Musings of a Moose

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I'll let you in on a secret that only my posse knows about me. Whenever I have a midterm coming up and I'm the heavy underdog, I always turn to James Bethea's speech from before the Cal-USC football game in 2003, which is available on YouTube.

"Time to go to war. When we step on that battlefield, nothing don't fucking matter but this right here (Bethea pounds his chest). Who wants that shit more and I know we goin' take that shit. All day. All every fucking play. We goin' take their motherfucking hearts."

If that doesn't get you going, I don't know what will.

This week I had the pleasure of talking with former Cal kicker Tyler Fredrickson, who was responsible for kicking the winning field goal in that epic game. Turns out, the only reason Bethea's impassioned speech is available for the world to enjoy is because of a little film project Fredrickson was doing for his master's degree.

Now Fredrickson is doing even bigger things down at USC as part of the Peter Stark Producing Program.

Mustafa Shaikh: What's the reaction down there when people find out it was you who put the finishing touches on the upset?

Tyler Fredrickson: Most of the time I get crap about 'You lost me money' or 'My girlfriend laughed at me because I cried,' stuff like that. The Cal congratulations are so much better.

MS: So you caused a lot of broken hearts down at USC?

TF: Yeah, which I don't really care much for.

MS: Do you go to 'SC games on a regular basis?

TF: 'SC games? Never been. Not interested.

MS: Really? Why's that?

TF: I've been to a couple practices when I first got here just to watch the kickers 'cause I still have an interest in what the kickers are doing. That's the undergrad experience. I'm pretty plugged in just going to school and kind of doing the grad school thing ...

It's hard to sit in the stands and listen to, especially the first couple of years out, it's hard to listen to people talk about your friends or the game plan when, you know, they haven't really lived it.

MS: Do you have a prediction for Saturday's tilt?

TF: No, but you gotta bleed blue and gold. There's no other way to look at it. Despite last week's loss feeling typiCal, as the players call it, you can never doubt the Bear.

MS: I read that you're a big Star Wars geek. What's your take on Episodes I through III?

TF: It'd be kind of like watching your sister at a ballet recital tripping and falling on her face. You feel really bad because she's your sister and she's always a part of your family, but at the same time you realize it was a pretty big misstep.

MS: That's some pretty harsh criticism.

TF: I felt like I should love it because it was still part of my family, but ultimately, it was atrocious.

MS: My co-workers and I from time to time watch the James Bethea clip. I understand that it's from a documentary you did for that game. Are you responsible for uploading it?

TF: I actually didn't. I would tell you if I did. It's copyright infringement. Somebody boot-legged that from my DVD and threw it up on YouTube. So I guess that's what I get from years of myself downloading data-it all comes back to haunt me.

But that's a proud moment and James is especially proud of it.

MS: Do you watch the clip to lift your spirits when you're having a tough day?

TF: It's pretty much when I hit the L.A. traffic, I think of Bethea and he gets me through the day.

MS: What do you think the odds are that Tedford will set up a projector in the locker room and play the clip prior to taking the field?

TF: Zero. Negative, negative, negative 300. He is no longer focused on what happened many, many years ago. He's focused on the here and now. However, if he were to show it, 'SC wouldn't have a chance.


Tell Mustafa you are his father at [email protected]

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