Monday, September 19, 2011


What’s the difference between Barely There and Blue Hose?  Barley There has more runs.  Rim shot--shigga boom! (Ask your spouse.  She’ll explain).

I thought of boycotting the game against tiny  Presbyterian College (the infamous "Blue Hose") but I was curious:  Would we take any penalties or opt to forgive them their trespasses?  Would we be talking about very close gains or vericose veins? Do Hosers say they are going to the gam or going to the game?

It was a totally schizoid day.  The weather was  perfect—the opponent not.  The Bears were hot—the beer was cold.  Big win for Jeff  Tedford—big loss for College football.  Bears played clean—fans felt dirty.  

By the fourth quarter, there were so few people left that instead of “Hail to California,” the band played “Tea for One.”

Arrived late at George and Janet’s  “Tailgate” on the 5th floor of  the coolest five story building in SF.  Even the Chron’s (Bear & classmate) Bruce Jenkins raved about the view from the terrace in his post game column.

Late due to a funeral for one of the last real farmers in the Napa Valley.  It was a tribute to authenticity, neighborliness and a bygone farming culture. 

Andy Smith would have been right at home and understood every word.

Went to meet other friends for a Tailgate in parking lot “A”—where those of us who have ESL’s or ESP or ESPN or whatever those ticket things are called were sent passes with our season tix.  

It wasn’t until I noticed that I was in Lot “D” that I realized the Administration is still reading “A Cal Fan’s Notes.”  

If there’s a better ball park in America we haven’t seen it.

It was Golden Bear, Doug Shorenstein’s dad, Walter, who saved  the Giants and set the stage for St. Helena’s Peter Magowan et al (ok SF claims him too) to build the most fan friendly venue in the land.

(Bear, Larry Baer is taking over after the Giants Spring which ousted Bill Neukom in a bloodless coup  d’etat).   As my new garbage man, Muammar Gaddafi opined, “As they say in baseball, Payback’s a pitch.”  (Or something like that—he has an accent).  Guess he heard about the parking pass.

  Former Bear, Baer made some phone calls during the re-institution of Baseball—but I digress.

Like mis-matched socks, mis-matched teams are in Serena’s words “Unattractive inside—and out.”  Some people spent too much time praying with themselves.

All the Colleges are doing it—hoping to get to 6 wins in order to go to a Bowl Game wherein the University will spend more money than they are paid for going there.

Though my kids were never allowed to use the word, I will:  “It sucks.”

Playing a school with 1200 kids (that’s only 1166 more than we have coaches and “staff”—check out the team pic) is (to quote another Golden Bear) “Inherently unequal.”  I assume the winner goes up against the IFC intramural champs in a flag football phantasma (on a neutral site of course).

Yes, it was thrilling to see Bigelow  return the 2nd half kickoff 88 yards for a score, but was it right?  Catching on to the schizophrenia?

And what about the kid?  As an athlete wouldn’t he have rather broken in against an SEC opponent or (dropping the “E”) SC?  

Athletes only want to compete against the best because only the best brings out the best in them.  (See Jessee Owen’s article about competing in the ’36 Olympics against Luz Long on that one).

We were thrilled that Coach Tedford surpassed Andy Smith.  We remember well the audaciousness of the first play of his first game against Baylor—double pass to a Freshman for a Touch Down. 

We loved how he boldly volunteered to play a ranked team, Kansas State, on the road in some special “Summer” Bowl to open up the ’03 season.  And had that thrilling win over Virgenia Tech.  He had challenged the program to excel—and radically changed the culture at Cal. 

He richly deserved his two Pac 10 Coach of the year awards.

We will never forget how Mac Brown unjustly conned him out of the ’05 Rose Bowl game.  We are grateful that he’s brought sellout crowds to Memorial Stadium.  And like Andy Smith who was the impetus for moving the Stadium from down  near Hearst Gym, to Strawberry Canyon.   Coach Tedford is the raison d’ etre for the new High Performance Center and new Stadium as well.

He’s proved loyal.  He could have left many times over for greener pastures and fewer tree sitters.
Most important, He graduates his kids and the program looks to be clean, though in the sordid world of College Football today, who knows what that means—but to some of us it’s vitally important.

His teary eyes and humility were both touching and genuine.

Jeff deserved to enter history with a victory over SC, Ohio State, Tennessee or even Standford State.  I remember how Ray Willsey hated to play San Jose State (with apologies to their outstanding alumni and my friends) Ray just  felt they weren’t in our league—then they went and beat us in ’66.

This is grating because my entire argument regarding the Rugby/Baseball debacle was that we should help Rugby to save Cal—not the other way around.

The argument is built upon two great lines—one from a poem and one from Andy Smith:

To Wit:  

You don’t go down with a short hard fall you just sort of shuffle along,
Till you lighten your load with the moral code, till you can’t tell right from wrong.”

And Andy Smith’s admonition which is carved on the back of the bench in Memorial Stadium,

“It is far better to lose than to win at the sacrifice of an ideal.”

The contention was that the Chancellor’s approach to lowering the bar at Cal, academically and admissions-wise (all money driven) and the administration’s decision to punish Rugby, rather than reward and celebrate excellence was yet another marker in the continued dumbing down of the school we all love so much.

Scheduling teams whose student bodies are barely bigger than just our men’s and women’s sports programs, further erodes of our character and mission. 

That others do it?  Just because the other kids get to stay out past midnight doesn’t mean our kids can.

The argument was that everyone would get a chance to play.  I don’t know.  The first team played the entire first half and we were up 49 to 12.  Glad I’m not a parent of any of those 2nd and 3rd stringers.

The game is supposed to be student-centric—not TV-centric.  This entire Pac 27 (or whatever we are going to be) is going to be a disaster for kids. 
The endless pursuit of lucre is changing our focus and will surely hurt the ones who are supposed to benefit the most—the children.

As to the game and armchair observations  it’s probably best if we wait until next week against the Huskies—when we get away from flag and get back to tackle football.

Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70