Pour One Out

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In my years of listening to the rap of various genres, from the old school of Eric B. & Rakim and A Tribe Called Quest to the new school of Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, I’ve stumbled upon dozens upon dozens of phrases and adlibs which have become so ubiquitous in the community that they’ve become a part of the universal language. In the last couple of weeks, one phrase in particular has constantly been at the top of my brain, and appropriately so: “Pour one out.”

For those who are unaware, this phrase refers to the act of pouring a beverage onto the ground, typically over someone’s grave, as a sign of respect, to mourn the loss of something or someone which is no longer living. By the very nature of what this phrase represents, the connotations of this action are negative. The only circumstance of pourin’ one out is when a loved one has left the Earth, and for a long while I accepted that meaning at face value.

But after mulling over this phrase over and over and over again, I have come to disagree with the popular conception that this phrase is inherently negative. The death of a loved one is never a time of celebration, of course. When an individual who was near and dear to the hearts of a great many suddenly vanishes from the known universe never to be seen again, sadness is an expected response.

I’ve come to see this act in a different light. From my perspective, the liquid of choice serves as all of the memories the deceased exchanged with the living; the smiles, the laughs, the triumphs, everything. By pourin’ one out, those who are still living are sending a message to the deceased that they have not and will not forget them. As the liquid touches the deceased, the living and the dead will forever share a bond which comes in the shape of the aforementioned beverage of choice. Gone, but not forgotten.

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, at 10 a.m. in Memorial Stadium, the Class of 2017 will graduate before UC Berkeley ushers in a fresh batch of freshmen come August. As a freshman who just completed my first full year at UC Berkeley and The Daily Californian, I recognize that my journey at both of these institutions is only beginning. But as I end what is merely the first chapter of the story I’m constantly writing here in Berkeley, hundreds of students are just about ready to close the book for good.

Plenty of those seniors who graduate Saturday will have roots here at the Daily Cal, including Hooman Yazdanian, Chris Tril and Ritchie Lee.

I had the opportunity to skip third grade and jump straight into fourth way back in elementary school, but my mother decided to keep me with my current class. I’m glad she made that decision because it has influenced my life in too many ways to count. But after my time writing for this newspaper, a tiny part wishes my mom pulled the trigger on that decision so that if I did gain acceptance to this school, I could kick it with these guys for just one more year.

I didn’t know anyone when I began writing for the Daily Cal and the fact that I’m horrible with names didn’t exactly help the transition. There was never a feeling of loneliness, but I didn’t want to bump heads with anyone. I was trying to learn the ropes of the office, and these three were instrumental in helping me transition to this new world.

My household growing up was dominated by women, all adults at that; it was my father and I matched up against my three older sisters and my mother. I love my mom and my older sisters to death, but I always thought it would have been cool to have a brother. I’ll never have an older brother, but Hooman, Chris and Ritchie provided me with the closest thing to it.

They made the Daily Cal into a welcoming environment for me, a place I couldn’t wait to visit at any opportunity. They made the newspaper feel like home, and with that, I will be more than happy to pour one out as they enter the next stage of their lives.

To Hooman, I pour out a Gatorade. After just one Ink Bowl practice in the fall, you named me quarterback and I took it upon myself to make sure we ran Stanford into the ground. Winning became an obsession and that obsession came at the cost of my arm’s health for the game. While you may blame yourself, my injuries were a result of me getting up as many throws as possible in one day and refusing to ice, and I have no one to blame but myself in all honesty. I didn’t play in the game nor was I in attendance, but following the win, I remember you texting me that the team collectively chanted, “For Justice!” I couldn’t help but crack a smile.

To Chris, I pour out an Arizona Iced Tea, Green Tea flavor specifically. I was tempted to say Soylent and flame you, but I’m going to exercise some restraint. What can I possibly say about a Berkeley legend with literally the trillest last name in the game? I remember like it was yesterday when you did everything but flame me when I told you I had written 67 inches for a 16-inch column. We’ll forever disagree on the Bay Area’s weather, but I still firmly believe that the Bay is permanently cold and nothing you say will change my mind. I honestly don’t know why you left me in charge of your two lizards when I barely can publish a paper without asking Hooman questions every five minutes. I fully expect you to wear your Timbs on Graduation Day and anything less will be a disappointment.

To Ritchie, I pour out a Sprite and you know exactly why. Neither of us had the opportunity to play in the Ink Bowl this past semester because of our arms, but we had two completely different reasons. While I ran my arm into the ground in an attempt to throw nothing but darts on gameday, you were getting your arm tatted up a la Monta Ellis. I believe that will go down in the scoresheet as a “DNP – Tattoo,” probably the first in the history of the Ink Bowl. Every time I walked into the office during the spring semester, I always looked forward to choppin’ it up while I waited for my turn to edit my articles. I’m surprised you didn’t institute a mandatory rule the Future and Migos must be played at all hours of the day. From the Instagram pictures which require a panel of 10 people minimum before posting to getting a video on WorldStar, never change.

Salute.

Justice delos Santos is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]