WE BEAT THE TREE. Let’s go. This season has been a roller coaster so far: There was that sweet, sweet glimpse of hope after back-to-back victories against Davis and UNLV, then some bitterness as we lost to Notre Dame, and then again some sweetness as we took Arizona; but that bittersweetness soon devolved into a dark bitterness as Cal suffered five back-to-back losses.
Every Bear fan had fallen back into the familiarity of a bad Bear program. However, there was still a glimpse of mild hope on the horizon: The chance to keep the Axe in Bear territory and maintain our superiority over the Cardinal.
But as the Big Game commenced and continued, even this hope seemed to fade — our hopes too hopeful for a team that had shown us both at home and on the road (especially on the road) that it couldn’t live up to our expectations.
Every quarter seemingly worse than the one that preceded it, and every fan more disheartened with every seemingly unpromising second. Is this what Cal fans pregamed for? If so, hand me another drink.
As the little splotch of red in the stands celebrated, the waves of blue and gold fell deeper into silence. Yes, there were the occasional splashes of cheers for mini Bear victories, but they were far from tantamount to those being experienced in the tiny red corner.
That glimpse of hope, that glimmer of Bear pride, was fading — and it was fading fast. Some Cal fans even left the stadium entirely, fearful of what was to come next.
Staving off a Cardinal win was what we had all hoped for, but we instead became more comfortable with the idea of committing a cardinal sin — the cardinal sin of losing to an undeserving Stanfurd.
Tempting as it was to entirely give up on the team, I held onto what ambition I had left. Secretly, I think all Cal fans held on, praying for a miracle.
And at last, that miracle came true. Spawning from out of nowhere, the Bears became the beasts we had all prayed for, dominating the fourth quarter.
Not only did the team come alive, fans across the entire stadium erupted. Those once occasional splashes of cheering transformed into thunderous cries of pride and anticipation — staving off that Cardinal win was no longer a pipe dream.
Firm in our paws, it was time to remind Tree fans that they were far from home: They were in Bear territory now.
Undying was Cal’s success for the remainder of the fourth quarter. The score soon too far apart for any possibility of a Cardinal win, and by proxy, too far apart for any Cardinal hopes of retaking their beloved Axe.
Roar said the Bears, go wriggle back to Palo Alto! Better luck next year (I say with an evil grin and an even more evil laugh).
Don’t mess with a Bear, not on Big Game, and especially if you’re not in home territory. I have to admit, our 2-6 in conference play is a little sad, but it feels good that our second win was over Stanfurd.
Let’s wrap it up — the acrostic is running out, after all. It’s been a roller coaster of a season — indeed, one with more downward slopes than upward turns — but I can’t think of a better way to (almost) wrap up the season.
Entering this week, expectations may have to once again lower as we face a strong UCLA program, and one that nearly beat USC at that.
There is the reality, though, that we also almost beat USC. With one less interception (and therefore one less touchdown), we would’ve overtaken the Trojans.
So, the point is, to win wouldn’t be entirely out of reach. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The underdog story is never one to underestimate.
Go. Bears. That’s all I have to say.
Our 2-6 in conference play may be inadequate, some may even say abysmal. But, we beat the Tree — that private-funding, grade-inflating, all-around-worse-than-Berkeley Tree — and that’s all that really matters to me.