Last night as the UCLA Bruins spiked the ball down to run out the clock and stamp their name on the games victory, both the rains and a sense of extreme disappointment in our quarterback, Matt Barkley, descended over the campus of USC. A downtrodden Barkley, taking the loss to heart, flipped up the collar of his jacket and began a long walk back to the USC campus from the stadium. Numb from the feeling of letting down those who love him most, the fans of USC, Barkley hardly noticed the rain soaking him to the bone as he hung his head in shame and kicked a pebble along the sidewalk.
As Barkley made his way back he thought of how the fans had trusted him, and how he’d let them down. He thought of how he’d changed since he met the fans and he liked who he was now better. He neared campus as he walked, heavy with the knowledge that he had let down the people who had shown him how to be a man and let him grow into one. Lacey Gould, Junior at USC and football fan, said, “When I first met Matt I just wanted to keep it casual. I thought he was a good quarterback but he didn’t have to be my only quarterback. But then I saw a side of him I didn’t think existed, in his ability to move out of the pocket, and I couldn’t help but fall for him. I trusted Matt with the honor of this school and he really disappointed me. I think I just need some time without him.”
Reports of Barkley tentatively walking around campus, trying to figure out the best way to talk to re-enter came in everywhere from entrance 3 (where Barkley contemplated having a breakdown in the middle of McCarthy Quad to prove how broken up he was about the whole thing) to entrance 8 (where he thought he might go work out at the Lyon Center and prove that he would still fight for the fans whether they wanted him or not). USC fan and Sophomore, Randy Jenkins, said in his report, “The five o’clock shadow and timeless shadows lingering under Barkley’s eyes as he made his way towards Denny’s because his emotions were decarbohydrated, made me think that he had stopped taking care of himself altogether.”
I caught up with Barkley, for an interview, at a local bar. He was leaning on the bar from his stool looking into his whiskey on the rocks as if it were a microscope directed at his inner soul. I asked him how he was holding up and he looked up half as much as he should have and said, “The fans, they trusted me. I don’t deserve them. They are so good, so good, and I’m just bad news. The fans were wrong about me, I never deserved their trust, they’re better off without me.” As he downed the rest of his whiskey I told him that he was being a damned fool and that he would never find fans like the ones who already had trusted him at USC. I told a compelling tale about a time I hadn’t acted when I wanted something and how I regretted it to this day. Hearing this, Barkley looked up brightly and pushed the new whiskey he had been brought away from him, saying, “I’ll get em back. I’ll make a compelling speech at the beginning of the Notre Dame game and remind them all why they trust me in the first place.” as Barkley left the bar with new purpose in his eyes I sat, satisfied with myself, and drank the drink he had ordered as I am underage and not really in any position to pass up a free drink.