Last week on the Clog, we got to sit down and talk with UC Berkeley’s own Electronic Sports Club president, Conan “Suppy” Liu. Through it, we got to find out some very interesting things about the competitive gaming community in Berkeley and what it takes to be a professional gamer. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already.
However, as we have also found out through Liu, the scene is very much growing and is on the move toward gaining an even broader mainstream appeal. So much so that it seems to have caught the attention of Kornhaber Brown, who has done a mini-documentary about the E-sports community for “PBS Off Book,” a Web series that explores new experimental artistic media.
The mini-documentary itself is very informative and really expands on the vast world of electronic sports in an easy-to-understand way. What’s also nice is that it breaks down the major genres of games played at professional-level tournaments, gives an interesting story of a real-life professional gamer and even dabbles in current issues that exist in the community, such as sexism and the exclusivity that E-sport gaming sometimes breeds.
The best and worst thing about Cal athletics is its inconsistency.
We all know that we don’t spend the most money on sports compared to other universities — or even close to the most. A decent intercollegiate athletic department like that of Oregon’s has an annual revenue around $88 million, with over a third coming from gifts and donations. Cal Athletics’ revenue for 2011 was $65.2 million, with 24% coming from gifts and donations. Note that these are both public schools who don’t get giant endowments from the school. They have to do the best they can with what they have.
Now the point is that it’s not about the money. Yes, it’s true that more money does buy better equipment and a better coaching staff. It does buy better scouting and ultimately attracts better players. All these factors do lead to better team standings and ultimately greater dedication from the fans.
Except at Cal. The beauty of Cal athletics is that it doesn’t have any of those things. We don’t need money to buy our fan’s loyalty. Our modest athletic budget results in teams that, except for rugby, can’t often do well in their sports. And that’s okay. Cal fans are resolute in their love of the school and our athletes. We don’t need an impressive record to start frothing at the mouth while cheering. It’s only at Cal where the players can take loss after loss and show up to a game against a top opponent and believe they can win. Once, just once in a long while, we get that win. And it’s enough.
Saturday, against No. 10 Oregon, was one of those wins. And it is sweet to know that our team can enter a game with a 12-8 record against a team that is dominating 18-3 and still give it their all until the last second. When our fans rushed out onto the court at the end of the game, it was clear that Cal was proud of the basketball team.
Quite frankly, Oregon’s basketball players have greater athleticism and stats than our own basketball team. But that’s the thing about sports in general, and Cal athletics in particular — the numbers don’t quite give the whole picture. Our athletes and fans do not give up. It’s the same reason Cal can lose to Nevada in football, but then goes on to beat UCLA.
Unpredictability makes each game more interesting and each win more satisfying. It’s the rare moments when we pull off an upset and everyone storms the court or field that makes each loss easier to swallow. And in those moments, all the loyalty and dedication of our fans pays off in a far greater way than if we were rooting for a team that is known to always win. The inconsistency only applies to how our teams perform, because our fans are consistently and passionately in love with the Bears.
Image Source: Jasmine Mausner, The Daily Californian
Towering at 6 feet and 5 inches, Cal rugby coach Jack Clark poses an impressive figure, but even more impressive is his esteemed character and his commitment to Cal athletics. For those of you who live in ignorance of this living legend, prepare to be astonished as we dissect what makes him such a damn good coach.
Clark played football and rugby for Cal when he went here, 34 years ago. That’s probably where he started developing his deeply ingrained sense of Cal pride. The entirety of Cal could be steamrolled into a flat mound and Jack Clark would be sitting on that mound wearing blue and gold.
Clark enjoys reading poetry. No, seriously. He’s lived the kind of life that has exposed him to some good people. And he’s taken the best attributes from those people and made it a part of him.
Taken straight from his Wikipedia page: “Clark is the winningest coach in Cal Rugby history.” All anyone really wants is the word “winningest” used to describe their achievements.
If you’re expecting someone who is this big of a man to be a misogynist, you’re just plain wrong. And we hate you. After hearing that rugby was being demoted from a Varsity sport to a Club sport at Cal, Clark didn’t lash out against the most probable cause: Title IX. Here‘s what he said: “ I’m a fan of Title IX. I think gender equality is exactly the right mission. I know a lot about athletics and what it can do for people, and the fact that we didn’t have enough opportunities for young women was a crime.”
Perhaps most importantly, the rugby team is the one place where Cal consistently annihilates Stanford. This past Saturday, Cal defended the Scrum Axe with a 176-0 win. The good sport that he is, Clark went through much of the 63 players on the team, showing that the score could have been even higher if he had only played his best players.
Although given relatively little media attention, UC Berkeley’s electronic sports team has garnered quite a bit of respect both across the nation and internationally. Cal has particularly excelled in several real time strategy games, including Defense of the Ancients (DotA) and StarCraft, with the DotA team becoming the first ever Collegiate DotA League (CDL) champions and the the StarCraft team poised to win its second championship in the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL). We sat down with the Electronic Sports club‘s president and ace StarCraft player Conan “Suppy” Liu and asked him a few question about E-Sports here in Berkeley:
What does it take to become a serious gamer?
Conan: A lot of dedication. Not just playing casually, or for fun, but you have to focus on areas you can improve on. There are a lot of resources online, including videos of some professional players. One good way is to play a game and watch the replay, taking notes on ways to improve your strategy. It’s almost an academic way of gaming.
Are there any skills in competitive gaming that you would say are applicable outside of the gaming environment?
Conan: (Laughs) There is a study linking surgeons to their video gaming abilities, but in terms of realistic applications, gaming involves a lot of problem solving. At least in Starcraft, there’s a lot of strategy and on-the-spot critical thinking that requires you to think very quickly in reacting to your opponent.
How do students get on the Berkeley StarCraft team? How else can they get involved?
Who doesn’t love Cal football? In addition to the brilliant athletes winning on the field, our football games feature a wide variety of really interesting fans. Here is a list of just five of those people:
The Enforcer doesn’t go to the football game for kicks and giggles. He has an important job to do: to make sure that no one is wearing red. Or sitting down. He spends the game not watching the game, but searching the aisles for violators of the Bear Code. Once he finds those people, he uses his peer pressure taser to shame the offending party into submission. He goes to bed each night knowing that football games are a little more school spirited as a result of his actions. To all the Enforcers out there, we salute you.
The Troll/Freshman/Schmuck/Attention Whore
The Enforcer’s nemesis, the Troll/Freshman/Schmuck/Attention Whore is a hallmark of stupidity and provocation. Something about not wearing red just seems incredibly difficult for this person. Or maybe he/she simply enjoys five thousand people screaming at them to not sit during the game. Either way, there’s always at least one at each game.
The Girl Who’s There Just For the Pictures
Now, this kind of behavior can be found in men, but a LOT more with women. You know the type. These ladies have no interest in football, but are there solely as an opportunity to flaunt their duck face. They take literally dozens of pictures. And then there’s the ridiculous amount of make-up. Poor Oskie. We would put her picture here, but that’s just what she wants.
The Guy Who Knows Everyone On The Team
Just to be clear, he doesn’t. He just acts like he does because he lives in a deluded world. You can catch him shouting congratulations to Keenan after a good run, or yelling his praise to Marc for a solid tackle. He probably even believes he’s on the team. He is easy to spot — just look for a douchebag.
The Angry Guy
This young man is passionate about football. How passionate? Blood boiling, spittle flying, arms flapping passionate. He spends the entire game coming up with new ways to curse the other team, which he hates more than anything else on the planet. Give this guy a wide berth every time the other team scores. Or he might punch you in the face.
Posted by Lynn Yu on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 11:20 am
The best part about the fall semester? Getting the chance to terrorize freshmen of course. Oh, and football season. Mainly football season. Even though we don’t have a bonfire this year, we can all go see Bob Dylan and then heartily show our blue and gold against the trees. But it doesn’t take the Big Game to get us excited — any sort of football, period, gets us juiced. Even the following video about training camp. We hope y’all are getting just as pumped as us.
Posted by Lynn Yu on Monday, August 13, 2012 10:15 pm
One last glorious picture of Nathan Adrian
The Clog nearly had a heart attack at three separate moments during the U.S. Women’s Soccer semifinal match against Canada. Thankfully, Cal Bear Alex Morgan swooped in and saved the day in the 123rd minute, scoring the winning goal and lowering our blood pressure back to normal.
That moment was just one of many where former and current Bears dominated their respective sports. These past Olympics were extraordinarily successful for Cal — here’s a brief recap: read more »
Posted by Lynn Yu on Friday, August 03, 2012 09:50 am
If you haven’t been keeping up with who’s winning what, Cal has currently won 9 medals — if we were a country, we’d be in 11th place for total medal count. To keep up with Calympics coverage, be sure to check out the Daily Cal’s Sports blog. Meanwhile, the Clog will take a look at some of our favorite Olympic tattoos, starting with Michael Phelps’ dangerously low ring stamp featured above. read more »