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I Missed the Comeback


On New Year's Day 1963, USC played Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The Wisconsin quarterback, Ron VanderKelen, was one of the all-time great college quarterbacks. I was fourteen years old at the time, and our family was gathered for New Year's Day celebrations. Pete Beathard of USC threw four touchdown passes in the first half, and USC was up by a score of 42-14.


At half-time, I got upset with my parents about something (at this time, I really can't remember what) and I marched off to my bedroom to sulk. I waited for someone to come and offer the sympathy I just knew that I had deserved, but no one did. I thought it was no big deal, because the game was practically over at half-time anyway.


After the game, my brother came and told me that Ron VanderKelen had gotten hot in the second half and Wisconsin had almost completed an incredible comeback. The final score was USC 42, Wisconsin 37. VanderKelen threw for 401 yards, and 11 Rose Bowl records were broken that day. But, because of my anger, I had missed it.

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