We won! We won! On a lark, Ragnarok and I decided to go to the basketball game last night between Cal and Stanford. As we are Cal Band Alums, we can get into the games for free during the Winter Break. We are extraordinarily happy that we went, even though both of us were fairly negative about the potential success of this team before the game started. Also, during most of the 1st and 2nd halves. Ok, basically, I didn’t really think we’d win until the clock showed 0.00.
You mean like this?
Several thoughts from the game itself:
1. Maples is gorgeous. Never been there before, but with its quasi-inside, quasi-outside set up, it is cool-looking. I still like Haas better, tho.
2. I still am not sure how good our team is. The first chunk of the game was just brutal shooting-wise. I think it was 8-10 halfway through the first (prompting a highly inaccurate 32-40 prediction). Cal must have been watching a lot of 2005 Warriors videos or something, because they were just chucking up prayer 3s left and right. Without Hardin, they felt they couldn’t really get inside. So, they didn’t even try. A lot of bad 3s early. They calmed down on that after a while and that is when things started to improve.
3. Luckily for Cal, Stanford was similarly bad at shooting. But it was even *more* embarassing. They had several players (like Robin Lopez) who just TOWERED over our players. You would think with that height advantage, Stanford would own the inside. And they seemed able to barrel their way inside whenever they wanted. Robin Lopez, who drew many "Hair-Cut" chants, would throw his weight around and get to the basket and then miss a lay up. Then, we would be unable to get the board and he’d miss another unbelievably easy shot. He started dunking a lot, which did get the crowd into it a little, but I think was more because he didn’t trust himself from more than 1 inch away.
4. The crowd seemed dead. Literally. I’ve never seen so many red cardigans or sweater vests in my life. It was old man central there. I thought I was in a deli. They didn’t cheer a lot. Even the student section seemed fairly dead. There were only a few moments when they went crazy (usually off of Lopez dunks) and then when Cal answered back, they’d retreat back to silence. Supposedly, because it was winter break, Stanford opened up the student section to alums. That might explain why they weren’t as spirited. Unclear. Not much home-field advantage, I felt.
5. They showed Harbaugh, who was sitting next to noted God, Bill Walsh. I went over to try to get a photo, but couldn’t get a good angle. Came away with this monstrosity:
That is Bill Walsh’s skull there behind Harbaugh. One of the loudest cheers was for "The New Era In Stanford Football." Harbaugh noticed me taking the photo (not hard to miss a man in Cal band gear in the middle of the geriatric Stanford fans) and then gave me a thumbs up. Not wanting to create bad karma, I gave a thumbs up back. But it was a sarcastic thumbs up. Or so I am claiming right now.
Here’s to the new era being the same as the old era.
6. I know that he got about 8 points and statistically might have had a good night, but I don’t quite care for Vernicil. Or is it Vernacil? Or Vagisil? Whatever his name may be, we seemed to get worse on the court whenever he was there (and he did start the game when we were quickly down 2-8). Just a thought.
7. Anderson showed some good stuff, but with the tension at its heighest, I thought he made a poor decision. We were up 63-66 with about 18 seconds left (having brought the clock down). I forget the player, I think Ubaka, made a shot, which failed to go in. It hit the rim and then Anderson got the rebound. There were many Stanfordites around him, but he went for the basket again. He failed to get it, which gave Stanford a chance to get the ball back with minimal time and a shot to tie the game. I felt it might have been more prudent to kick the ball back out. There were about 16 seconds left and they would have had to foul almost immediately. Then, if we make 1 free throw, the game is ours. It worked out OK in the end when Stanford missed their chance to tie it up (causing the fans to start streaming out). But at the time, I was very nervous about it.
8. This man is good:
He chucked up his share of prayer 3s, but like the others calmed down. He did a good job of trying to penetrate in. Perhaps not all the way to the basket, but enough to get a better shot. He scored 26, I believe. So, without him, we are toast. For Cal to continue winning, I think we need him to play at a very high level.
9. Some action shots (only one of which was intentionally blurred):
10. And finally, a story about the classiest Stanford fan, well, maybe, ever. As I was walking around the Pavilion checking it out during halftime, 2 stanford fans started heckling me. They originally ran up and yelled some stuff to me. I was on the phone and didn’t quite notice who did it. Then, when I was walking back, they stopped me again. I tried to walk away, but one kept following me around with a middle finger right in my face. Classy. Then, I came down to the courtside to take some photos and he stood in my way to block the shots. Then, he demanded that the Stanford band allow him to play the cowbell, saying that if nobody picked it up to play it by the next song he was going to take it and play it. Then, he claimed to make that giant "I believe" sign from the Big Game (I actually remembered it). He started quoting Anchorman saying he was a man who built the eiffel tower out of brawn and steel and that he had made that sign. To which I replied that he had made it out of brawn and paper mache and he admitted (still in his anchorman voice) that it was old bed sheets and a whole lotta spray paint. Then, he said the cops tried to take it away and he got in a physical altercation with one of them.
Stay classy, Stanford.
This might have more been a game Stanford lost than we won. But I’ll take it! Go Bears!