Saturday was an important game for the Cal Bears. I hope you were able to watch the game, although I did hear that ESPN decided to play NCAA musical chairs during the game. Sorry about that. I'd like to write today about the experience of the game, from the point of view of the spirit groups, not necessarily about the players skills or performance. That you can get from much more talented sports writers.
If you've ever been to LA, and you're reading this blog, you've probably been to the Staples Center. It's where the Pac-10 men's tournaments have been held since they began. I'm going to take a slight diversion to tell you about the new additions they've made to the area outside of the Staples Center. This is how I spent my morning before the game.
Staples Center - Friend or Foe?
They've taken the parking lot and created a courtyard surrounded by restaurants and EXTREMELY large video screens.
My favorite is the ESPN zone:
Corporate Sponsorship at its most blatant.
Most of the restaurants aren't open, but there is a brand new Grammy museum. Some of the other trip leaders visited there on Sunday. They had a good time, apparently there are a lot of Michael Jackson costumes to admire -- if you like that sort of thing. I just wasn't willing to pay $15 for a ticket.
Anyways, back to the game. The band and spirit groups met in the lobby of the hotel 2 hours before game time, in all our game-ready glory. Well, oski was just a guy with a duffle bag but he had given his sweater to the mic-man. It's pretty comically oversized (some of the band might have this pic but I don't).
Milling about, Milling about.
So, even when the band is on vacation, we're still on the trip for the team. We were there early to cheer the team as they headed out, sort of a 'March to Victory' but rather 'March to the Buses'. I'm sure they appreciate it on some level, but it is a little awkward. I Imagine it's akin to having a marching band greet you as you get ready to go to work. They're not really used to it.
Don't they look enthusiastic?!
Anyways, it's on to the buses and off to the Galen Center. Incidentally, I heard the Dance Team discuss their positions for the sidelines. Apparently, they know all the parts of the routines for whichever positions they need, I always wondered about this - whether they knew them all or always had to make sure there was a 'right, left, center' girl there. We arrive about an hour before the game and watch the teams warm up. It takes us about 10 seconds to set up because we don't have a drum kit or anything stationary like that. The Galen Center is where U$C plays, it makes the experience much more disturbing.
evil, evil, evil, EVIL!
But we were here to do a job. Cheer on the bears as they took on the dreaded Fresno State Bulldogs. The Fresno State band is pretty generic. They played Mars, we played 'Don't Stop til you Get Enough', they followed up with 'Lets Go Band'. It was just like Drumline only WE were the cool ones! How do you like that?!
The crowd was pretty split evenly between Bears and Bulldogs. The Bulldog fans were more excited, but probably because they were the underdogs -- ha!
'V' is for vasectomy?
First Half Awesome Action shot
Their Cheer, done to some popcorn dance mix. It really did remind me of Bring it On.
Our Dance Team performing a dance with Oski! Much beloved by the crowd, because Oski gets 3 of the girls! Yep, He's a playa'
Coach Boyle -- Does it all, and in great shoes too.
Spoiler Alert - The Bears won! And pretty well too. What I really appreciated about the game was that even though we had the lead the whole time, the girls never let up. The intensity of the game was there the start to finish. The staff I spoke to knew the girls had it in them, they just had to get over their own nerves. They definitely did that in spades. From our point of view, we were yelling and cheering as much as if they were neck and neck. Well, occasionally the band was barking to distract/mock the other guys. Personally I thought the Fresno Cheer team sounded like chihuahuas. Actually, even though we were ahead in the game, we didn't even discuss the winning travel scenarios until the game was almost over and we were up by 20. That's when we starting making plans to hand out additional per diem and the possible flights home. After the game, the band and spirit packed up, and left to go back to our hotel. Apparently the girls stayed to watch the other game. They'll be taking on U. Virginia on Monday. They didn't get back until late and went out again to practice on Sunday. The spirit groups had the day off and pretty much scattered. That's it until next time...
Oski Victorious over the Unbelievers!