A history of Cal Pranks to celebrate April Fools’ Day

It’s April Fools’ Day: a day to celebrate our inner pranksters. It’s a chance for those of us who take life too seriously to let go. After all, it’s the one day of the year that pranks are universally accepted, and we should all take advantage of it, especially in a place like Berkeley!

The Clog thinks Cal is a place where every day could be considered a prank day. Being the proactive students we are, we don’t always sit around and wait until the first of April. We prank everyone, everywhere, at any time that we can. Even if it’s as simple as a flash mob on Sproul, we like pranks … and we do them big. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember some of the master pranksters that once walked our campus.

Back in 2006, USC guard Gabe Pruitt stepped up to the line for his first free throw of the game. Suddenly, the Cal student section began shouting: “VIC-TOR-IA, VIC-TOR-IA,” proceeded by a telephone number. Pruitt looked back, puzzled and horrified, just before clanking his free throws. Why the confusion? It turns out that some daring Cal students had been IMing Pruitt all week as the fictional “Victoria,” a UCLA hottie. Pruitt had given this “Victoria” his number and was eagerly anticipating a date with her in Westwood after the game. Imagine the surprise — and embarrassment — that came when the entire Cal student section began chanting his number that was meant to score him a hot date. Sorry “fool,” but your date plans are canceled.

Speaking of fools, Cal has a history of making Stanford a little foolish, especially in sports. On April 15, 1899, the Stanford kids paraded through San Francisco, chopping up blue and yellow ribbon with their beloved Stanford Axe during a Cal-Stanford baseball game. But the joke was on them, they lost the game … and the series. Their loss still didn’t stop us from messing with them, however. A group of Cal students grabbed the axe and ran off with it after the game. The axe was given to a Berkeley guy posing as a girl with the axe’s blade hidden on him. They smuggled the axe all the way back to Berkeley, where they stored it in a fraternity and later in a bank vault. This fueled the fire between the two schools, and the Stanford Axe is still given as a trophy at the “Big Game” each year.

If the Stanford Axe wasn’t impressive enough for you, this prank should blow your socks off. It is arguably the biggest prank ever pulled by the Golden Bears. What happened? We took the Stanford Tree mascot hostage for two weeks — that’s right, two whole weeks.

It all began with these five frat boys who decided to go to a Stanford game, just to see if they could prank them in any way (because we love to mess with Stanfurd, obviously). They came to find that the “Cardinal Chaos” was taking place that night — the first practice for men’s and women’s basketball. So they posed as Stanford students and joined in the party!

Near the end of the night, they saw the Stanford Tree being taken away by its handler. Of course, they followed behind to see where they stored the hated tree. It was stored in the Band Shak, where another party was taking place. The Five (later called the Phoenix Five) waited around until around 4 a.m. and, when they were sure no one was looking, stuffed the tree into their car. They got the tree back to Cal and hid it in their frat. Approximately two weeks later, after much hullabaloo from the school administrators and the campus police departments, they returned the tree.

These five brave boys were never caught, but they go down in history as some of the greatest pranksters ever. To make the story even better, the tree was quickly destroyed by Stanford students under the claim that it had been contaminated. We love that we were able to cause so much havoc with one little prank.

What are your favorite pranks, Golden Bears? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Source: mrpolyonymous under Creative Commons 

Contact Kristen at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @kmcfadden7.