Choosing the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA doesn't mean you have to switch sports allegiances. Born and raised in San Francisco – a city measuring just seven by seven miles – I discovered that moving to the urban sprawl of Los Angeles was daunting, but showing hometown pride at team-viewing parties eased the process.
The beauty of living in Los Angeles as a sports fan is the sheer number of franchises: the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Galaxy and now the Rams. No matter the sport, chances are that your home team will be in town at least once per year, or you can join team viewing parties at local bars. In addition, many away teams and off-season athletes (not to mention celebrities) practice right on UCLA's campus at the John Wooden Center, Student Activities Center and Intramural Field.
UCLA is home to one of the nation's top medical schools, so I have quite a few fellow Bay Area transplants in Westwood. Many of my closest friends from school fall into this category. After block exams, we coordinate trips back to Northern California, which consist of either a six-hour drive or a one-hour flight.
Going to a baseball game at Dodger Stadium is a great way to spend a study break. Sitting in the same stadium where Sandy Koufax battled Juan Marichal and where Clayton Kershaw currently pitches opposite Madison Bumgarner is always a treat. Hearing Randy Newman's "I Love LA" as opposed to Tony Bennett's love ballad of San Francisco is a little more difficult. Call me biased, but I'd still rank Gilroy Garlic Fries above a Dodger Dog.
It is quite a struggle balancing my schedule during Orange October and the Golden State Warriors' playoff runs. During the playoffs, a favorite spot of mine that is just a nine-minute ride away from campus is San Francisco Saloon. Similar to Finnerty's in New York, this sports bar is a safe haven for Bay Area team viewing parties. Right as you walk in, you see headline newspapers from the Giants' 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series victories. The atmosphere is electric and there are San Francisco beers on tap, including Anchor Steam.
Hometown pride is a means of staying connected with family and friends back home, especially during the formative years of medical education and when certain games are not televised in Los Angeles. In any case, I think we can all agree that the West Coast is a pretty nice place to be for four or more years.
By Damond Ng