­­­­­­­PASADENA—­­I wondered if there was a different way to watch Stanford defeat UCLA. The Cardinal had done it eight straight times, twice in one week, but I was seeking enlightenment and a new perspective.

I had watched Stanford defeat UCLA from the Rose Bowl press box and from the press box in Palo Alto. I had seen it from home, on TV and from my couch.

It’s been my football version of “Green Eggs and Ham.”

I have listened to Stanford defeat UCLA in my car, and seen them do it from a far…

Saturday I saw it as a patron, a spectator, a journeyman Joe, from Bob Uecker’s seat—last row at the prettiest stadium on Earth. I paid 33 bucks for a general admission ticket and was ready to fork over 25 bucks for parking, but somehow lucked out when no one stopped me on my way to fairway parking on Brookside Golf Course.

For years, as a working hack, people used to say “isn’t it great you get in all the games for free?”

And I’d say, “yeah, even the terrible ones.”

So Saturday, instead of walking by all the tailgaters on my way to work, I became one of them.

This is so, SO not me. I’m the worst fan of all time. From the stands I am jittery and nervous. I can’t cheer because that’s not what I was taught in “J” school. As president of the Football Writers Assn. of America, in fact, I used to have to admonish people in the press box who did not follow those rules.

There is no such thing as me “letting loose.” The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.