Tuesday, August 27, 2013


“It's Better to Lose than to Win at the Sacrifice of an  Ideal," 
Andy Smith

                We now know what separates Cal from other Athletic programs in the country.  Can you picture an Athletic Director like Pat Haden (USC), or  Bill Battle (Alabama), or even Stanford State’s Bernard Muir—any one of them standing in front of their school’s most loyal donor base--Grid Club, Buck Club, Condom Club (SC)—whatever they’re called—and telling them he won’t take any questions?
                Can you imagine those words coming from Pete Newell’s lips,  John Kassar’s or Sandy’s predecessor, Steve Gladstone?  Can you imagine anyone of them daring to say that to the folks who pay their salaries?
(From Sandy’s Contract:  This position is funded 100 percent by athletic department revenues and private fundraising” )

                Well, it happened yesterday right in Memorial Stadium (the place the 2014 Big Game is likely not to be played) during a special Grid Club luncheon.
                (This is from another source.  My friend realizes we are hardly Wiki leaks, but maybe, due to my age, wee, wee leaks would be more appropriate).
                The Grid Club met—Coach Dykes spoke—the A.D. was introduced, paid lip service to tradition—and then said she would take “no questions” regarding her plan to move our Home Big Game to Great America Amusement Park in 2014.  Something about being tired after her boondoggle  to China. 

  Whose dime was that on?
  Good on ya’ mate, Sandy.  At least, now we know who has the cojones and who doesn’t.  Hopefully,  those old meat eating males behaved like good little boys the rest of the meal, and then rushed home to watch re-runs of You Porn in the hopes of seeing  a real pair or two.   How times have changed.
If the Cal Grid Club (fervent donors, all) allows you to dictate the terms of the debate, we all deserve what we get.
Sandy and her team in Eshleman Hall (isn’t that where the Athletic Department still is?—just joking) have declared war on Cal Grads—we are dismissed as an annoyance.  Some don’t even bother to hide it any more.
Members of the Athletic Department now actively recite the refrain,  You know.  We are never going to win over the traditionalists.”  It’s become a mantra.
(Sort of like our Mantra “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, we hate to shut it down, But we Must, We must—back on the streets in the 60’s).
So “the traditionalists” have now been boxed out.  We have become (as a tall good looking guy wrote back in 2010, “Quaint.”)  (BTW it’s not just old folks.  It’s any kid who went to Cal and bleeds Blue and Gold).
Because they never went to Cal, they have no Idea why we are so snotty and uppity about having graduated from the (Once) Greatest University in the World.
Though all College experiences on all campii can be fantastic, we arrogantly believe no one knows what it is like to have made it through Cal, unless one has done it.  What makes us different besides our egos?  The institution, that’s what.  Despite Red Scares;  loyalty oaths; financial Cut Backs; Peoples’ Park; Riots in the Streets; gas dropped from Helicopters;  sit-ins, teach ins, Anti-War strikes, Draft evasions; marches on every cause known to man; third world shut downs, Racism, Reverse Racism; bloated administration;  touchy-feely classes; sock doll classes; women’s issues; gay issues; Naked men;  Dirty Speech; tuition hikes; pacifists, environmentalists, communists, Young Republicans, Mario Savio, the selling out of  local tax payers to out of staters; and a Rose Bowl drought since 1959, we have not only muddled through—we are stronger for it.  And that’s not even mentioning getting slapped down by co-eds on a regular basis.
NO ONE has had to endure what Cal Students go through to get that parchment,  We are proud of it—button busters, as we should be.
We are most often referred to as “Loyal old Blues” or “Loyal Golden Bears.” No one talks about the “Loyal Trojans” of SC or “Loyal” Indians (or however they refer to themselves) at Stanford or the Loyal Irish.

“Loyal” isn’t our middle name. It’s our first name. It's a concept these new folks haven’t seemed to grasp.
Loyalty is earned—not granted.  And once earned, it is a sin against all that is holy to destroy it.
When you want people to be loyal to you, you have to send some love back.  Loyalty assumes (actually, requires) reciprocity.

                Why do we no longer matter?  Why are we treated with such distain?
It’s simple:  With the exception of a few major donors, (most of our) donations pale in comparison to the Pac 12 TV contract (over $20,000,000). They don’t have to care what we think.
They pigeon hole us like the Democratic Party pigeon holes the Tea Partiers , or like Republicans pigeon hole progressives as “socialists.”
Oh, they pay us lip service, but as soon as our backs are tuned they go at it—laughing at us all the time.
Otherwise, they might  pay attention to the fact that The Cal Blogs are on fire with anger.  A cursory look at the articles which appeared on line in the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, and Contra Costa Times shows that the overwhelming number of “comments” are negative to her idea.  
This idea has been test marketed in the public arena and flopped—yet no one is paying attention.
               It becomes a numbers game:  Let’s see, there’s that pain in the neck (or wherever) and his Luddite friends.  “They might raise a ruckus, but if you think about it, they will be dead in a fear years so, who cares.”
Here’s why Sandy doesn’t have to worry about Cal tradition.  Her contract runs through 2016   According to her contract (approved by the regents September 16, 2010)
Base Salary:
Range of Total Incentive/Bonus Awards:
$64,776.25 - $240,598
Total Cash Compensation:
$434,926.25 - $610,748

This is not including tips, or her membership at Claremont Country Club, leased car or “benefits.”

None of this is coming from the State.  
We saw the administration’s attitude, of course, with the demotion of Rugby—arguably the most meritorious sport at Cal.   Instead of rewarding excellence they demeaned it.  
(To his credit,  when introducing Mr. Dirks to the Trustees, outgoing Chancellor Birgeneau  joked,  “My one bit of advice?  Don’t cut any sports.”)
I’d give in to Sandy’s arguments if it made business sense.   Okay, I’m lying--but I’m trying to be reasonable.
Is getting an extra x-hundred thousand dollars (Even if it’s a million dollars) worth alienating such a huge group?  (Maybe it is.  Perhaps they have done the numbers and decided that those who have given to Cal over the past half century will be dead soon, so we don’t have to worry about what they think).
Gratitude has not been the hallmark of this administration.
But what if it’s a one time hit which causes bigger losses over time in anger and ill will.
Has no one ever taught them that this is a long term deal and turning off Cal fans today just might result in fewer Cal fans in the future?
I can’t prove that’s the case, but why would anyone take the chance.
Like municipalities mortgaging the tax payers’ future by granting bloated retirement benefits to be paid years down the road, they are risking depleting the future fan base by alienating a HUGE constituency of fans today.
College football works, not because of the excessive athleticism (there is much more in the NFL) but because local communities, cities, counties, states, regions, identify with them.  It’s generational—handed down from father to son, mother to daughter.
School  spirit actually exists and adds to the pageantry and the game day experience.
That being said, it is clear she and her staff are smarter than I am (who isn’t).  They know that we can raise hell for a day or two, but it will die off and then they can do what will benefit their personal careers to the detriment of what we once knew as “Cal.”  
They have a plan that disdains us, but what if they’re wrong?
Cal will become Berkeley (Dan Mogolof gave a presentation at the Lair stating this is the goal).  Big Game will one day be played in Beijing  or Paris (for the money, of course).
My grandfather graduated from Cal in 1912 with Bob Sproul.  My parents graduated before the War, and my three kids graduated this century.
We have a stake in this school, just as you do.
This is not over.

Papa Warren’s favorite poem is always a perfect way to end:  
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.
Go Bears,
Jeffrey Earl Warren ‘70


Anonymous said...

Well diagnosed and written as usual Jeff. So, what to do?
After the earlier 'announcements' I had second thoughts about the coming football season, but will persevere in respect of the guys who will don the Blue and Gold. While the kids can transfer if the coach leaves, what can they do if the AD is a bonehead and doesn't respect their reasons for attending Cal? (it is not for the money)
I wasn't that concerned about getting a little older, growing a long forehead or having to bearly meamble up to the stadiuum. But now I have been put into a useless class - where Cal Spirit in not important, where years of donations are forgotten, where active participation in Bear Backers no no counts, where MONEY is KING and we who carried the torch are put out to pasture.
Fall is too nice a time to travel to have to endure such indignity. Perhaps we can catch the midnight Cal games in Paris at breakfast.
Hoping for a fun season anyway.
Uncle Willie

Anonymous said...

God Damn Right On!
The times they are a changing.
When loyalty was once a respected value and tradition was something that unified, and now it's become quaint.
Ya know, there's a radio show being done tomorrow in the Field Club. It might be a good time to attempt a discussion again.
Ed Isaac

JC Smith said...

Strike, strike, strike!
How about boycotting a few games with a sit-down strike outside the stadium?!
Ahh, I can smell the tear gas now as Sandy and her pals laugh all the way to the bank.
Reminds me of the good old days when I dodged the Alameda County Sheriff's goon squad on Telegraph Ave.
Go Bears,
Jim the Jet Smith, '70

John Cullom said...

The short term - screw the loyal few and take the money
The long term - when the big "U" can't find any loyal few to fund a new library, they can turn to Nike, Ford or Budweiser.

Anonymous said...

So, Dear, you've come to Cal Berkeley, heard all that you had to do

Was sit in the shade of the Faculty glade while the dollars rolled into you?

They gave you that at the Network, you got your statistics straight?

Well, hear what it'll do from a loyal fool before you decide your fate.

You don’t go down with a short, hard fall; you just sort of shuffle along,

And lighten your load of the moral code till you can’t tell the right from the wrong.

Don Pedro

Anonymous said...

The perspective in this blog reeks of sexist balderdash. if "traditionalists" mean the "cojones" perspective you represent, I am all for Sandy whatever she decides.

Anonymous said...

One can look to the past to see what happens when tradition is abolished by the Administartion. The last time Cal went to the Rose Bowl was 1959. The Administartion abolished the Men's Rooting Section for the 1959 season. Could the end of Cal's Rose Bowl appearances be co incidental?

Anonymous said...

Dear Jeff,
I, as a member of the San Francisco Grid Club, read with great interest your latest blog dated August 27,2013 regarding Sandy Barbour’s presentation during this week’s Grid Club luncheon.
While I amongst others may agree with your sentiments about moving The Big Game, it is also important that we know all the facts before judging her actions.
First of all, I would like to point out that our Athletic Director was not on a “boondoggle to China.” She went there to accompany the Cal Women’s Basketball team on their Asian Tour.
Secondly, on the topic of moving Big Game to Great America Park in 2014, this issue has been discussed for several months, and the University -- not the Athletic Department -- has requested all employees (which includes our Athletic Director) specifically not to comment on this situation. During the Grid Club luncheon, our Athletic Director stated that she could not answer questions from the Club during her allocated time but she would be available to answer individual questions after the meeting. Jeff, she stayed for almost an hour speaking and answering questions from various members of the Club. I know because I spoke to her for several minutes on this Big Game issue specifically.
Our Athletic Director has the responsibility to listen and review all opportunities that are presented to the Department. In this case that is exactly what she is doing right now. While we, as Traditionalists, may not like this particular opportunity, it is her job to review it. You and I as “Loyal California Golden Bears” would be more disappointed if our AD did not listen to all opportunities in order to further advance positive exposure for our Student Athletes.
Finally, I am disappointed in the source you referenced in your blog, as members of the Grid Club are asked not to share any comments made by the coach, the AD or the chancellor outside of the room. I also find it interesting that you wrote your article criticizing the AD and her administration but did not make any comments about our coach. Did your source not reveal to you that Sonny told us what he would call on his first offensive play at Cal? You may suggest to your source that he is free to resign from the Grid Club.
Go Bears
Matthew Alexander
Former President San Francisco Grid Club
Current Board Member

mcd59 said...

Come on, Matt. Lighten up!!
Jeff is a great Old Blue and a great writer!!

Anonymous said...

Went to the Cal Ohio State game on Saturday. Loved what they have done with the stadium. As I looked up Strawberry Canyon I felt something missing. I finally realized that "The Big C' was not visable. Is it gone or just overgrown? Anyone have an answer or a thought? As an aside the stadium had more OSU fans than Cal fans. That is disgustiong. The team is young and I think heading in the right direction. It may be a tough year but they will be a lot better on defense by the end of the year and they are good offensive team.