Congratulations Gauchos

I’ll be honest, we late ’80s/early ’90s alums have been a little concerned for UC Santa Barbara. First, there’s the school’s reputation. Sure, it’s a great school, but at the end of the day, getting and keeping a reputation for being one of America’s great party schools takes work, and it seemed to us middle-aged types that the new kids were just not doing their part.

Also: varsity surfing notwithstanding, Santa Barbara has never been known as a national sports powerhouse (except through the once-in-a-generation fluke — Gauchos of my generation recall the basketball team featuring Brian Shaw that repeatedly beat nationally-ranked UNLV teams and took Santa Barbara to their first March Madness tournament).

But this all changed over the weekend when the unseeded UCSB men’s soccer team won the NCAA national tournament. My good pal Tom, who I worked with on the campus paper for a while, left me a voice mail to say that this is only the second national sports championship that the Gauchos have ever taken.

The kids were understandably enthused, and fortunately they shared their enthusiasm on YouTube. And this is the important part. Even with a 4.1 minimum GPA required for admission, the Gauchos still know how to party. Behold:

It is exactly as it appears: the crowd spontaneously grabbed the goal, ran with it through the college town, Isla Vista in a salivating triumphal frenzy, and (Tom tells me) later dumped the goal off a cliff into the ocean, where the mother of all beach parties ensued.

My concerns about the youth of America have been assuaged. Go Gauchos! I’ll be hoisting one in your honor this evening.

Update: For those of you who enjoy sports more than hooliganism, here are actual highlights of the game from ESPN: