This Is A Message To Brian Cook Of This Week In Schadenfreude

Dear Brian Cook Of This Week In Schadenfreude,

My name is T. Nathanial Hook.  I am a Cal fan.  I write to you to tell you how much I love your hilarious article This Week In Schadenfreude, looking at the agony of fans after rough losses by their beloved collegiate squads.  Cal and CGB have been honored with their presence many times this year.  Too many times this year, really.  Please, Brian Cook of This Week In Schadenfreude, join me after the jump, so we can further discuss why you should immediately disband Team Schadenfreude and retire This Week In Schadenfreude.  I want to tell you about the most Perfectly Cal Game Ever Played.

On Saturday November 27, 2010, the California Golden Bears took on the Washington Huskies.  I won't bore you with the details of the Cal season and the Huskies season, but a few facts are key here:

 

1.  If Cal won, they would go to a bowl game.  If they lost, they would not.  They have been to a bowl every year since 2003 and would have gone in 2002 were it not for sanctions incurred under the previous Cal head coach.

2.  If Cal lost, they would have their first losing season under Coach Jeff Tedford.

3.  Cal had just lost 2 tough games in a row against Oregon and Stanford.  Washington was the last hope to avoid the afore-mentioned ignominy. 

4.  Finally and most importantly, it was the final game in Old Memorial Stadium.  Cal opened Memorial Stadium, dedicated to the veterans of World War I, in 1923.  Over 500 games have been played there.  Thousands upon thousands of Cal memories come from there.  Presidents have spoken there.  The Play, perhaps the greatest play in football history, happened there. It is a historic stadium in one of the most gorgeous locations to watch a football game on this blue orb.

The UW game was the last game there before renovations occurred in 2011 and 2012 for the purpose of earthquake safety and also improving the stadium itself, which is still mostly in its 1923 configuration.  The 2011 season will be played in San Francisco at AT+T Park and, starting in 2012, Cal will play in a far different New Memorial Stadium.  UW was a historic game.  As such, to celebrate over 80 years of the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows at Memorial Stadium, Cal had scheduled a post-game celebration with a video montage and speeches from the Athletic Director and Chancellor. 

So, let's fast forward to the final 2 seconds of the game.  I won't bore you with the details of the game, but it had been a defensive affair.  3-0 at half, neither offense could get much going.  In the second half, Cal had scored a TD on a fumble run back by the D to have 13 points.  UW had scored a TD on a fluke play when a Cal defender tried to knock the ball away from the UW WR only to have the ball flip back up into the air and into the WR's arms who ran unimpeded 40 yards for a TD.  With 2 seconds left, the score was 13-10 in favor of Cal.   One stop by Cal and Cal wins the game.  Avoids the losing record.  Goes to a bowl game.  Ends Old Memorial Stadium on a high note.  Doesn't curbstomp its fans yet again.  Lowers taxes on middle class Americans, while promoting job growth and halting terrorism.

So, of course, UW, mostly on the back of one long bomb play, had gotten to the Cal 1 yard line.  Cal stuffed fallen No. 1 NFL pick Jake Locker on 2nd down, so they were still on the 1.  Then, Cal stuffed similarly fallen No. 1 NFL picked Jake Locker on 3rd down.  Now, it was 4th and 1 at the 1.  Everything hung in the balance.  Everything.  Ever.  Including the taxes and job growth and terrorism halting.

UW ran the clock down to 2 seconds.  They could go for the game-tying field goal or thumb their nose at caution and try for the game-winning TD.   They bit their thumb at thee.

In what would be the final exclamation point on 87 years of Cal football, UW running back Chris Polk James K.ed his way into the end zone.  Time ran out with UW up 16-13.  The UW fans went crazy!  The UW team streamed onto the field excitedly as the Cal team quickly exited.  Under normal circumstances, this game would suck.  Throw in the whole bowl game/losing season thing and it just gets worse.  Throw in the last game and LAST PLAY (!) in Memorial Stadium and it reaches new and unrivaled heights of schadenfreude for all those non-Cal fans out there.

And this is where it just starts to get good.

Immediately (and I mean immediately) Chariots Of Fire, that always inspirational song, starts blasting through the loud speakers.  A similarly inspirational montage regarding Memorial Stadium appears on the big screen.  Cal fans stare dumbfounded, assaulted by the twin images of UW fans/players celebrating wildly, just like Cal's arch-nemesis Stanford had a week prior, while the post-game "celebration" began.  The incongruity of this moment can not, could not, and will not ever be overstated.

 


I could wax philosophically for hours about what it means to be a Cal fan.  About the ups.  About the downs.  Or I could just show you a video of those final 2 seconds and the face punchingly confusing moments that came after.  Since I don't have such a video, I thought I could at least write this post, because, seriously, you need to retire This Week In Schadenfreude.  Seriously, dude. Seriously.

You will never, ever find another moment of Schadenfreude as amazing as that one.  Cal football fans have been searching for peak Schadenfreude since the 1880s.  We might have just found it.  While today's events might be brutal agony for Cal fans, for you normies, it can be that sweet, sweet Schadenfreude-y elixir to your own problems.  Drink deep, because you will never, ever be able to enjoy it as much.  You will never be able to top this week in This Week.  They should just shut down the internet, really. 

At least we can finally put to rest the thousand year old argument about whether there truly is a God.  If there was no God, Cal would have lost in a random fashion.  Perhaps 21-14 and the final play at Old Memorial Stadium would be a Brock Mansion hail mary falling incomplete or Jake Locker taking a knee. 

But no, the events of today show that not only is there a God, but (S)he truly, unarguably hates Cal.  There is no other explanation as to why our pain (and your schadenfreude) has to be so exquisite.  Not only is there a God, but I bet its that Old Testament God.  (S)he was such a dick!  But c'mon, this isn't fair!  It's been over 50 years since Cal went to a Rose Bowl.  Moses only had to wander the desert for 40 years!  In conclusion, this was the most Perfectly Cal Game Ever played, most perfectly encapsulating the Sisyphean life that is a Cal fan.

PS  It rained all game.  Just because we couldn't be reasonably comfortable while watching the harsh coda to Memorial Stadium.  Oh and now it looks like Stanford is a lock for a BCS game.  sobs

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