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USC Fan

No one bleeds Trojan red like alumnus Roy Nwaisser

» “At a home game, tailgate starts at 6 a.m. The night before, I’m amped up and excited and I’m preparing, and I’ll be lucky to get a couple hours of sleep. Getting ready in the morning is not really a ritual. Just the essentials: jersey, baseball cap. I have my own jersey, a custom-made one. It says USC SYCO on the back.”

» Nwaisser, an entrepreneur, began his consecutive game streak during his junior year at USC in 1992, watching a 27-24 Trojan win over Berkeley’s California Golden Bears. Since then he’s attended 232 USC football games in 22 states.

» The late Giles Pellerin, a USC grad and accounts manager at Pacific Telephone, is considered the greatest Trojan football fan of all time. An inductee into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame, Pellerin died in 1998 at 91 while attending his 797th consecutive game at the Rose Bowl, as the Trojans duked it out with their crosstown rivals, the UCLA Bruins. At 39 Nwaisser is nearly a third of the way toward breaking that record. 

» Nwaisser’s vanity plate also spells out USC SYCO. “I got the plate the summer before my senior year, but I didn’t take it to a game until the Trojans played Notre Dame my first year at USC law school. I just so happened to have front-row seats, and I’m holding the plate up and stuffing my face with either a hot dog or a pretzel, and I look up and I’m on TV. I began getting on TV pretty regularly with it.”

» USC football plays six home games a year at the Coliseum. The average ticket price is $60—Nwaisser always sits in the first row near the 50-yard line—but a prime season ticket pass can cost thousands. Until coach Pete Carroll’s departure last year, the 94,000-seat stadium regularly sold out. 

» Nwaisser was raised in Studio City. “Growing up in L.A., you had to choose a side: USC or UCLA. As a kid, I had no grounds for having a preference. I think I began siding with USC because a kid I didn’t like liked UCLA better. As I got closer to college, my parents wanted me to go to UCLA, so I sabotaged my UCLA application.”

» In 1922, USC dental student Milo Sweet composed “Fight On,” the song Nwaisser has belted out at every home game.

» USC’s third president, the Reverend George W. White, in 1895 adopted cardinal red and gold as the university’s colors, which define Nwaisser’s aesthetic. “I’ve bought every USC protective skin available for every electronic device I own. My iPod is decked out in USC colors. I have a shelf that holds a bottle of USC red wine and a bottle of USC white wine. Anything that comes in red, I buy in red. My pots and pans are red, my dishes are red, my silverware has red handles. When I took up guitar, I bought a way-higher-end guitar than I could justify because it was a really cool shade of cardinal.”

» During his 19 years of attending games, Nwaisser claims he has never met a fan nearly as rabid for the Bruins as he has been for the Trojans. He scoffs at the notion of a Bruins Superfan Hall of Fame. “That’s an oxymoron! We have a saying at USC: You’re a Bruin for four years and a Trojan for life.”

Photograph by Ethan Pines

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