In the shadow of Kentucky and the SEC
The sportswriter who knew nothing about sports until this community
Editor's Note: This article is the second in a series of introductions to the writers of Write For California. Read the first article from Christopher Zheng.
My mother always said there is no greater motivation in life than the male ego.
She was right: Perhaps unsurprisingly, you can trace nearly every major decision in my life to my older brother. When Ray zigged, I undoubtedly would choose to zag.
So, when it came to college, my brother, always a free-spirit, chose to go as far away from San Francisco as he could. Always a sports fan, he considered only blue-blood college basketball and football programs: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Texas and the rest of the Big 12 and SEC. He wanted to be a part of a major national championship, and heading to the American South was his sure-fire way to achieve that dream and live someplace new. Before we knew it, he was packing his bags for four years in Lexington, Ky.
Six years later, when it was my turn to head off to college, I headed far away—across the Bay Bridge to Berkeley, Calif. Envious of my brother's SEC experience, I dug right into the start of the college football season. I went all-out, despite never having had the patience to sit through ("Freshmen, stand up!") an entire football game previously.
The afternoon before my first Cal football game in 2008 in my Unit 1 Deutsch Hall dorm room.
And what a game it was. My first Cal football game was the 38-31 home win against the Michigan State Spartans in 2008. Coach Jeff Tedford treated my nascent, freshman eyes to a blocked punt returned for a touchdown as the first Golden Bears score and two 100-yard-plus performances from Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen. Strawberry Canyon roared.
I couldn't believe what I saw, and what I had just experienced. I was hooked. I knew then I'd be a Cal fan for life.
Never much of a sports fan growing up, I knew I had to learn more. Too stubborn to ask my brother for a primer, I turned to Ted Miller's ESPN Pac-10 blog and by a stroke of luck, California Golden Blogs, too, instead.
Posing at the ESPN College GameDay exhibit at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta in 2015.
I thank my lucky stars I found California Golden Blogs and this community. Now, after many years as a speechwriter and as a current public-relations flack for the financial services industry, I'm grateful to bring my writing to the service of Cal and this community that first inducted me into sports fandom. After all, I sure as hell am not going to give that credit to my older brother Ray.
For God, for country, and for Cal; go Bears!