It’s been 17 years since I’ve had anything published here.
I have three daughters now, I still live in the Bay Area and I’m married to a former Cal swimmer who has a Big C tattoo on her bicep — just in case anyone ever forgets she’s a fourth-generation Bear.
So, figuring I might be a little rusty, I asked three dozen Cal friends what I should write for this Daily Cal alumnus column. All of them, not surprisingly, said I should eviscerate Stanfurd — just cover everything from their garbage band to their cowardly insurrectionist alumnus Josh Hawley.
And as tempting as that sounds, I’m not going to do that. And Preston Becker is the reason why. He graduated from Cal in 1999. I’ve never met the guy, I actually only know his name because someone forwarded me an email he sent to the Daily Cal in 2005 asking for a copy of a column I wrote titled “I Believe in the Blue and Gold.”
“I would like to cut out the article, frame it, and hang it on my wall — it was awesome,” he emailed.
Seventeen years later, I still believe in the blue and gold. Figured Big Game Week was as good a time as any to update you all on why.
I believe in Cal sports like I believe in Oski drinking a Kip’s fishbowl out of his eyeball.
I believe in Collin Morikawa hoisting Majors trophies with a Cal Golf notebook in his back pocket.
I believe in Marshawn f-bombs on ESPN, in Alex Morgan World Cup benders and in the Cal bloggers beating Northwestern.
I believe in all the all the guys who are still somehow in the NFL crushing it (Cam Jordan, Keenan Allen, Bryan Anger, Tyson Alualu, Marvin Jones Jr.) and in all the new-ish guys who are going to be doing it for years to come (Jaylinn Hawkins, Jared Goff, Cam Bynum, Cameron Goode). For the record, I no longer believe in the conspiracy theorist Butte Community College guy.
I believe if there’s a good vanity URL available (fuckstanfurd.com) you should buy it, just in case.
I will always and forever believe in Dog, who I still miss hand-pounding on the way into practice.
I believe in Cal winning more Olympic medals at the Tokyo Olympics than all but 16 countries, and in Kirk Everist — who could still probably score a goal in the Big Splash.
I believe in every Cal basketball coach whose name doesn’t rhyme with Fark Mox.
I believe in Top Dog, which wouldn’t accept any government assistance during the pandemic, and in the Old Blues who mail ordered hundreds of hot dogs to keep them afloat.
All these years later, I still believe in Jeff Tedford. But also Gerald Alexander and Ron Gould.
I believe in the fans. I believe in Malort shots at the WriteForCal tailgate in the eucalyptus grove and in people showing up at Notre Dame, Oxford and Austin. I believe in back-to-back stormed fields in Palo Alto, in snow angels in their end zone with my 9-year-old daughter and in ripping a handful of Big Game grass off the turf and framing it on my mantle.
I believe if you’re ever at the Lair of the Golden Bear during 4th Week, you should drop by Kip’s East at Camp Gold for a drink on me.
I believe in Droski, in AGuyNamedNam and especially in RexVolcano, our glorious dark lord of Cal Twitter.
I believe there are plenty of other places they could build student housing other than People’s Park and they should leave it the f—k alone.
Lastly, I believe we got the axe — and I damn sure believe you’re going to have to pry it out of our blue and gold f—king fingers to get it back, you despicable grade-inflators.
Grant Marek is the editor in chief of SFGATE, where the Cal Band gloriously shows up every year for Big Game Week. He can be reached at [email protected] if you’re a Cal fan and [email protected] if you’re not.