American College Football

me hugging Oski, the California Bears Mascot

me hugging Oski, the California Bears Mascot

I attended my first college football game here at Cal (short for the University of California at Berkeley) where the California Golden Bears played the Oregon State Beavers in their second-to-lastlast home game. Unfortunately, it did not go so well, with their main quarterback suffering a serious fall (leading to a stretcher carry-out and a concussion)  and the final score being 31-14 for Oregon. Their last home game was a close call, but victory against Arizona came with a 24-16 final score. Next weekend they play their second-to-last last season game, against Stanford, a long standing rivalry of theirs. Even day-to-day on campus, all students express fierce competition with Stanford on every level (other varsity sports, academically, socially), and Stanford recently won a game against USC (the University of Southern California) by 55-21, one of the biggest margins ever.

Since the Cal Golden Bears are ranked 25th and Stanford is ranked 17th (BCS Standings as of Nov 15), there is a lot of pressure on Cal, and fans here are tough; during my first game, I was sitting in the stadium, and after the end of the third quarter, more than 25% of the fans had just left, knowing the game was already lost. Halfway through the last period, you could see on the televised versious of the game that the stadium was more than half empty, and the only section still full and cheering was the Oregon fanbase. It seems harsh for that many fans to turn their backs on you after a rough game, but, those people come to see them win, not lose.

It was still a really cool experience; the Cal stadium is up on the top of the slight hill that Berkeley campus sits on, with a view of San Francisco from the top of it. At night time, it is lit up with so many white lights that you can see it glowing from accross the bay. It is the largest football stadium in California according to its 72,000 seating capacity (which fills almost every sold-out game); being in a crowd that big for the most beloved sport of Americans was definitely an experience I couldnt miss out on, especially since I myself am now a ‘bear’ – an affectionate term for Berkeley Students.

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