Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Sure ,it was a cupcake--Sac State--and not Ohio State, but for a Cal fan, is there any other day of the year like Saturday morning before Cal’s home opener?  Especially when we ar 1 and 0 after having beaten a Big Ten team on the road?

Like a kid waking up early Christmas morn, one can’t wait to get her coffee, open up the Green Sheet, and slowly read each and every article, saving the ones about our Cal Bears for last. 

Just how good does that Bloody Mary taste?

It is a ritual followed by thousands of Golden Oldies like moi.  We can’t help ourselves.  Up until that first kick off, hope springs eternal--the smell of Roses wafts wistfully through the air—no matter how delusional that fantasy may be.

Like alkies in constant denial--and sure that they can stop anytime--Old Blues are addicted to hope—the hope that maybe this year will be the one in which we find ourselves making reservations for Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

But like Eugene O’neil’s Iceman (who never does commeth), we live with our cherished illusions—the totally irrational illusion that some mystical Joe Kapp will emerge from the ashes of a one win season, and rise up, Phoenix-like to lead us to the Promised Land.

The Bloody helps nurture that concept—and then dulls the senses when the dream inevitably gets dashed to pieces like oh so many wine bottles during the last quake.

After he broke his oar on that shark’s back, Hemmingway’s Old Man pounded that shark with his bare hands, knowing there was no way he was ever going to triumph—but he fought on anyway—despite the certainty of defeat.

He endured.  That was his nobility.

We can identify with that Old Man. Each New Year’s Eve as we celebrate Uranus’ castration of Kronos (you didn’t know that’s what New Year’s is actually all about?), we are reminded of our dashed expectations.  Hard as it is on us, we understand we’ll be facing yet another Bear-less Rose Bowl.

But we endure—and come back for more.  That’s why they refer to us as “Loyal Golden Bears.” 

Remember:  No on ever used the adjective “loyal” in front of the UCLA Bruins, Stanford State Indians, or USC Sandra Flukes.  

As Pericles taught us, “I will speak first of our ancestors, a tribute should be paid to their memory.”  Generations of Bears earned that moniker “Loyal Golden Bear,” and passed it on to us in a sort of mos maiorum—the unwritten code which we all follow.

The stars seemed aligned on Saturday. 

First and foremost the kickoff was at noon.  What a concept?

Strawberry Canyon was designed for Saturday afternoons.  It turns into a pumpkin during 7pm kick offs.

The new facility literally sparkled under the September sun.  It made you proud to be a Bear—backing young kids getting ready to do what young boys ought to be doing (when not chasing co-eds)—banging into one another with reckless abandon.

(On a side note), two weeks ago a tall good lookin’ guy brought up the idiocy of breathalyzing students and forcing them through one gate, resulting in waiting times of 45 minutes to an hour.  It didn’t appear as an appropriate way to gain friends and influence enemies—let alone future ticket holders.

Declining student attendance bore this out.

Saturday morning before the Cal Cupcake Classic, the Chronicle reported that the University had changed its policy and would allow kids to enter any gate they wanted. 

Allowing Cal to save face, the paper staid away from the breathalyzing aspect, but it’s clear that someone, somewhere came up with a very clever solution. 

No doubt this was simply a coincidence, but ain’t it grand when great minds think alike?

As you can see from the pic above, unlike last year, the student section was packed.

Though the Hornets from Sac State may not be in Tennessee’s league, they had some players and the Bears performed more than admirably. 

They tackled—they blocked—they ran, they passed, and boy can Lawler catch!

It was a fun day which saw dozens of Bears seeing action and a whole section of proud parents pleased that their kid got to don the Blue and Gold and run out on that "grass" on a Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium.

Years ago, (after defeating San Jose St.) the late, sainted John Erby appeared on the balcony after the game and yelled, “I smell roses.”  They ended the season 1 and 9.

So let’s not go down that route.  Let’s just say that for one glorious day all was right in Strawberry Canyon—it seemed like Strawberry fields, forever--sans the pungent odor of Colorado’s state flower.

Notes and Kuotes: 

  • ·     Cal is in the top ten in almost every category but makes only #20 in Newsweek’s overall rankings.  Go Figure:

  • ·      U.C. president Janet Napolitano is looking for money.  T. Gary Rogers has been trying to convince her that if she just changes the way the overall (ten billion dollar) endowments are run, she could add $500,000,000 per year.  He’s been beating this drum to her, Richard Blum, the Regents,  and the Governor three years—so far no takers.  The citizens of this State deserve better.

  • ·      Another academic scandal?   Sandy’s legacy continued:   

  • ·      According to an article which appeared in the Daily Cal,

  • ·      it appears that certain footballers were added to the squad to help improve the overall GPA.  No harm there—maybe their habits could rub off on others?  However, apparently at least one, James Grisom (and perhaps others) had his scholarship taken away, once there was more talent and depth at his position.  If this turns out to be true, its yet another black eye and case of misplaced priorities.

  • ·      Here’s a “Go figure.”  Chidi Ahanatou played 12 years in the NFL.  He is 12 units shy of graduating.   Here’s his FaceBook Post in “Call Football Club.”

  • ·      After 12yrs in the NFL & actually repping CAL proudly on TV interviews, i retired and I tried to attain my CAL degree. Only being 12units short of completing, I thought it would be easy. But I was told that it was mandatory & no exceptions that I return to CAL to take classes there. As now a single father of 3 sons & living across the nation in Florida, that mandate was for me an impossibility. After 10yrs of trying to appeal for an exclusion in this mandate so I could take classes here in Florida, no success. I still do not have my degree, cannot show my teenage sons any diploma on my wall, and my sons probably will have their degrees before I ever get mine.....Go Bears.

  • ·      In this age of internet courses, JC’s, “correspondence” classes, extension classes and “continuing education classes,”  can this be true?  Why doesn’t someone from the athletic department step up and fix this?  

  • ·      Head Rugby Coach, Jack Clark, will be speaking on 9/11 in Napa in a ceremony honoring those we lost and featuring Cal Rugger and true hero, Mark Bingham.  For locals it’s at 5:30 at 1075 Main Street, near the east entrance of Kohl’s 
  • ·      What gives with Aaron Rogers, Marshawn Lynch and Richard Rogers?  When introduced for Monday Night’s Packers/Seahawks game, each named a high school or JC as his alma mater instead of Cal?  Anybody know why?

  • ·      I love everything about Stanford State’s David Shaw, but  as Sonny Cordelione said to Robert Duvall,  “Tom, you’re not a war time Consigliere.” So that’s the question.  Like Duvall’s character, great as he is in so many areas, Is Shaw a game day coach? 
The NFL has a announced a new policy to help prevent concussions.  The wearing of helmets will be mandatory--for all wives and girlfriends of NFL stars.



Don Costello, Crew '70 said...

Something not to love about Shaw is running up the score last year against Cal. Poor form and not part of our mutual traditions. University could learn much from T. Gary Ro'.

Jeff Warren said...

You nailed it, Don