Friday, October 07, 2011

WHITE HATS? I SURRENDER

It used to be that a chill ran up my spine when I turned on the TV and there was that Blue Helmet with the Golden C on the side ( or some reasonable facsimile there of). That was us. That was me. That was my father and my father’s father. That was my kids.

But Cal’s marketing department has taken that away. Who wears white hats on TV? South Carolina. Penn State? Stanford? Not the Bears. We are the loyal Golden Bears. Or were.

I knew the Pac 12 would render alumni like me “quaint”, (how awful are Thursday night games, when we want to take the family out to Strawberry Canyon on crisp fall Saturday afternoons) but I was unaware that the marketing department at Cal would add to the torture.

Did they focus group that? Did the new students from out of state say “Yeah. Blue and Gold is for fuddy duddies. We’re here. We’re paying the tuition. We want white hats on the road!” We don’t know from blue!

I guess when you’ve got a student body approaching 30% out of state and foreign, traditional colors don’t carry much weight.

(Don’t worry. Cal Monthly Magazine does the same thing: Writes “California” in purple, red, green and orange—eschewing out traditional colors.)

White travel unis are ok. We get that. But hats?

Once again it is evidence of the disdain with which the University holds its traditional fan base. The demeaning of Rugby and baseball was bad enough, but now they’re just piling on.

That’s the trouble with the 21 million in TV revenue. It renders us (who were once an important financial base of the sports programs) insignificant.

If kids in Cleveland and Kuala Lumpur think Bears in white hats are kool, traditionalists be damned. They are now the market.

In the old days, when we were getting drubbed (as we did in the 2nd half), at least one could feel for those kids in the blue and gold as they fought their hardest to keep their heads above water.

Now, how can one identify with them as they lose? Without traditional colors, there is absolutely no identification or empathy factor. They’ve become faceless automatons with no connection to us.

And in days when the athletic department doesn’t have enough money for balls and bats and gymnastics, ought we to be spending $285 per helmet for a “new look.”

Here’s a cost analysis done at the University of Indiana on what it costs to outfit a College player. And don’t say Nike Pays for it. This stuff is budgeted for someplace—either in kind or out of pocket.

-Helmet: $285
- Face mask: $20
- Mouth guard: $5
- Chin strap: $10
- Shoulder pads: $350
- Game jersey: $95
- Practice jersey: $40
- T-Shirts: $24 (2 shirts @ $12/ea.)
- Gloves: $200 (8 pairs @ $25/pair)
- Game pants: $85- Practice pants: $40
- Knee brace: $1,200 (2 @ $600/ea.)
- Pant pads: $20- Hex pad girdle: $32
- Shoes: $275 (5 pairs -- 3 for practice, 2 styles for games -- @ $55/ea.)
- Socks: $50 (10 pairs @ $5/ea.)
Total: $2,731

I don’t know how accurate these numbers are, but there are 100 kids on the team, so you do the math. This extra set of helmets ran around 30 grand. Does that fit with the mission of Athletics at Cal?

Due to the austerity programs and cutbacks at Cal, wouldn’t it have been Kooler to wear last year’s unis, just to show how much money we are saving? Now that smacks of class. What a great message that would have been to the campus community.

In fact, the Ducks are so fashion consciousness, thanks to Phil Knight, we ought to wear muddy practice uniforms just to stick it to them.

(Do you know there is no dirt in Autzene? We’ve had the tour of the locker rooms ($25,000 lockers with drying racks etc.) Everything is synthetic. Big screen TV’s, lounges, you name it. t’s like playing on the moon. There is no dirt or mud anywhere.)

As to the game itself, we are who we are. What’s to say?

Last week a tall good looking guy (who was making the point that the job of coaches is to put players in positions where they can succeed) wrote (remembering the word of another Bear (Bryant) : “Remember. When it works, they (the players) did it. When it doesn’t work, we did it.”

Today Coach Tedford was quoted, “We need to coach better and put them in a better position” That was classy. I’ll setter for co-incidence, or the influence of Mars in retro-grade and the correct alignment of the stars—but whatever the reason, his was as classy statement. Attitudes like that will go a long way to moving the program forward.

The announcers had to bring up last year’s faking of injuries and mentioning (perhaps our finest assistant coach) Tod Lupoi’s involvement. Tedford got testy in the papers and said, “We’ve put it behind us.” No. We haven’t.

If I were Lupoi’s parents I’d be mad as hell at the Cal administration.

That wasn’t some rogue coach’s action. It came from the top or was known at the top, or should have been known at the top.

Harry Truman never said “The buck stops with Alben Barkley.”

If Tedford wants to put an end to it, he should exculpate Lupoi and say that ultimately he’s responsible and Lopoi should never have been thrown under the (white?) bus.

Maynard was off. He rushed throws (as he’s done all season), but at least he doesn’t take sacks.

Allen (as athletic as he is) has to stop with the one handed attempts over the middle. These guys are so big and so athletic, that they can make great one handed catches. Still, the odds are against it, and the rule once was, never one hand because you are likely to tip it up in the air, leading to an interception.

The great small receivers of the past Raymond Berry, Lance Allworth, Billy Wilson (yes they were all white and not nearly as talented as Allen) used two hands ALWAYS. Remember: There are more one handed drops than catches.

Pleased Tedford attempted a score with 35 seconds to go at the end of the first have. THAT shows some confidence in the kids. We got within field goal range but it was blocked—BTW a team which doesn’t have enough pride to prevent blocked kicks is not going to upset a lot of better teams.

The laxness in the kicking game shows a lack of attention to detail
throughout.

Glad to see that Maynard rolled on the attempted two point conversion. It was unsuccessful, but it puts pressure on the D, just like it would have last week when we were on the 2 against the Huskies.

That begs the question: If it’s good when going for two, why not when one is on the two and driving?

In sum, we are just as good as we are. We have some play makers and some studs on D. But we don’t have their speed and we are simply not in their league.

That's why, if we can't win, can't we at least have memories and tradition?

That’s why we like it that Tedford is graduating the players. We need something to point to. I still see us giving Stanford trouble. SC, I just don’t know.

Go Bears. White hats? I surrender,

Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70