Another great game and some more fun times in LA. Bears, I think I'm in love with you. And I'm not alone.
Just a little note about the Basketball support group, I was able to spend some time with them, hanging out in the hotel lobby. First of all, they're a great bunch of people. They've been very welcoming and you can tell that they're the type of group that travels together a LOT. The support guys are the coaches, administrators, media and med staff. They sit around and shoot the shit, telling travel stories, which facilities were crap, and watching the latest photos and videos from the game -- apparently Stanford's visitor facilities are god awful. Ours are too nice to get revenge. My favorite story was the one they told about Oski in Pittsburgh. This was NCAA Women's Tourney 2007 and gameday happened to be on St. Patrick's Day. So, Oski gets suited up and heads out of the hotel lobby at 9 am, to wander around the bars for a while; sure his Oski suit will get him more than enough free drinks. Oski returns for the march to victory/busses, and while he's standing clapping alongside the band he suddenly stops, leans over while lifting up his head, pukes in the gutter, then puts his head back and goes back to clapping. Sarah, director of basketball operations, has to ask 'Did that just happen?!'. Oski never made it to the game, he spent most of it dry-heaving in the bathroom -- BUT he did have time to signal one of the med-staff to ask for an IV, which in Oski's sign language pretty much looked like he was asking to shoot-up.
Ah, good times.
The team does practice while traveling, so they never had a day off like the band/spirit did. Their schedule is odd, eating lunch at 4pm, after practice - lots of carbs, at least some chicken/fish, provided by hotel. On game days they like to eat 4 hours before tip-off if they can help it. Btw, in case you are ever on these trips, make friends with the basketball support team. The girls leave half the food left, I had steak and potatoes which did not cut into my per diem. :) Sandy Barbour won the coin toss both days (to see who plays the national anthem) and everyone seemed to think this was a great sign. The other super awesome thing that happened while I was eating lunch with the support staff, was that I heard that the LA Sparks Coach Michael Cooper wanted tickets to the game! They discussed it and decided that since it wasn't for agents or scouts that there wasn't any compliance issue. All the basketball-side tickets had been handed out, so the Spirit traveler and I happily gave our tickets up (apparently I got two tickets to the games? who knew). Later on, the jumbo-tron in the stadium showed Candace Parker in attendance of the game. Sweet, huh?! I'm so glad our girls rocked this game.
So, onto the game. Same deal as last time, we waited outside for march to victory/busses, and aside from the sun it felt like we had traveled back in time. We lined up and played towards the 4 lanes of Figueora street, and while I listening to the band, I was watching the traffic and out of the 50 cars that passed us only 1 or 2 turned to look at us. The rest seemed annoyed and couldn't be bothered to look slightly left.
This was Monday afternoon so we had ridiculous traffic to get to the game. Our driver had to do some very tight squeezes to get through, and he was basically our hero to get there.
Once again, it was deja-vu all over again. The only difference was that on Saturday the security was strict, ID's were checked, bags inspected... This time they forgot the paperwork or something and handed out wrist bands. We wandered in and had to get set up, there was some confusion as we had to fight for our previous spot and NOT sit behind the camera guys. But it was worked out long before the game.
Dance Team had to ask their Cheer what this Mascot was. They were not surprised to be asked. Personally, I think a 9' tall Thomas Jefferson would make a fabulous mascot.
Band, loud but square. I mean, who DOESN'T like the 'hey' song. (Pre-emptive Ragnarok correction -- it's actually called 'Rock and Roll Part 2')
These girls had a great trip too.
Our girls were tight, they were really playing like a team, and spreading out the talent. Rags did tell it like I saw it:
"It was an offensive explosion, as Virginia had basically no answer for Ashley Walker or Devanei Hampton inside. Some of the crispest passing you'll ever see let the Bears pummel the Cavaliers with easy layups, and then Cal tossed in 8 3-pointers for good measure."
I was really impressed by all of your comments, you really saw the same game I did. It's like you guys were there except you weren't listening to the band make swashbuckling noises to mock the Cavaliers. I'm not sure it worked, but it was funny! The fans were definitely in LOVE with the team. They could do nothing wrong and the fans were with them the whole way. No one was calming down or sneaking out the back at a sure thing. And a couple of the fans wanted to proclaim their love...
She noticed me! I think I'm in Love!
But you know how the game turned out, a fantastic success! The band celebrated, then headed on out to the busses. Once we got back to the hotel, the Student Director of the Cal Band made arrangements to ship the big instruments back to Berkeley (must be there before tomorrow at noon, the group is leaving for Trenton New Jersey on Wednesday night) and I waited up in the lobby for the team to return. The team, media and anyone on the bus waits to do the press conference after the game. See, I had heard that they were going fulfill a promise and jump in the pool, and I wasn't disappointed. The girls started shouting to Joanne 'Take off the Boots! Take off the Boots!' -- great footwear is appreciated by the team too. There was a delay as Coach Boyle wanted to change so she didn't ruin her sweater -- it is a pretty nice sweater.
Sandy Barbour jumped in too! Think she's waterlogged now?
I expect this celebration will also be online soon, maybe they'll have better lighting. I do have to mention that one of the Bball players started up a cheer... "Gimme a C! Gimme an A! Gimme an L!.... Gimme an I! Gimme an F!..." and on and on. I had to laugh. But give them a break, after they're not used to it. It's very difficult! But hey, I can't do a layup... so I consider it even. After that, I was beat and went to bed. Soon we were up and out to LAX to end our trip. It was a good one and I thank the band for it. This is the last one for me, another alum will be with the team to help them take on UConn in Trenton.