Yes, a Cal great will challenge himself at the highest level starting today


A brand new season starts today.

If you clicked on this article expecting to read about Cal great Andrew Vaughn making his MLB debut with the Chicago White Sox on Major League Baseball’s 2021 season Opening Day, April Fools! The joke is partly played on all of us by White Sox manager Tony La Russa who apparently will hold Vaughn off the starting lineup until Game 2 of the long, regular-length, season when the right-handed Vaughn will face Los Angeles Angels’ lefty starter, Andrew Heaney.

No, this post is about the return of another Cal great. Former reality star Yes Duffy (yes, “Yes” is his name) has come back to MTV’s The Challenge franchise, which Bill Simmons used to write about regularly in his ESPN blogs before he turned from a pioneering underdog sports blogger to a problematic nepotism-excusing media mogul. Yes will appear in the brand-new The Challenge: All Stars which premiers today, April 1st, on the new streaming platform, Paramount +1.

If you were at Cal in the early 2000s like me, friends might have been excited when you all walked past Sproul Plaza that one of the dudes breakdancing there is some guy from an MTV reality show. Yes Duffy was such a campus celebrity due to his prior appearance as a cast member on Road Rule: Semester at Sea that aired in 19992.

Yes went on to appear on several early seasons of The Challenge on MTV, back when they were known as Road Rules: All Stars and then Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Yes’s first challenge was the Real World/Road Rules Challenge 2000 which also included his Road Rule: Semester at Sea castmate and fellow Cal student Veronica Portillo. Veronica has had much more recent appearances on The Challenge franchise.

After winning in his first Challenge appearance as a part of the Road Rules Team, Yes also appeared in Battle of the Seasons (2002) and Battle of the Sexes. Yes started to say No to MTV after his 2002 appearance to focus on his career as an architect. He graduated from Cal in 2003 and picked up two master's degrees in Berkeley in architecture and city planning. In fact, Yes Duffy is still a Golden Bear as he is a Lecturer in Architecture at Cal’s College of Environmental Design.

Yet after a 17-year absence, Yes is back on the brand new The Challenge spin-off, starting 22 OG, AKA “middle-aged”, challengers duking it out in Argentina, doing the much crazier amped-up modern The Challenge type of reality competitions. A single winner will take home $500,000.

Yes, Yes Duffy looks kind of the same as the last time he was on TV.

No, I do not expect Yes to be the winner of this show.

Yes, I will watch any kind of competition from trolley driving and/or electrical wiring contest on ESPN2 to some random reality competition shows.

No, I have not been a loyal MTV The Challenge viewer for quite some time.

Yes, I thought this April’s Fool post and its bait-and-switch might be clever-ish.

No, I do not expect you to read down to this point. And a bonus no, there is no dislike button on a post on Substack.

Yes, I will stop now.

Stay tuned to Write for California on all things tangentially related to Cal. If I can convince Nick on this, we might be doing a team breakdown of Cal alum Aaron Rodgers’ two-week hosting appearance on Jeopardy! next. Does his cadence reading the “answers” draw the contestants to false starts like they are opposing defenders? Aaron Rodgers’ 10 episodes will air from April 5 to 16.

We will also write about Andrew Vaughn and his journey toward being the 2021 AL Rookie of the Year at some point.


Now that I have written this article, I think I can get Paramount+ to watch the Star Trek shows and have that expense written off as a work expense. Maybe I need to consult one of the W4C lawyers.


That was a show that I did not watch because my family did not have cable, much to my dismay.