Write for California's Newest Contributor Dawns Red and White, but It's Not That Evil Red and White
The New Kid is Officially on the Block
October 30th, 2010. That fateful day in Corvallis. Nothing ever seems to go right there, even in recent memory. But the game that took place that day between the California Golden Bears and Oregon State Beavers only set in stone what would be the biggest 12 year roller coaster ride to date for me. Having seen Colin Kaepernick tear us a new one in Reno a month earlier, my nine year old self is thinking: surely this can’t get any worse right? Then Kevin Riley went down.
That day in Corvallis cemented what would start to be an unwavering fandom for all things Cal athletics. I’m not sure what the appeal was back then, maybe I enjoyed a little too much suffering, after all I was an Oakland Raiders fan during the Jamarcus Russell era. What I would recently come to know as TypiCal came to be par for the course. I tend to gravitate towards pain with my sports teams: Cal, Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Nuggets, and the Toronto Blue Jays. As you can probably tell, there hasn’t been a lot of success in my lifetime from any of these franchises.
But of course that’s only part of the story. Anytime football was over, basketball was right around the corner and after that, baseball along with track and field were always there. I still remember going to the Big Meet when I was little in Palo Alto along with a quad meet in the older Edwards Stadium. Times were fun and as a kid I couldn’t keep the smile off my face and couldn’t wait for more, even if Cal couldn’t defend Hellen Keller in 2013.
The amount of times I’ve been teased over the years is second to none, but like earlier, it leaves me coming back for more. From Cal getting into March Madness only to run into Duke in 2010 or going 5-0 in football in 2015 before that fateful trip to Salt Lake City, Cal has always opened the door but never kicked it down in my lifetime. From inexplicable injuries to Tyrone Wallace and Jabari Bard in Spokane to Jared Goff throwing five interceptions in a game we should’ve had on the big stage, TypiCal is what I’ve come to know.
Despite all that, this wasn’t even the serious part of my Cal fandom. Once I got into high school and started to learn the inner workings of college football and basketball, I started expecting everything and them some from Cal squads. To say I didn’t get that is an understatement, but it was clear that taking akin to these Golden Bears was now just more than a casual weekend watch now. I wanted to know about coaching, recruits, systems and all that. I went back and forth with my father on just about everything Cal from 2017 onwards, even getting to the point where I was confident in firing Sonny Dykes myself along with predicting both PAC 12 tournament wins over Stanfurd with confidence in recent years.
All this had occurred and I had yet to step into Memorial Stadium. That changed during the 2018 season which led up to the infamous Cheez Int Bowl. Walking on campus with my parents for that UCLA game on that fateful afternoon was something else. The bludgeoning that ensued was otherworldly. My parents wanted to leave in the third quarter, but I stayed silent, sitting in my third row seat as the clock wound down on the most embarrassing sports event I had ever attended. I told my parents that we have to stop Joshua Kelley and Caleb Wilson and what did we do? None of that. TypiCal.
However, now I understand there’s a bigger picture with Cal, which is why I’m here with you all. Growing up a Bay Area boy and coming into my college admissions process, I wanted Cal and I wanted it bad. My friends in high school saw me wear Cal clothing like 75% of the time, even when it was against dress code (no college gear until senior year). Then I opened that admission letter in March of 2020. “We are not able to offer you admission at this time.” I hear about others who got in, some that left me apoplectic as to how I got the short end of the stick…again. But that wouldn’t be the end of me.
In the end, I stuck to the grounds that I knew. I am currently attending Santa Clara University seeking a degree in Communication with a focus in Journalism. You can even find some of my work for Santa Clara’s newspaper here. Despite not aligning on the path I initially wanted, this avenue of life allowed me to play both sides, so I wouldn’t have to break any allegiances had I gone to say UCLA or USC. Despite looking from the outside, I still feel at home with each and every Cal fan that are on this trip called fandom.
I may dawn a bit of red and white here and there, but I trust to you that’s it’s not that evil type that’s not too far up the Peninsula. Bronco red may not have been the color I envisioned to wear for this part of my life, but I’m sure many of us have carved our own separate paths in life that led us here. I’m certainly no different, and while I was down then, life is good now. I’ve met amazing people and players that will continue to shape my experience, even if some of it ends in TypiCal fashion.
I hope to extend an arm out to all of you, to re-energize that Cal fandom once more and to one day hopefully put a series of smiles on everyone’s faces just like on November 20th, 2021 in Palo Alto, California.
Go Bears! :)