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
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.
Image source: Paul Keller, armisteadbooker, aye_shamus and chexed under Creative Commons.
We broke into song and dance with the final tree-sitters’ descent nearly a month ago. Anyone with their eye on the game this afternoon was reminded of this fateful day at Memorial Stadium.
The UCPD officers most involved with the 21-month charade were recognized for their perilous acts in the line of duty — and by recognized, we do mean hailed, cheered, and adored by some 6,000 sweaty bodies of testosterone and pigskin hype. The police officers took the field during a pause in Cal’s domination (more or less) over Arizona State, and the roar that filled the stadium was, admittedly, a bit sickening. read more »