Welcome to the refreshed Conquest Chronicles! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
As a third-generation Southern California native, my family has a long history with supporting USC, attending USC, and following the conquest of Trojan athletics. It all started when my great grandfather, Edward (Ed) Macke moved here with his family in the late 1930s from Templeton, Iowa. After moving to Huntington Park in the late 30s, my great grandfather quickly adapted to the city’s traditions and none bigger than, USC football.
Great grandpa Ed, began going to the Coliseum for USC home games in the early 1940s with his father and his siblings upon arrival to Los Angeles and that tradition trickled down to his children when he started a family of his own. My grandfather, Mike Macke, continued what his father had started and began going to USC football games as a kid and into his adulthood. My grandfather inevitably became a season ticket holder of USC football by the mid 1950s as well as being a part of the Los Angeles Chapter of the “Trojan Club” for USC Athletics. He later became a founding member and president of the “Tri-City Trojan Club of Los Angeles” by the late 1960s. This became a huge deal for my family as it helped develop his children into die hard SC Fans.
This led to three of his children attending the University of Southern Cal by the early 1980s, including my father, Patrick Macke. My father met my mother at USC, they both graduated in `84. Their first date was the 1982 USC vs. UCLA game at the Rose Bowl, talk about the perfect storm. And from there they started a family of Trojan enthusiasts that they raised to love USC and its football team as much as they did. Led by none other than yours truly.
This is where the story really takes off for the evolution of Lanse Macke becoming the die-hard USC Trojans fan you see today. I was raised by my parents to love and compete in sports as much as possible, and leading the way in the sports department was the game of football. I was taught about the importance of teamwork, communication, and competitive drive through the game of football. My dad taught me this through his knowledge of the game and his passion for the sport and his USC Trojan’s. But none of this became clearer to me until the day my dad took me to my first USC football game at the Coliseum, on September 2nd, 2002 versus the Auburn Tigers. This game was a birthday gift from my dad, as I had just celebrated my 10th birthday less than a month prior to this game. This game was of great significance as it was the beginning of year two, of the Pete Carroll era of Trojan football.
The Trojans were coming off a 6-6 season and a loss to the Utah Utes in the Las Vegas Bowl, but their number of returning starters and a highly-touted recruiting class led them to being the preseason no. 20 in the Nation. The Auburn Tigers on the other hand were coming off a disappointing 7-5 season in 2001 and were unranked at the time (they finished no. 14 in the AP Poll). But this game held much significance as the Trojans were playing an SEC power team, that had many great players and a great coach in Tommy Tuberville, as well as it being a chance to show their fans and the country what this SC Team was all about in the season opener. The Trojans didn’t disappoint in their season opener as they topped the Tigers 24-17, to begin what would become one of the greatest runs in college football history.
I remember by the end of that game, the Coli going completely nuts and the fans sort of not knowing what to do/expect in that game or for the rest of the season for that matter; what they did know though was that the Trojans were not in the basement of the Pac-10 anymore, with their big victory over Auburn. The Trojans ended the 2002 season with an 11-2 record, capped off by a huge blowout victory over no. 3 Iowa in the Orange Bowl along with a Carson Palmer Heisman Trophy victory.
Following my first visit to the Coli and my first USC football game, I was absolutely hooked, and luckily it happened in the most perfect of times for USC Football. My Family went back to being season ticket holders (we still are today), for USC Trojan football and every home game after that, I was at the stadium with my dad to help the Trojans Fight On. We didn’t just attend games at The Coli, however, we went to 5 Rose Bowls (`03, `05-`08), two of those being national title games (`03, `05), along with many away games, highlighted by the 2006 away game at Arkansas, where SC pounded the Razorbacks 50-14 in the season opener, following Leinart’s and Bush’s departure for the NFL. I remember having to walk down Greek Row at the University of Arkansas to get to the stadium and got harassed by dozens of razorback fans who chucked full cans of beer at us for being USC Football fans, it was dangerous but we prevailed. Then on our way out of the stadium we saw SC legend, Keshawn Johnson walking out at the same time, and I snagged a picture with him. I was one of the happiest 14 year olds in the world.
Together, my father and I witnessed some of the most electrifying and dominate performances in not only college football history, but in the history of American Sports. The Trojans went on to win 7 straight Pac-10 titles (`02-`08), 7 straight top-4 finishes, 7 straight BCS Bowl Appearances (6 Wins). Highlighted by the 2003-2005 Seasons, where the Trojans went on a 38 win and 2 loss run, producing 2 national titles, 3 Heisman Trophy Winners, a 34-game win streak (`03-`04), and 33 consecutive weeks as the number one team in the nation (`03-`05). Along with all of that, the 2001-2009 Pete Carroll era produced an absurd amount of All-Americans (25 1st Teamers) and NFL Draftees (53 Players, 14 1st Rounder’s).
Because of these teams, I had the ability to witness greatness first hand, share a life’s worth of memories with my dad and family and grow a Trojan fan and sports fan alike.
That glorious Saturday in 2002 was my first taste of the Coliseum and my first taste of the “Conquest of Troy”, and a day that I will never forget. I forever now bleed cardinal and gold.
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