A house divided: UC Berkeley-Stanford family feuds

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Erik Dahlquist/Courtesy

It’s mid-Big Game Week, and we at the Clog have one question for you: Can you feel the pride coursing through your veins yet? If your answer is yes, (and it had better be), we feel you there. We’ve burned our red clothes and chopped down trees in a destructive rage, and we’re ready for Friday’s bonfire. We can give our full attention to hating the Cardinal because we don’t have anything at Stanford to divide our loyalty. But Andrew Sweet, UC Berkeley freshman and sufferer of interminable agony, does. His sibling attends Stanford, meaning he struggles against the dark forces that have plagued his very family every day. We interviewed him — and a few other poor children with Stanford siblings — to see how they deal with the terrible push and pull of the UC Berkeley-Stanford feud in their everyday lives.

Andrew Sweet

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The Daily Clog: Is your sibling older or younger?

Andrew Sweet: For Stanford, it’s more than one sibling. My dad went to Stanford, and my brother did his undergrad and graduate there, and my sister’s also a senior for undergrad there. So there’s a lot of Stanford in my family.

DC: How did all of the Stanfordites react when you decided to go to Cal?

AS: When (my dad) actually came up for parents’ weekend, he stopped up to visit my siblings first because they’re on the way, and he changed his shirt on the way from Stanford to a Cal shirt. The first thing he said to me was, “I changed my shirt!” He had basically the same thing on — just Cal instead.

DC: Which team do your parents root for come Big Game?

AS: I think both my parents wanted to get split shirts. My dad’s wallpaper on his phone is half Stanford, half Cal. It’s really funny that they’re embracing it!

DC: Have you ever visited your siblings at Stanford?

AS: I’ve been there a lot to visit. … I’ve been to a lot of Stanford football games. I went to the Rose Bowl the past two years. … Unless they’re playing Cal, I kind of want Stanford to win. … But I always find myself chuckling on the inside whenever they lose and sometimes on the outside, too.

DC: Have you ever lorded Cal over your siblings?

AS: If I want to take a cheap shot, I say, “We’re always number one in public (rankings), but you’re never number one in private.” Just reminding them what we have.

C: Did it ever go the other way?

AS: They try (to lord things over me), but if you actually look at the two schools, there’s not much that Stanford’s better at than Cal.

C: Given the choice, would you have your sibling come to Cal?

AS: It’d be nice, but I don’t think they could handle it.

Nice clincher there, Andrew! Obviously, he hasn’t cracked under the strain of the rivalry tearing apart his family. But Andrew isn’t the only sibling living a life of daily UC Berkeley-Stanford agony.

Erik Dahlquist

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DC: Do your parents favor one school over the other?

Erik Dahlquist: They both went to UCLA, so I think they both kind of like the UCs — but also my brother Nick was their first son to go to college, so there’s that, too. … (Nick) left after his third year, so we like to tease him about how he’s the college dropout.

DC: Does your sibling ever lord anything over you?

ED: He doesn’t intentionally lord anything over me … but I’ll still say things about how Berkeley CS is respected, and he’ll be like, “Really? I don’t think it’s in the same league as Stanford.” … We’re one of the top-tier CS schools, but he just doesn’t believe me that Berkeley is a legitimate school sometimes.

DC: What did you do at fun for Stanford when you visited?

ED: What did I do for fun? Let’s see. Gosh, what did I do for fun? It’s been a few years since I’ve hung out there. Umm … what did I do for fun at Stanford? I don’t know — what’s fun at Stanford?

In all fairness, he went on to give a full and detailed answer, but a long pause counts for something. We’re just saying.

Maddie Heaps

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Clog: What’s the Big Game etiquette between siblings?

Maddie Heaps: Because this is the first year of our rivalry, and I do work for Cal Athletics, I will be attending the game on the field. Not sure if my sister is coming!

C: What’s the best thing in Berkeley they don’t have at Stanford?

MH: The people and culture here is so much more diverse. The fact that we’re in a big city gives us so much more than Stanford. Stanford is secluded in its own world.

C: Do you own a piece of clothing from Stanford?

MH: Not anymore!

It looks like the sibling relationships between our interviewees are still very much intact, despite the crushing rivalry that haunts their existence. It remains to be seen, however, if this will change with UC Berkeley’s impending sweeping victory in the Big Game this Saturday. They say blood is thicker than water, but we deny this because, well, you know what color blood is.

Contact Emma Schiffer at [email protected].