Does everyone at USC really hate UCLA? Possibly, but probably not — and here’s why: I don’t hate UCLA.The band tells us we hate UCLA nearly every time they play. But what is the real meaning behind this rivalry, or rather, why does every incoming freshman play along so willingly, professing their hatred for UCLA at every chance they get?I, too, was one of these freshmen. I purchased a FUCLA shirt during the 2014 football season to wear to the Rose Bowl. Luckily for me, I was too embarrassed to wear it before the game even started, so I didn’t have to wear it later that night after we had suffered the loss.I understand that UCLA is right across town from us and the competition is fierce, but why the hatred?I grew up an unabashed UCLA fan because of their basketball team, being a young basketball player myself. My dad and I would spend countless hours watching the games, discussing the players and feeling crushed when, in 2006 and 2007, Florida ended our bid for a national title.My grandma earned her Ph.D. in education from UCLA and consequently, rooting for the Bruins became a familial ritual symbolic of a great achievement for one of our own.When college applications rolled around, UCLA was an obvious pick for me, and I didn’t even consider applying to USC until I toured the campus with my mom on the same day. I fell in love with USC and of course the rest is history: I picked USC the moment I got accepted I became a Trojan for life, and I immediately resented every trace of powder blue and every note of the eight-clap.Not so fast.Of course I love USC, but I don’t despise UCLA.My allegiances lie without a doubt with the Cardinal and Gold. How could they not? I love kicking the flag poles before a football game, singing along to a good ole DJ Malski song at the basketball game and singing along to the Fight Song and Tusk when the band plays. I am a Trojan through and through.In light of the upcoming rivalry game though, I know that the anti-Bruin sentiment will be flowing among my fellow classmates, and I will be cheering for our basketball team alongside the rowdiest and loudest of the bunch.This is what makes the rivalry so much fun for me. While some students on campus curse the Bruins and desecrate their mascot, I hope they don’t really mean it. Of course I love being at Conquest to witness the burning of the bear, and “Tusk” is my favorite song that the band plays, but it’s all just fun and games.The real competition will be between each sports team and as much as we’d like to think that we do, there really isn’t any impact the student body has on the outcome of the game — being that the Galen Center is nowhere near the hostile environment of Allen Fieldhouse or Cameron Stadium.When it comes down to USC and UCLA, ‘SC is going to be my pick every time, but when UCLA is taking on someone else, am I allowed to call myself a closet UCLA fan?Sure, it could lead to questions regarding loyalty, pride or school spirit, but I am confident in myself and my school in all of those departments, and I have nothing to say to those who doubt that I can be dedicated to USC while still harboring a soft spot for UCLA.My friends always criticize the fact that I like baby blue uniforms, think Joe Bruin is cute or know the eight-clap, but I can’t help it; it’s part of my heritage.So to any UCLA sympathizer out there, I hope you know that you aren’t alone. That doesn’t mean I’m sitting around hoping that a recruit picks Westwood over Downtown, but I’m hoping that I don’t have to choose between being considered a loyal Trojan or having to prove my loyalty by wearing disrespectful clothing and shouting profanities at every UCLA fan that I encounter; let’s face it: the quality of our rival improves ourselves.By continually competing with UCLA in academics, sports and social life, we raise the bar for ourselves as well. Going head-to-head with one of the top universities in the country only validates our claims of being at the top as well.That’s why this rivalry is special to me and hopefully to everyone on either side of the pick. No matter what team you are pulling for or what mascot graces your t-shirts, greatness presides in every match, meeting, game and competition that our schools engage in.With all of that said, rest in confidence knowing that all my heart will be cheering for our Trojans Thursday night when they clash with the Bruins at the Galen Center, and I’ll be crushed if we don’t win. But know that the next round of the rivalry is just around the corner. There is always another chance for us to get back at the big bad Bruins, but I don’t think a little powder blue ever hurt anybody.Hailey Tucker is a sophomore majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Tucker Talks,” runs every other Wednesday.