At the start of every football practice, the Trojans have their own personal Welcoming Committee in Eddie and Candy Bubar. Just inside the hallowed Goux's Gate of Howard Jones – Brian Kennedy Field are the Bubars. Greeting each of the players with a bright "Hello!" or "Welcome!" sits Candy Buber in her mechanized scooter, while husband, Eddie smiles brightly toward the incoming football players.
Many of the players return the infectious smiles and greetings, while others enthusiastically bend over to Candy while sharing a hug, a handshake or both.
Taylor Mays with Candy and Eddie Bubar.
For the last four years, the Bubars have made it to most all of the Trojan practices and attend both home and away games. They have become as much of a fixture at football practice as the goal posts at the end of the fields. Coach Pete Carroll has welcomed the couple into the football family.
Mrs. Bubar has had a 28-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, "MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Surrounding and protecting the nerve fibers of the CNS is a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses.
In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken."
Rather than let the disease discourage this couple, they have learned to adapt to its various challenges, and become an encouragement to the team. Refusing to sit at home and watch the practice highlights or "Trojan Preview" on television, the Bubars choose to spend their time on the practice field spreading their love and care with the Trojans.
Candy's enthusiasm and love for the team is infectious. Practice can hardly start until the players pass through Goux's Gate and greet the Bubars.
Candy Bubar Welcomes Everson Griffen
When asked about their involvement with the team, Candy says they have attended games for 30 years and have been coming to practices and going to away games for the last four years.
Asking Candy Bubar if she will attend every game this year, she replies with, "Yes, although it's a matter of if I can. With this MS attack, I'm not walking. We'll just have to see what I'm going to be able to do."
One of her favorite road games thus far has been the trip to Nebraska this year. She commented that the trip was fun and the Cornhusker fans were very hospitable.
Questioned about the length of her battle she states, "28 years, I just happened to get shingles and shingles brought on this attack. It's a rough one, very rough. But that's the way it is, I'm doing physical therapy and start walking a little bit."
Continuing, "I have relapsing-remitting (MS), it comes and goes, it's gone, and it hasn't been for a long time. It's been kind of leaving me alone, and then all of a sudden, here it is. This relapse, I haven't been walking for about 3 months."
In typical Coach Carroll fashion, the Bubars are invited to practices, whether it is open or closed to the public. Said Candy, "It's wonderful, very nice, so it's an honor."
The Bubars are a testament to what it means to be a member of the Trojan Family. Eddie attended undergraduate and pharmacy school at USC. (Candy went to San Diego State University). 28-year-old son, Matthew has a degree in Music Industry and daughter Lindsay has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Advertising; both having graduated from USC. During home games, it is typical for the whole family to spend the day together, enjoying pregame festivities and Trojan home games.
The Bubars are scholarship donors of an endowment for USC Pharmacy students.
It's a pleasure to attend practices and encounter this "Welcoming Committee" as you enter Howard Jones – Brian Kennedy Field.