Wednesday, December 19, 2012


The bad boy children of parents in section CC

                               Tomorrow we go down for a meet and greet with the new Football Coach Sonny Dykes.  It is for football alumni (even green weenies like moi).  The stadium is new--the coach is new--we are all energized and filled with hope.  It got me to thinking about what it was once like.  I wrote this in 1998  about Section CC--a place in time which will never be visited again.  It may help explain to the new coaching stuff, and new administrators some of the weirdness which goes into being a Cal Alumnus.   If not, it is still worth remembering. I hope you agree. Go Bears,

     We were new comers to Section CC. Our season tickets were on the
50 yard line, but our fiends asked us to join them in CC--a deserted section of Cal’s Memorial stadium, located high atop the last row in the North West corner of the endzone.  It was the fall of 1984 and our first baby was not yet a year old.

     Now I don’t know who founded Section CC.--but my guess is it was Janor and her late husband, Babba Tuck.  They had eight kids and, though they too, had had tickets on the 50, they  soon discovered (which we all learned) that you don’t want to sit shoulder to shoulder and knees to back when taking infants and young kids to Cal Football games.

(Ce Ce Flynn says her parents named her after section CC  Marty Cullom claimed she and some other coach’s wives started sitting in CC back in the 60's to avoid hearing the criticisms of their husbands over on the 50 yard line). 
     CC is a world of it’s own.  By tradition the Grand parents (and now great grandparents) sit up in the highest row (row 75)  with their backs supported by the back wall of the stadium. There is method to their madness that goes beyond health benefits. The wall is only about four feet high, so one can stand on that back row and look out across the bay to the Golden Gate and take one of the world’s finest views.  Anyone who has viewed Cal football over the past 30 years knows that often a view of the seagulls flying in from the Golden Gate is eminently more exciting than the holding penalties being called down on the field.

     The stadium benches are uncomfortable, unpainted, full of splinters, narrow and rock hard.  Just what any  long suffering Cal fan expects and deserves.  

    Under the benches is the world’s longest slide--designed that garbage, bottles, cans, bag lunches et all, can be dropped from one’s hand,  and then slide  some fifty rows down where a wire screen catches the debris and holds it for the garbage man’s pick up after the game.

          Unfortunately, binoculars, sunglasses, footballs and other non-disposable items can also be accidentally dropped and they they too get to slide the 50 rows.  Of course, that is why God invented 10 year olds.   They can be sent scampering down the cement stairs to retreive the valuables caught amongst the garbage in the wire netting.

    This poses a small problem with a one year old.  Losing one down the "slide" with the rest of the garbage would not be a good move.  We soon learned the proper technique of placing a sleeping infant in a blanket, and sitting on the blanket in such a manner that the blanket “had walls” which prevent the baby from falling out and sliding 50 rows down into the beer cans.  They have plenty of time to do that when they get older.

     Over the next five years, each of our babies would sleep soundly, awakened  occasionally by the sound of the cannon which exploded only when Cal scored a touch down.  Need I add the children got a lot of uninterrupted sleep.

    Either by design or chance Section CC took on a personality of it’s own.  Were one to walk from the bottom to the top, he would have encountered ex-football coach Truck Cullom and his posse analyzing the line play.  A few rows up and over, Nutzie, Brownie, Mac, Rookie (footballers from the Levy era) would be commenting that Morton was still playing pro ball and how close each of them had come. .  

     Legendary Boalt Hall professor Adrian Kragen and his brood were not far away (ten years ago I told my 98 year old grandmother that I still saw her friend Professor Kragen at the games.  She said “That’s easy for him--he’s only in his 80’s").

     And up top, the kids still run up and down, making paper airplanes while the adults kibbitz about what plays should have been called and which tackles should have been made.

     As Bear fans, we are accustomed to having our hearts broken.   For us, next year never comes--yet we wait, patiently.  

Over the past 35 years, all aspects of life have touched CC.  Children have been born; couples have been divorced; spouses have lost their mates; kids have lost their parents; and even more tragic, parents have lost kids; fortunes have been made; and folks have lost jobs.

In between, Cal has won a couple of games and lost more than we care to count.  As Bear fans, we are accustomed to having our hearts broken.  For us, next year never comes—yet we wait, patiently.

We are a metaphor, like the Fiddler on the Roof—long suffering, in a battle against the gods we cannot hope to win—yet we endure.  We never give up hope.

  No doubt, each of us can run the program (to say nothing of the world) better than those in charge—could play better than those playing—could officiate better than those officiating.

And when all is said an done, we count ourselves lucky if we go 6 and 5.  It’s like the world we live in.  No matter today’s outcome—we always have the kids—each other--and fortunately, next year.