campus yesterday. Patrick, who is Keary Colbert’s cousin, took a Juicy Fruit gum and an Air Head. He told me that he would like to major in Music Comprehension and that his favorite music is Rhythm and Blues. For hobbies, he likes to play the piano, dance and sing. A multi-talented Trojan! Fight On, #25 Patrick!

Old friend linebacker Jarvis Jones came by to say “Hello” and take a Sour Apple Laffy Taffy. What happened to the Nerds? I told Jarvis that his picture is up on my website! Check it out, Jarvis!

Another old friend took a Laffy Taffy, but the flavor was cherry, not sour apple. The old friend was Ronald Johnson. He also took a Mike & Ike. Fight On, Ronald!

The last football players of the day were the entire kickers and punters squad. They walked en masse behind Coach Todd McNair through the lobby. Our friend Joe Houston managed to call out, “Hello,” but none of the players could stop for a snack. Next time!

USC athletes, parents and coaches from other sports also came to Heritage today.

Eileen and Christy AmbrosiniThere were Track and Field new friends. Christy Ambrosini, a Freshman long distance runner from Long Beach, NY, and her mother Eileen came to the desk. Christy, who will major in Biology, told us that she and her mom just finished a four hour athletic meeting (for new USC athletes) at the Founder’s Room in the Galen Center. Even though they were on their way to lunch in the little Galen Center, Christy took a package of M&M cookies. Fight On, Christy!

Elan HilaireAnother incoming Track and Field Freshman, Elan Hilaire, will run the sprints. She said that Trojan alum and Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix is her idol! Elan, who is undeclared in her major, likes music, playing violin, traveling and watching movies. Elan likes Air Heads, Nerds and spearmint gum. (Wait a minute...I thought only football players liked Air Heads and Nerds!) Fight On, Elan!

Ahmad RashadA quiet young man walked up to the Heritage desk and wrote in my notebook. I tried to read his name, but had trouble reading his writing upside down. So, I turned the book to read who he was. Then I read “Ahmad Rashad!” I teased him at first about being the sports commentator. Then I talked with him about last season’s USC men’s and women’s track victory over UCLA...his false start in the 100 meters where he was the favorite...when the three Bruin runners celebrated like they had already won this race...then Matthew Palmer won it the Trojans! Bruins shoudn’t count their chickens before they hatch! The next time I see Ahmad, I will compliment him on his 200 meter victory! Ahmad is a Public, Planning and Development major with emphasis on Real Estate Development. The Flint, MI, native likes to play video games. Ahmad, like his friend Taylor Mays, took a Starburst Sour GummiBurst. Fight On, Ahmad!

Emilie Stewart and Farren BenjaminThe last new Track and Field athlete was Sophomore Farren Benjamin. Farren will compete in the hammer throw and the javelin. She transferred from Orange Coast College and loves to watch ESPN’s Sports Center. A fellow Trojan after my own heart! Fight On, Farren!

Old and new friends on the Women’s Volleyball team stopped by the desk. Alex Jupiter, with an ice pack still on her right shoulder, came by with a beautiful smile on face. Does the ice ever melt? Just kidding! We expect to visit with Alex every week this fall...That’s what good friends do!

Jessica GysinNew volleyball friend Jessica Gysin stayed for just a little while at the desk. Jessica is a Senior this year majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Management. She likes to snowboard, and she took a green sour punch. Jessica is featured on the Women of Troy Volleyball poster! Fight On, Jessica!

The second new volleyball friend was Emilie Stewart. That’s Emilie with Farren in the picture above. She is a Senior majoring in Economics and is from Seal Beach. So, quite naturally, when I asked her what her favorite hobby is, she said that she loves to play BEACH volleyball. Fight On, Emilie!

Only one men’s basketball player came by the desk. He was in a hurry, but Leonard Washington smiled, said “Hello” and took a Laffy Taffy.

Last, but not least, there were several coaches in and out of Heritage. The second time I saw Coach Carroll, he was walking quickly upstairs (does he ever do anything slowly?), wearing reading glasses (as we all do in our later years), smiling (as he always does), and looking down to see who was in the lobby! (as he always does!) As I caught his eye, he waved and smiled! (as he always does!).

Pavol ValovicNew coaching friend, Pavol Valovic came by the desk for the first time. He majored in Public Diplomacy as an undergrad water polo player at USC and is now a graduate assistant coach. I told him how proud we are of the Men’s Water Polo undefeated season last year and of their winning the National Championship! When I mentioned that they could win back-to-back national championships, Coach Valovic was cautious...he said that there all a lot of good men’s water polo teams out there. I’m confident that the men can repeat! Fight On, Coach Valovic!

Track coach Ron Allice walked by the desk quickly, but paused to say, “Hi.”

The last coach at Heritage today was new men’s basketball coach Kevin O’Neill. He must have been exercising, because he wore shorts and a black USC t-shirt. Coach was being interviewed by a reporter in the lobby. I wanted to ask Coach O’Neill to stop by the desk for a visit...but he was there one second and gone the next! Just as quick as our team! Fight On, Coach O’Neill!

August 14, 2009---USC Football Players Everywhere!

As my husband Jim and I were walking from the parking lot to Heritage Hall, we saw an old friend walking on the other side of the street. It was Gary Klein on his way to the football practice field. He crossed the street to say “Hello” and give me a big hug. Gary said that he would be in and out of Heritage Hall today working. He also told me that he would take a break and take a swim in the Coliseum pool. I didn’t know that the Olympic pool was even open! No wonder our friend, the L.A.Times sportswriter who covers USC Football, is so fit and trim!

Nine current or former USC Football players came by the Heritage Hall Desk today.

Joe HoustonOld friend Joe Houston, with his usual big smile, came to say “Hello.” He sported a much shorter haircut, which I complimented him on. I’m sure that Joe’s mom who, according to Joe, reads my blog will like it also! Joe is now a redshirt Junior and is competing to be the place kicker on the team. I offered Joe a box of the new favorite candy du jour for the 2009 football players...a box of Nerds! Joe, choosing to be a “Traditionalist,” selected AirHeads and Sour Punch Twists! (These were his favorites from last year.) Joe told me that he stayed near campus this summer but didn’t take any summer courses since he was all “caught up” with his classes! A GOOD student also!

Abe MarkowitzTwo new friends came to the desk after I beckoned them to come over to the desk to get a treat. Abe Markowitz, a red shirt Freshman from Laie, Hawaii, came over. He is majoring in Policy, Planning and Development and plays either the center or guard position on the offensive line. Abe had a huge ice bag wrapped around his right shoulder, and since he is right handed, I wrote down his bio information. When asked about any hobbies, Abe said that he loves to fix cars. Then he proudly told me that he just got a 1971 V.W. bus! Wow! A skillful mechanic and best of all, a skillful offensive lineman! Fight On, Abe!

Michael MorganThe second new friend was Michael Morgan. Michael said that he is a red-shirt Junior majoring in Policy, Planning and Development. This major seems to be very popular with USC football players! Michael is a fellow Texan who played at Skyline High School in Dallas. He likes music and likes to sing. Face to face, Michael seems to be very shy, but facing him on the football field as an opposing linebacker? He will not be shy! Fight On, Michael!

Coach Brennan Carroll smiled and said “Hello” as he walked upstairs, and Ken Norton, Jr. walked through the lobby.

C.J. GableFriend C.J. Gable came up to the desk with a big smile. He wore a white T-shirt that read, “T. Ray Says.” T. Ray is Coach Terrel Ray! I just had to take his picture! C.J. took a bag of Sour GummiBursts. When I asked if he has any hobbies, C.J. replied that he likes to hang out with family and friends and that he likes to draw! When I asked what he did for the summer, he told me that he stayed on campus and volunteered for a month with the Youth Impact Football Camp that was held on campus. C.J. makes a difference, on and off the field!

Taylor MaysJust as I glanced over to the Heritage Hall west doors, I saw Taylor Mays stop in his tracks, say, “OH!” and change directions. He came right over to the desk, said “Hi!” and gave me a big hug! Taylor was carrying three layers of food containers with the top layer being fresh strawberries. What a healthy eater I thought to myself, until he took a package of Sour GummiBursts! (just like C.J.!) Taylor said that he was on campus all summer. I’m sure that he was in training. Check out his T-shirt! As Taylor left, I again thanked him for staying another (unexpected) year at USC!

Alum Paul McDonald walked briskly to the desk at 1:20 pm. With his famous smile he asked, “Is anyone from the band here?” Unfortunately, we had not seen anyone associated with the band. Then promptly, Paul disappeared out the door. He was soon followed by Patrick O’Neal of FSN. Mr. O’Neal was taping on the east patio and then came into the lobby with an assistant and a cameraman. They soon left for another assignment.

Pete Carroll with UMF studentsNow for another glimpse at Coach Pete Carroll! Abigail Kaun, Associate Dean in the Annenberg School for Communication, and twenty-five members and chaperones of the Urban Media Foundation walked en masse into the Heritage lobby. They swarmed among all the trophies. Remembering what happened last week when Coach Pete Carroll met with the Kern County Sheriff’s Activities League, I told one of the adult chaperones that, if the group went upstairs to the Football Office, then Coach Carroll might be able to meet with them. In an instant my husband led the chaperone upstairs and just as quickly they caught Coach Carroll coming out of the Football office. He was in a hurry but nevertheless shook hands with both of them. He was walking briskly down the stairs as the chaperone explained what the group was. Coach Carroll walked in the lobby shaking hands with the students. Coach must have a SIXTH SENSE about young people wanting to meet him! He told everyone that he had to leave quickly because he had a speaking engagement at Bovard, and he walked out the door to catch a ride on a cart. Then, one parent asked, “Can we get one picture?” Coach Carroll was more than half way out the door, when he stopped, turned around, walked back into the lobby, and posed for a group picture! What did I tell you last week about his taking his precious TIME to meet young people!

Senior Safety and friend Will Harris spoke with SID Dave Tuttle for several minutes. Then he stopped by the desk, with a big smile said, “Hi,” and took a box of Nerds and some Airheads. He’s both old fashioned and contemporary!

One more football player to go. He’ll be at the end of this week’s blog.

Two other new friends and two old friends came by the Heritage desk.

JoshThe Assistant Coach of Men’s and Women’s Golf teams came by the desk for the first time. His name is Josh Brewer, and he is from Brownstokin, IN. Coach Josh told me that Brownstokin is big enough for only one signal light. That is why he enjoys being a Southern California tourist...going to the beach whenever possible and Hollywood, etc. He must be the inventor of “Staycation!” Quite naturally Coach Josh wore an Indianapolis Colts shirt, but he is also a Cincinnati Reds fan! Maybe he will become a Dodger or Angel fan eventually!

Alex JupiterSophomore Women of Troy volleyball player Alex Jupiter was in a hurry to eat lunch at the little Galen so that she could get back for practice. However, she was so nice to come to the desk after I said “Hello” to her and asked if she wanted a treat. She told me that the coaches are so strict, they don’t want her to eat treats. Bummer! Alex told me that she is majoring in Psychology, and she likes music. She is from Paris, France, and her mother moved to Los Angeles with her. As I took her picture, she turned so that the ice bag on her right shoulder would not show. That is when I told her that it looks like she lost a lot of weight. With an even bigger smile, she said, “You made my day!” Then she went to eat her lunch. Later, Alex returned and my husband told her that she looks like she lost a lot of weight. DITTO! Alex told us that her weight is actually the same but that she has lots of muscle now! More muscle to hit the volleyball harder! Fight on, # 7 Alex!

Ann and Bob KubotaTwo fellow USC alumni friends came by to see us. They were Ann and Bob Kubota. Ann was my Delta Phi Kappa Sorority sister at USC. Ann and Bob took a tour of Heritage, since they have not been on campus for several years. As they walked into the Football Office upstairs, Pete Carroll walked by and waved at them!

Matt Barkley with Catherine Rollinson, Laurie Rollinson, and Bruce RollinsonAs we were packing up our treats getting ready to leave, Matt Barkley walked into Heritage with three people, who I thought, at first, were his family. After I approached Matt for a picture, he introduced me to his Mater Dei High School Coach, Bruce Rollinson, coach’s wife Laurie and coach’s daughter Catherine. Catherine will be a Freshman at USC in the fall. Another Trojan! Right after I took their picture, cornerback Shareece Wright came by to chat with Matt.

As we were walking back to our car, who do we see again? Taylor Mays smiled and told us that he really likes the Starburst Sour GummiBursts!

August 12, 2009---Perfect for Coach Pete Carroll

Last Thursday Trojan alumna Cathy Perfect brought a group of Kern Valley Sheriff’s Activities League students to tour Heritage Hall. I wrote about their visit with Coach Pete Carroll in my previous entry. Ms. Perfect, the managing editor of the Kern Valley Sun, published an article about their meeting Coach Carroll. Click here to read the highly complimentary article written by Susan Barr.

August 6, 2009---Coach Pete Carroll and Cranberries, Too!

As I walked into Heritage Hall at 10:30 am, I noticed the USC Women of Troy Soccer Team practicing in the Loker Track Stadium. The ladies were running on the track. About an hour or so later, the team walked through Heritage to the “Little” Galen Center, which is the athletes’ training table, to get their lunch. As they walked by, I asked one of the team members if she wanted a treat and she said, “I wish!” Fight On, Women of Troy Soccer to another NCAA title!

Hal KeimiAs I approached the desk, I saw my good friend Hal Keimi. Hal is a USC grad and has volunteered at Heritage Hall for 17 years! He normally volunteers on Wednesdays, but he came to visit today. Hal showed me his USC Athletic posters that he displays in the lobby every time he volunteers. He has an array of pictures for each sport. I complimented Hal on his wonderful displays and...“tongue in cheek”...told him that I am displaying my Trojan pictures on the World Wide Web!

There were so many student tours! Several groups from Locke High School came to the desk with Scavenger Hunt questions. Answers popped out of my head! George Lucas Building! Lyon Center! Bovard Auditorium! Doheny Library! Tommy Trojan! The groups scurried out the doors to finish their Hunt!

Then there was a very large group of young people and some parent chaperones who came from the Kern River Valley. They are in the Sheriff’s Activities League. Some of them took football posters, and all of them walked among the trophies in the lobby. I noticed that the group also toured upstairs. When the group came downstairs, their leader Cathy Perfect, who is a USC grad, told me that Pete Carroll had come out of his office to talk with the children, to answer their questions, and to take pictures with them. I have seen Coach Carroll always take the time to greet young people who come to Heritage Hall. He gives them his most precious commodity...his time!

Michael Reardon, Jr.Football players were starting to arrive for the start of practice. Three new friends came by the Heritage desk for the first time. Junior center Michael Reardon, Jr., with a big smile on his face, took a box of grape/strawberry Nerds. Will Nerds be the choice of the 2009 USC Football team this year, or will it still be Sour Punch Twists and Air Heads? We’ll find out soon enough! Michael told me that he graduated from Orange Lutheran H.S. in Orange County and that he is majoring in Communications. Fight On, Michael!

Jeff ByersAs 6th year Senior Jeff Byers (NCAA, Thank you for granting him another year!) walked in the door on his way to the Weight Room downstairs, I called out, “Jeff, do you want a treat?” With a big smile, he walked over to the desk for the first time. (How did I miss him for three years? It’s not like he is TINY!) Jeff, who will play at the guard position in 2009, told me that he is from Ft. Collins, Colorado, and is earning his Masters in Business Administration. I asked him if he has any hobbies. With another big smile, Jeff said that he likes to hike and to “fly fish.” He said that he has gone deep sea fishing with Mike Reardon and his dad off Catalina. Before leaving the desk, Jeff looked over all the treats, and then he took two bags of dried cranberries! A healthy snacker, at that! Fight On, Jeff, this 2009 season; win the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy; and Fight On, in the NFL!!!

Jarvis JonesFreshman Middle Linebacker Jarvis Jones told me that he just arrived in Los Angeles in July. He graduated from George Washington H.S. in Columbus, Georgia. Jarvis said that Columbus is about one hour from Atlanta. He plans to major in Communications and took...what else? A box of Nerds! Fight On, Jarvis!

Other football friends in the lobby were Mike Garrett; Charles White, who took a handful of Harry and David’s chocolates to nibble on his way to run; and Damien Williams, who waved hello but hurried off.

Senior Eloy Ledesma, who is in his third season as a USC football team manager, came by the desk for the first time. He is a Senior majoring in Business and wants to works in Sports Management. Fight On, Eloy!

Finally, Jacki Gemelos and Aarika Hughes came by the desk twice. The first time they took Sour Punches and Nerds! They’re not football players! Both Jacki and Aarika work upstairs in the Administrative Office. The second time they brought a basketball recruit with them. Hope that we have a new Woman of Troy basketball player!