Hey CGB'ers, I'm writing this fanpost in the Natasha Vital style -- the blog. One from the road. Due to dumb luck and the power of unemployment, I am able to tag along with the spirit groups as they cheer the Bears in the NCAA (women). We are in LA! Which is just a return trip for a lot of the spirit group as they were JUST HERE for the Pac-10 tourneys (men and women). This trip is scheduled to last until Sunday if we lose the first game, and Tuesday if we win the first game. After that, everyone will come home, and another group will leave next weekend. The team already went down so the spirit groups are following down today. Just for context, all these kids just went through midterms and now are starting spring break! They're pretty excited but noticeably warn out. Even though they are on spring break, I know most of them have brought text books or readers.
The group is still pretty small. 22 Band, 8 dance team, 1 mic-man, 1 oski-comm, 1 rally/flag person, 1 spirit advisor and me (temporary travel supervisor for band). The spirit advisor and I are pretty much the trip mommies when has so far involved dealing with the airline/bus reps. I don't expect to do much more, and that's the way I likes it. We get $35 per diem, and were only given $18 for dinner for our evening flight. Apparently that's the going rate for dinner.
Will this flirting work?!
Some stereotypes I've noticed. Dance team definitely brought more luggage, and were more giggly on the bus. A few pointed out that this was *not* charter so to be careful with your liquids and that this *wasn't* a football trip so you won't be provided with food everywhere you go. WOW. Clearly, flying Southwest was not in their experience. Band definitely more sarcastic and rowdy (although I definitely think more calm than when *I* was in band). Band handed me an itinerary (or 'poop-sheet') which also included a map of our hotel area, some sudoku, and a cross-word puzzle where the answers are tidbits of various band gossip. Mic-man is cute (or so said some dance team members) and oski-comm ...well... the oski head looks better. Sorry. The porn stash is not working. He did tell a fun story about an interview with Oski for TV which had to be done with a white-board because Oski doesn't talk. (Incidentally, I hope no one on this trip will read this before I can depart the trip. AWKWARD!)
Then we got to Oakland airport, to board our Southwest flight to Los Angeles Int'l Airport. Checking in was pretty easy considering we had 37 people, only 2 blips that were easily sorted out. One person brought so many textbooks that her luggage weighed 64 pounds. After removing the textbooks to her carry-on, she was down to 45lbs. For comparison, the snare and snare-player's baggage weighed 48.5 together. I hope she studies those textbooks, otherwise she's risking a hunchback for nothing.
While waiting in the security line, I was able to talk to the Cal Spirit Advisor some more. We talked about the recent pac-10 tourney in LA. Interestingly enough, because the women's and men's were in the same city, the Pac-10 officials decided to combine the spirit allowances, so that the schools could send a total of 45 people (of combined spirit groups), and then when one team lost send 15 of them home. This was a big hassle and did nothing to preserve the quality of the remaining group, and pretty much pissed off all the spirit groups at the various universities. They've logged their complaints and hope it will get fixed for next year. I also spoke to an airport security guard who was checking our boarding passes. I asked if he was a Bear fan, and started telling me about how friendly Ashley Walker is, "even when I had to take away her shampoo". Score one for Ashley Walker. (Side note, I forgot to take my liquids out of my bag, it wasn't noticed. As I assumed, I am not as imposing as Ashley Walker).
My story essentially ends here with a 20 minute delay on a 50-minute flight, over-priced airport chicken strips (but still +$8 per diem so far!), and the fun of the Spirit magazines. My favorite item in the Sky Mall magazine was the doggie-doorbell -- paw shaped, of course -- so fido can tell you when he needs to go in and out! Watch out Rags, this might be comin' home. Puppy Ragbears will surely have no idea what to do with it.
In closing, I'll leave you with this image. Cal Band singing 'Fight for California' as the plane begins to taxi out, alternately amusing and annoying the other half of the plane. The Bandsman next to me grumbling 'stupid newmen... No it does NOT matter that I am one.' The pilot saying 'Go Bears'.
Go Bears, indeed Mr. Pilot. Go Bears Indeed.