What is nice about taking in a game at Witter Field is that you don't have assigned seats. And you can generally sit wherever you want. Now, a game like this, it was super packed and you couldn't exactly sit wherever you wanted. Although, that didn't stop CalBandGreat from trying to sit in my lap. It was, I guess, that sort of day where people tried to impose upon me.
Because, as we tried to move to take in the game from a different angle we ran across Oski.......WHOTRIEDTOSTEALMYSCARF!
That's right, I was sartorially assaulted by Oski. The Bear! Not Oski Von Bearington, Oski Al-Oski, or even Oski Garrett. Although Oski Garrett did give me the stink eye, but that was for a reason wholly unrelated to my scarf.
First, Oski threatened to cut me in my throatal region if I didn't give up the scarf!
GET YOUR OWN DAMN SCARF, OSKI! I tried to say. I mean you already have a headband, what more do you need? WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED, MR. THE BEAR?!?!?! What will satisfy your nearly unquenchable bloodlust for accessories!??!?! I tried to resist, I did.
But what could I do? Oski is a much beloved children's mascot and the embodiment of everything Cal. I had no choice.
Yay, #1 in grand theft scarf. I'm actually in tears here over the fashion larceny. My cheeks burnt in humiliation. Oski hadn't just taken my scarf, he had mauled my soul. He had taken my childhood, my innocence, my 3rd favorite Cal scarf!
Can we really trust these ursine kleptomaniacs anymore? I never really believed Stephan Colbert. I mean Oski is Oksi. Just because he disturbingly drinks through his eye doesn't mean he's bad. But that was before he tried to take my scarf. Now, I know the awful, awful truth about this fashion criminal. Let it never be said that I didn't warn you.
And now, for something completely different: some photos of rugby!
Emotionally scarred and physically devastated from my bear attack, I made my way to the western end zone. I'm also not sure if it is called an end zone. But what is nice there is that you can literally stand just a few feet away from the action.
Further, we anticipated that there was going to be a lot of action near UBC's goal-line. They hadn't scored a lot in the first half, but they had kept the pressure on UBC and the ball tended to stay near UBC's goal-line. We anticipated that it would be similar in the second half. But, for the first 20 minutes or so, UBC pretty much dominated the ball. They scored only 1 try, I believe, but had the ball almost the entire time. Cal would get the ball and then run straight into a tackle. I am not smart enough about rugby tactics to fully understand what, if any, changes UBC made to take better control offensively in those first 20 minutes. But it mostly kept the ball on Cal's side of the field.
And, unfortunately, away from us. D'oh! I requested that Cal try the brand new "forward pass" to get the ball closer to us. But, unfortunately, they never attempted that. Not sure why.
So, for the first 20 minutes, I wasn't getting as many great shots as I might have hoped. Or any.
I never quite understood why some penalties led to kicks. But it seemed to benefit Cal (esp. since UBC was missing a lot of their kicks), so I didn't complain.
I got a video of this kick. But I have no idea how to flip it the correct way. So, just tilt your head to the side and make sure your boss doesn't see you.
You'll notice the score up there 11-8 Cal. IIRC, we got it to 14-8, but then UBC scored a try plus conversion to make it 15-14. UBC was mostly dominating the game, which made it nerve wracking.
But then, Cal managed to get an opening. Again, my knowledge of the tactics is poor, so I can't speak to the reasoning behind this. But all of a sudden, Cal seemed to start passing more. They lateraled it out to the guy on the extreme edge. He made one guy miss and was off to the races!
[ragnarok: It seemed to me that, rather than dominating the Thunderbirds, Cal got lucky and broke free a few times, while their defense managed to keep UBC from doing the same. Still down 15-14, UBC broke loose on the left side and nearly scored a try, getting within a meter or so of the try-line. A score here really would have put the Bears in a hole. However, Cal's defense stiffened, allowing nothing to break through, and the Thunderbirds eventually settled for a penalty kick attempt, which they missed, despite a favorable kicking angle. When Cal broke free later in the half, however, they managed to take the ball all the way in and get both the try and the conversion. The Bears didn't dominate play by any stretch of the imagination, but they were much better at converting opportunities into points, and that was the difference in the match.]
TOUCHDO..........err, uh, TRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
You have to touch the ball to the ground, I believe, to actually score the try. So, the player dived into the end zone. And got a celebratory knee to the head by another player! Just another reason why I could never be a rugby player. Even when you succeed, you still get beaten up!
Not all of the celebrating was as physically violent, though.
That put Cal back up, this time for good. Again, not exactly sure what happened, but Cal re-took control of the game. Again, they made their crisp passes and got an opening. CalBandGreat would later comment to me that he loved successful rugby, because it seemed like The Play was occurring on every play.
[ragnarok: I actually felt that watching a crisp rugby match like this was much like watching two teams run the triple option over and over and over and over again. I found it highly entertaining.]
This one got pretty crazy, though. Our player was running towards the goal and seemed to have it clear, but then got tackled. The ball went flying.
There were a few players running towards it, but a Cal player got to it. Unfortunately, it happened at the edge of the field and I couldn't get any photos of it, because there were people in the way. However, what happened was that the Cal player got it in the end zone. He then started to run towards the middle of the end zone, but saw a UBC player coming right towards him, so he flopped immediately to the ground.
We were confused as to why he would continue to run when all he had to do was fall, but perhaps it has to do with where the conversion is kicked from. Because they made the kick from the extreme edge. Perchance if the try is scored in the middle, the kick is made from the middle?
[ragnarok: Indeed they are. After a try, the scoring team can attempt a conversion kick along an invisible line running parallel to the sidelines and extending downfield from where the ball was downed.]
Either way, great celebrations were had.
The UBC people were less than enthused. This is my new favorite rugby player, #9, the smaller guy from Korea who was in the middle of everything.
As you can see the kick was from the far edge. UBC missed a few kicks from this angle, but Cal did not!
[ragnarok: Here's another video of the same kick, but from my vantage point.]
I believe at this point, Cal was up 28-15. And the action continued:
That was totes def roughing the punter!
You can get a taste of how packed Tightwad Hill got there. It went up far further than that with many, many, many people who were turned away from the game.
Cal got another kick to make it 31-15. It is either this first few photos here or from the next two.
And then, Cal won!
First up, the two teams shook hands. Classy!
Then, the team ran around the entire field, cheering on the fans. The fans returned the favor. True class, the rugby team.
Here's the final score:
So, after the game, we went down to see what was going on at the Memorial Stadium construction site.
That machine can only do good in my mind!
Something was broken or something, I dunno:
BTW, this is all fenced off and you cant really see it from the street. I had to sort of scale the fence and hang off of it to snap some shots. Often, I couldn't see what I was doing, just stuck my hand through the fence and snapped away. Luckily, there's no real difference between my intended photos and blind photos.
The hippies might have lost, but they had one last USC-themed message for us "wacked out sports fans that really harshed our buzz, man":
So, that is what is happening there. Nothing too huge going on, but progress is moving forward. And somebody's car got a steam bath. So, then we went to a local place of alcoholic ingestion.
We enjoyed some alcoholic beverages as Cal men's basketball took on the Oregon State University Hopenchanges.
I don't want to ruin it, but it ended poorly. For staying the course. Also, tradition.
So, there you go. Some rugby. Some construction. Some Henry's. Hopefully, some of all of you will go to a rugby game. Its only 8 bucks. You can get RIGHT by the field (literally!). Cal, most likely, will win. Can't beat that, right?