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
Listen very closely to what the Clog is going to inform you special bunch about. Now, there are already tons of great events coming up this weekend, what with the Berkeley Project, Homecoming and oh, we don’t know, something about Occupy Berkeley, probably trivial … (Just kidding, the Clog know what’s up.)
You know, the epic game where witches and wizards fly on broomsticks and whiz around in the air, basically playing – to put it in lame, inadequate Muggle terms – supernatural basketball. Since we faithful followers of Harry Potter must be discreet about the magical blood running through our veins, read more »
Posted by Diana Newby on Thursday, September 30, 2010 06:54 pm
Mr. Birgeneau, it must be said: you are not so good at the making of the friends.
In the wake of the announcement on Tuesday that five of Berkeley’s sports will soon be no more, affected teams and their supporters are obviously less than pleased. Not least of these is men’s rugby — specifically coach Jack Clark, who more or less considers cutting his sport bullsh*t.
Our word, not his. But it’s the basic message he sends by insisting that read more »
*Leading Off…Johnson Not the Best in the World*
We don’t care if Alysia Johnson finished short in her bid for world domination. We still think that she has given the best performance of any Cal athlete this year.
After all that, is there any athlete that can do better than what she did this year?
Oh wait. Enter John Mann.
*Add That Gold Medal to Your Mantle John*
OK, so John Mann didn’t score any goals in Team USA’s gold medal victory over Brazil at the Pan-Am games. But he was still on the team. So he still gets that gold medal and that berth to the 2008 Olympics.
He did net a hat trick against Puerto Rico in the quarters though—but can’t anyone net three goals against Puerto Rico?
*Tyson Ross = Stud*
Cal pitcher Tyson Ross is a stud. We can’t wait to see him pitch next year. That’s all we’re saying.
*Gottlieb Added as Assistant Coach*
Three cheers for mediocrity!
Ben Braun added Gregg Gottlieb to his staff. Gottlieb comes to Cal after eight years at San Diego State. Yes, the Aztecs. Yes, the same SDSU that beat the Bears last year.
And sure, the Aztecs are now a contender in the Mountain West Conference, but for years, SDSU was one of those teams near the bottom. The bottom.
So, we lied. We’re back for another Wide World of Cal Sports. A lot has happened, especially in the last few weeks. We never thought it’d get this busy during the lazy, dog days of summer.
*Leading Off…Braun Gets His Extension*
Yes, we get to suffer through two more years of Ben Braun. That means two more years of stagnant offenses, so-so defenses and more mediocrity.
Braun’s original contract was slated to go to the 2008-09 season, but the university agreed to a contract extension in June, which was pending approval from the UC Regents.
Well, at least Braun will have his hands full if his players don’t stop acting up.
*More Coaching News*
Cal has found replacements for its women’s tennis and lacrosse teams.
Jan Brogan left the Bears after 29 years and a semifinal appearance in the NCAA tournament. We thought it was dumb to leave, but one of Brogan’s pupils is going to take the helm.
Amanda Augustus, who won two NCAA doubles-titles with Cal in the mid-1990s is going to be the new head coach.
On the lacrosse front, assistant coach Theresa Sherry has been elevated to head coach. She was a three-time All-American at Princeton.
Let’s hope she can bring that east coast flair to the Bears and help Cal crack that east coast bias.
*Tyson Ross: Silver Medalist*
We know Tyson Ross is awesome. He’s going to be Esquer’s only hope of keeping his job after next year (we keep saying that, but it might be true).
Add to Ross’ list of accomplishments a silver medal from the Pan American games. He was on the mound for Team USA in the tourney-opener, defeating the Dominican Republic 5-1. He also pitched two innings of relief for Team America in the gold medal game.
*Leading Off…How Sweet It Is*
The Cal women’s tennis team is through to the round of 16 after knocking of Southeastern Louisiana and Arizona State over the weekend at the Hellman Tennis Center.
It should have been that way. Who are the Lions anyway? They’re from No-where, Louisiana. Oh, and the Sun Devils? The Bears knocked them off twice during the regular season.
Easy rolling to the sweet 16 if you ask us.
*Not So Sweet*
The men’s tennis team didn’t fare as well as their female counterparts, losing in the first round to Oklahoma. It was a pretty close one, with the Bears losing 4-3.
It was also Cal’s first first-round loss since 2000, and it was a bitter way to end the season after roaring back at the end there.
Still, most of the season was ho-hum anyway.
*No Pac-10 Crowns This Time*
After the men’s and women’s crew teams won Pac-10 championships last year, both fell to rivals in this year’s edition.
The women’s crew lost its conference crown (for the first time in four years) to USuC. When you don’t advance to the grand final in two of the four events, you’re going to be pretty hard pressed to win a meet.
On the men’s side, all they needed to do was beat Washington in the final race to capture their third straight Pac-10 crown. They lost and were knocked off their pedestal.
*fUCLA Wins 100th Team Championship*
The Baby Bears won the women’s water polo national championship over the weekend, giving fUCLA 100 NCAA team titles.
*Warriors Un-Mania* Last week, we asked a simple question: Can the W’s use their athleticism to beat the Utah Jazz the same way they did against Dallas?
For one game, Golden State in fact was able to do that. But for the rest of the series for the Warriors, the team misses free throws, has horrible shot attempts and just runs out of gas near the end of the games.