From the table of a Washington State Cougar: We Won!
Time to take in the spoils of our winnings!
Cal Fam, I have a very important announcement to make.
That’s right: The California Golden Bears are the overall champions of the 2023 Gov. John R. Rogers High School Food Drive!!!
When I say that I couldn’t have done it without you, I literally mean that I couldn’t have done it without you. After my post here on April 6, you all donated more than $800, which I went out and spent on the highest-need items for our local food pantries.
First, we cleaned Grocery Outlet out of their Hamburger Helper:
Then, we made a trip to Costco. Folks, you would not believe the funny looks and comments I got – or maybe you would? – wheeling out a flat with 702 boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese on it. One couple wondered if I was setting up a doomsday shelter, but I think my favorite comment was from the four-year-old who pointed with wide eyes and said, “Mom! Look at all that mac and cheese!” as if I was pushing the greatest haul in the history of food out of Costco.
When combined with the $545 previously donated – and the donations brought in by my students – we ended up accumulating more than 6,000 points. It’s a number for which you have no context, so let me say this: Those of you who wanted to leave no doubt about the result will be happy to know that the next closest class was just shy of 4,000 points. Mission accomplished!
Most importantly, of course, is that our school’s on-site food pantry and our local Salvation Army are now much better stocked to help those who are experiencing food insecurity. One of the reasons our school decided to hold a food drive now is because there is a dip in community donations following the surge of the holiday season. Thanks to your generosity, we’ve been able to go a long way toward filling that void.
I had to use the panorama mode on my phone to capture all the dang food we collected:
Now, it’s time for me to make good on my commitment. I promised to wear my best Cal getup and teach a lesson to my class about the Big Game. But I need your help for this portion, too. No money involved! Just your input. 🙂
First … which shirt should I get? Click on this link to vote!
Second … since my general knowledge of the Big Game pretty much only includes THE BAND IS OUT ON THE FIELD, what are the other things about the Big Game that I absolutely must include in my lesson? Tell me in the comments!
And by the way, I’ve already got the space cleared for the Cal flag:
Thanks again, y’all. This has been so much fun. Let’s keep it rolling!
Greetings, Cal Fam!
How would you like to win a trophy for Cal?
What if I told you that you could win a trophy for Cal and do some major good in the world?
I don’t use the term “fam” loosely, by the way – I really do feel like we’re sort of family, even though I’m a WSU Cougar through and through. If you don’t recognize me by name, you might have vague recollections of my annual appearances during WSU football week, either as the guy who does Q&As here or as the guy who calls in to the Cal Grid Club of Sacramento on Wednesday night.
My history with the folks who run this website goes way, waaaaay back. A decade-plus of working alongside Avinash, Rob, Nick, Twist, etc., at SB Nation taught me that our fans are kindred spirits in a lot of ways. I’m cordial with a lot of fanbases, but the online friendships I’ve made with so many Cal fans are different.
Mutual suffering tends to forge those kinds of bonds, I think. We just sort of get each other – laughing together because we’d rather not cry.
Like everyone else around here, writing a bunch of dumb and ultimately meaningless stuff about sports is just a distraction from the real work I do. In my case, that’s helping teenagers master the English language at a high school in Washington. About a month ago, our school announced a March Madness-style food drive in which each teacher picked a college or university to represent with their 2nd period class before going head-to-head against other classes in a 64-team bracket.
My first choice, of course, was WSU. But I got Wally Pipped by another Coug in the building, so I had to move on to my second choice …
Primarily, I thought of all my fond friendships – I would be proud to represent them (and the finest public institution in the land!). But I also have had an odd affinity for Cal for many years.
When I visited Berkeley for a football game shortly after graduating from WSU, I remember thinking that if I had taken a trip there in high school, I might very well have ended up there instead of Pullman. I absolutely loved it. And I already mentioned how the interactions I’ve had with Cal fans over the years have been overwhelmingly positive. If you think that all sounds pretty normal, try this one on: I used to play as Cal in NCAA Football on my PlayStation, rolling with the gold uniforms (I loved those) as Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen rushed for about 500 yards a game. I used to hum along with the fight song. I didn’t know the words, but there was definitely some bouncing in my seat!
Then, a second thought hit me: Maybe my online friends would be interested in helping to propel Cal to a trophy??
So I threw it out there on Twitter.
Folks … the response has blown me away: More than $500 in donations, most with GO BEARS! attached. (I won’t name names because they might get embarrassed, but let’s just say some of the folks I mentioned above definitely have donated.) I then went and spent that money at Costco and Grocery Outlet, combining the purchases with my students’ donations to get us three wins and propel us to the Elite Eight.
But, more than that, all this has already been donated by my class to our local food pantries:
Here’s what the school has collected overall:
Now, for the bad news: Our run in the bracket ended in the Elite Eight – a buzzsaw in the form of our Japanese teacher kept us out of the Final Four. (If you happen to see Mr. Clise, feel free to boo him mercilessly.)
However! There is good news!
It’s not over!
There still is an opportunity for Cal to end up on top!
Even though we can’t win the bracket, we are within striking distance of the overall title, hanging out in third place. By my estimation, we need at least $500 more to bridge the gap. There’s also a short turnaround here: The competition wraps up on Friday before we head to spring break.
If YOU would like to help us address food security in the Pierce County area while also helping my 2nd period class try to push through to the overall championship – thereby WINNING A TROPHY FOR CAL – you can send me donations via Venmo (@Jeffrey-Nusser). Or PayPal (email@example.com), or Cash App ($Nusscoug), or Apple Cash (send me an email and I’ll send you my number) or good ol’ fashioned check in the mail (again, send me an email and I’ll send my address) … but Venmo is definitely easiest.
As an incentive, here’s what I’m offering to you: If we can top $500 in donations, I will dress up in Cal gear and teach a lesson on the history of the Big Game to my 2nd period class in honor of Larry Berroya aka ReefCGB, a fellow educator. I will post my lesson plans, share my Powerpoint, and take some pictures for posterity. Sound good?
Thanks for the opportunity, and GO BEARS!