January 2017 (2) Candygrams

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017---Just Like Football! Our Men's Basketball Team Beat the Bruins!

Men of TroyThe Galen Center was filled to capacity for this crosstown rivalry basketball game between the Men of Troy and the number 8 ranked UCLA Bruins. There was definitely "electricity" in the air. Trojan Candy took a video of our team entering the court. Unfortunately, I started the recording a split second late and missed my friend Jordan McLaughlin (5/26/2015) leading the team out of the tunnel.

Jordan McLaughlinMy chagrin lasted only a few minutes. As the team lined up for the Star Spangled Banner, there was a special presentation. Jordan McLaughlin was honored for scoring 1000 points in his USC career. He is the 37th Trojan to eclipse the 1000 point milestone. Enjoy the ceremony. Congratulations, Jordan!

Keith Williams, Jr.
Now, friend Keith Williams, Jr. sang his fabulous rendition of our Star Spangled Banner.
Our team was introduced on the big screen. The audience lit up their cell phones.
Opening minutes
UCLA controlled the tip and scored first.

The Bruins started out fast in the first half to take a 20 to 10 advantage, but our Men of Troy finished up faster! At half-time we led 50 to 38 on Elijah Stewart's far range three point shot at the buzzer.

Bob Boyd bannerDuring half-time 1952 basketball teammates of Bob Boyd, members of his coaching staff, and close friends were on the court to pay homage to him. A banner honoring former USC Coach Bob Boyd was hoisted. FIGHT ON, Forever Coach Bob Boyd!

Free Chick FiletDuring the second half, when their "prized" freshman Lonzo Ball, bricked two free throws in a row, every fan in the Galen Center won a free Chick Filet sandwich.

Cole and Matt LeinartIn the second half, Trojan Candy finally decided to walk down to the floor and visit with friend Matt Leinart. I volunteered at Heritage Hall while Matt was the USC quarterback. I wasn't writing my blog then, but I later wrote a blog article about Matt when he attended the 2014 USC Hall of Fame Induction (2/1/2014). Trojan Candy tapped Matt's shoulder and asked if he remembered me. Matt said, "Sure." Then I took this picture of Matt and his son Cole (10/10/2008). Next, the big screen showed Matt, his son Cole and yours truly! Unfortunately, I didn't react quickly enough to take a picture of the big screen showing the three of us. Besides, Trojan Candy likes to take pictures, not be in them. FIGHT ON, Matt!

JuJu Smith-SchusterDuring the "Dance Cam" I was able to catch friend JuJu Smith-Schuster (5/26/2015) dancing. The USC fans roared with approval!

Believe it or not, there was a thrilling basketball game going on at the same time. The Bruins got within four points of us at 66-62, but our team fought back with consecutive baskets. Elijah Stewart scored on a one-handed dunk on a rebound, Chimeze Metu had a powerful two handed dunk through the key and De'Anthony Melton hit a three point shot that was the fourteenth one made by USC in the game. We won 84 to 76!

HandshakingCelebrationTrojan Candy took two videos after our victory. The first video shows our team shaking hands with the Bruins and fans. The second video shows our Trojans huddling and celebrating in front of the band as it played "Conquest" and "Tusk" and then high-fiving fans.

FIGHT ON, Mighty Men of Troy!

January 8, 2017---Women of Troy Volleyball Awards Brunch

Trojan Candy arrived at the Galen Center's Founder's Room at 10:30 am for the Women of Troy Volleyball Awards banquet. The Team was just walking into the room.

Alice PizzasegolaRight away I went up to a familiar, friendly face. Trojan Candy has watched Alice Pizzasegola compete for the Women of Troy for four years. Whenever I see her, she has a beautiful smile on her face. Today was no exception. Alice let me interview her after she smiled for this picture. Alice, who came to USC from Rivergaro Italy, majored in International Relations. When I asked why she came to USC, Alice said that "USC was the best choice." All Trojans will agree with her! For hobbies, Alice likes to draw and paint. She also likes to go to the beach. Her favorite food is...pizza! But Alice told me it is her native Italian pizza. She explained that Italian pizza has a different crust than American pizza. My last interview question was, "What is your favorite television show?" Alice's favorites are "90210," "The Office" and "The Gossip Girl." She has certainly become Americanized! FIGHT ON, Alice!

Mel Hughes and Mick HaleyNext, Trojan Candy walked around the Founder's Room looking for friends and players. I saw friend Mel Hughes talking to Women of Troy Volleyball Head Coach Mick Haley.

Madison, Mackenzie, and Tim MurtaghI walked back to my table and met Mackenzie Murtagh and her dad Tim Murtagh. Mackenzie is the older sister of our sophomore player Madison Murtagh. Mackenzie also played volleyball in 2010-13 at the University of San Francisco. When Madison joined us at our table, I took this picture of the Murtagh family.

Madison MurtaghWhat an opportunity! Trojan Candy interviewed Madison next. Madison is a sophomore transfer from the University of San Francisco. She is majoring in International Relations Global Business. For hobbies, Madison likes to read science fiction books, make jewelry, go to the beach and play beach volleyball. On why she transferred to USC, Madison said the USC is the "perfect fit" for her and the school is amazing! Just like Alice, all Trojans know that! But unlike Alice, Madison's favorite food is Mexican food. Her favorite television shows are "Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy." So glad you are a Trojan now and FIGHT ON, Madison!

Mackenzie and Tim Murtagh, Bill Bau, Dave and Marilyn Sell, Madison Murtagh, and Patti and Dudley PoonJust before brunch was served, I took this picture of my table. I was fortunate to sit with friends and family. Sitting: Mackenzie and Tim Murtagh, Bill Bau, and Dave and Marilyn Sell. Standing: Madison Murtagh and Patti and Dudley Poon.

Elise RuddinsThe brunch was delicious! However, I didn't eat very much.... There were more interviews to do. Even though I was going to interrupt their brunch, Trojan Candy walked over to their table and asked Elise Ruddins and Taylor Whittingham if I could interview them. This was my last chance.... They are both Seniors! Elise stood up and allowed me to interview her first. Elise majored in Communication. She already has been working at a full-time internship with MBMG (Milner Butcher Media Group) in Santa Monica. Elise took a few classes at USC in her hobbies of art, drawing and painting. Her favorite food is lasagna. She likes to go to the beach to play volleyball. Elise's favorite movies are "Thriller" movies. Another Trojan after my own heart! FIGHT ON, Elise!

Taylor WhittinghamNext I walked around the table to interview Taylor. Taylor, like Elise, majored in Communication. Not only that but Elise and Taylor knew one another before they came to USC. Both Seniors played on the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club Team together. Taylor stayed seated at the table during my interview. Taylor told me that she would like to travel in Europe. One of her hobbies is to watch movies on Net Flix and "Grey's Anatomy." In addition to volleyball, Taylor exercises with boxing and "full" cycling. Her favorite food is bread, but Taylor's mother told me that she also likes steak, prime rib and tri-tip. FIGHT ON, Taylor!

Nicole DavisNow it was time for the program to start. Master of Ceremonies Leland Waters introduced the Keynote Speaker. Women of Troy Volleyball Alumna and USA Olympian Nicole Davis presented an informative and motivating talk to our current players. She spoke of five different motivators. They were "Passion, Perseverance, Drive, Resilience and Grit." Trojan Candy noticed that our team members listened intently, as did I. What words of wisdom! FIGHT ON, Nicole!

Team Awards were next on the program. Here are the Team Awards:

Best Digger: Taylor Whittingham

Best Attacker: Elise Ruddins

Best Blocker: Jordan Dunn

Best Server: Reni Meyer-Whalley

Spirit of Troy Leadership: Victoria Garrick

Best Setter: Alice Pizzasegola

Coaches' Award: Khalia Lanier

M.V.P.: Taylor Whittingham

After the Award Ceremony ended, the three Seniors delivered their "Senior Farewells." Here are the three videos:

Elise Ruddins
Elise Ruddins was the first to speak.
Alice Pizzasegola
Then Alice Pizzasegola was next.
Taylor Whittingham
Finally Taylor Whittingham delivered her speech.

FIGHT ON, 2016 Women of Troy Volleyball Seniors!

A video highlight of the 2016 season ended the program.

2016 Women of Troy Volleyball team
The team then walked to the stage for this team photo.
Nicole Davis
Trojan Candy walked over to compliment Nicole Davis on her invigorating speech. She told me that she works a lot with Pete Carroll. FIGHT ON, Nicole!
Katie Fuller, Kendall Bateman and Hayley Crone
I saw three Women of Troy Volleyball Alumnae. Katie Fuller, Kendall Bateman and Hayley Crone (4/16/2015).

Jeremy and April WuI have a scoop to tell you! It was announced that Kendall Bateman, who is a volunteer Volleyball Assistant Coach now, just got engaged to friend and USC Men's Tennis alumnus Steve Johnson (4/26/2012). Congratulations Kendall and Steve!

Before Trojan Candy left, I visited with SID friend Jeremy Wu and his wife April.

What a wonderful Women of Troy Volleyball Brunch!