Welcome back to the Interview with Mic Man Aaron Eslamboly. If you missed part 1, you can read it here. Great stuff there from a great Mic Man. This is part 2 and let me just say that Aaron's answer to question 19 is why we know he is a great Mic Man. It's a real reflection of the love and passion that he brings to Cal Athletics. Unlike the rest of us keyboard commandos, Aaron is out there working his tuchus off to help promote as much Cal spirit as humanly possible.
So, the next time you see him at a game (or walking down the street or taking an exam) loudly thank him for the great job he is doing (especially if he is taking an exam). Enjoy the last part of the interview after the jump and GO BEARS!
This is a really tough question. Honestly, if there was one thing I would want from our Athletic Department, it would be to let us be more badass. I understand that we need to be classy, but even though we are Cal, we are also UC Berkeley, and we should be notorious for being so badass. We have SO MANY RULES that don't let me make a hostile environment. I'm not talking about cussing or stuff like that. I'm talking about fun things, that aren't inappropriate but can really get into a player's head or make a great gameday environment for students and Cal Fans alike. Anytime we come up with new things, it's always, we can't do that because of this or we can't do that because of that. And it's annoying because so many other schools are able to do them and we aren't.
Don't get me wrong, the Athletic Department knows what they're doing. I just wish they were more lenient when it comes to what Spirit does and some of the ideas we bring to the table.
Outside of that though, Cal Marketing and the AD do a really good job of reaching out to the students and creating a good gameday experience. Sandy has done some tremendous work and I applaud her for what she's done here at Cal. Her and all the people that work in Cal Athletics. I think the bigger problem is that the students just don't care. It's a different campus climate and makeup than what we use to have around here. More diversity means not EVERYONE wants to follow Cal Athletics. So it's a Catch 22 there.
But honestly, I'm really happy with some of the athletics representatives that I've worked with. My job goes beyond just spirit. I really like to go deep into the trenches of Cal Athletics and get to know everyone so that when I need help with something that is eventually going to help our NCAA athletes, I'll be able to do it without a huge long process and they'll be more willing to help because they know who I am. And to be doing what they do on the UC Budget we have, that is total skill right there. We make do with what we got and even though we need some improvements (who doesn't?) we still make it good.
11 What is your favorite cheer or chant that you lead the students in?
Hands-Up CALIFORNIA spellout. Beginning of EVERY basketball game. Gets everyone riled up if they are into it and know what's going on.
12. Do you have a Mic Man Hall of Fame? Who are acknowledged as the best in Cal history?
No hall of fame. Just the legendary starters Ken Montgomery and the guy right after him Ed Kleinhans. Someone who worked for Cal Athletics once told me that I'm one of the best they've seen since those guys or in a really long time and he expects more from me because he knows I can bring it, but I hesitate to take that credit. I only have one more year left in me (though I'm trying to change that by going to grad school here too), and still could improve so much more.
13. Do you go on the road, too? What are the best and worst road venues you've visited as Cal mic person?
We used to travel to every football game; that was before my time. Now, it's just the LA football game, bowl game, basketball games @ Stanfurd and the Pac-12 Tournament (Men's and Women's). The best trip really depends on where. Everyone always loves the basketball tournament at the end of the year because it's 3-5 days of enjoying LA sunshine (not gonna happen next year but probably hotter!), some good basketball at the already historic home of the Lakers, and some true inter-collegiate spirit bonding between school bands and cheerleaders.
Travelling on the road would be nice, but away football games are tough because we don't have a presence on the mic. So any away football stadium is a mess. But there are no serious preferences on venues. I've been to some cool places though. Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri and Staples Center in Los Angeles.
14. Biggest pet peeves of the student section on game day? How about of the alumni?
Students, if you're going to show up to the game, GET LOUD. I can't tell you how much it pisses me off when I see a student who isn't in to the game, especially at basketball games. I know, not everyone is as crazy as me, but look at what is going on in front of you. I'm not going to name other schools that have crazy student sections (again, especially basketball ones), but I just want the Cal Student Sections, like The Bench, to take its own initiative and get crazy and get wild. When I lead a cheer, I want to see everyone yelling it at the top of their lungs. When I lead the CALIFORNIA spellout, I want everyone spelling out the letters with their hands. I wrote a blog post (insert link here) about how The Bench needs to change earlier and I'm still working on that mission. I think we made some good changes this year and improved, but still have some work to do.
Alumni, when we ask you to get loud and stand up, we NEED you to get loud and stand up. Don't be old farts. Be the badass Cal Fans that you are when you were back in college. I know you want to cheer, so when I come over to you to lead a cheer, I want to hear you! When the Band plays ‘Big C' I want the whole stadium yelling GRAAH! as loud as they can 3 times. So please, when I ask you to Growl like a Golden Bear, GROWL LIKE A GOLDEN BEAR!
15. The best Cal song played by the Cal band is .....?
Our Fight Songs. I hate to bash on them, but I get mad when they play old rock songs ALL THE TIME. Sometimes, they don't have the right sense of timing. They'll play a rock song when Cal just made a run or a comeback. Or they'll play when I'm supposed to get the crowd into it and I can't yell over them. We're working on getting communication better between us though. I've seen band do some stupid things. But hey, that's what makes them special. Still gotta love them though. They have the best musicianship of any other band I've seen. And they are badass. The Best Damn Band in the West!
16. How do you choose which cheers to do when (outside of the obvious times)?
I like to say...Right Yell. Right Time. Every Time.
Other than that, this is really hard to explain. It's honestly all about timing and what is going on in the game. Sometimes, the crowd is down; it's a blow out. I like to let the band play. But if we just made a run, the band should play a quick fight song and a cross stadium better come so that the whole crowd is roaring and the stadium gets loud.
They also have to be appropriate.
One of the biggest issues we as Mic Men always worry about is if we want to try something new, or want to try something at a certain time, will the crowd follow or will they go with it. That's a big hesitation on our part that we try to look past when we lead because a leader cannot question anything. Always plays a part in what yell we want to do.
Of the arsenal yells that we have, we have everything we need to cover what generally happens in a game. When a fight breaks out, or a technical or something that doesn't happen every game, that's where creativity comes in.
17. Have you written any cheers for games or do you just rely on the old classics?
For volleyball, I've added several new ones. I'm not the most creative guy so creating new things is really difficult. But I add some things here and there.
I have been working on some new things for a while though and have wanted to do so but always have an issue of timing or a way to teach/explain it to the students.
The C-A-L spellout to the tune of Jimmy Eat World's "Middle" came from a Cal alumni and myself. He thought it'd be a good idea and I executed (got our spirit and marketing on board after much persuasion).
But expect to hear some new things in Cal Football and Cal Basketball this year. I plan on finding ways to make them happen in my final year to leave myself a legacy.
18. Can you take us through the average day for the micmen for football?
Call time is 3 hours before game time. You get to the stadium. It's silent, especially for the 1 o'clock games because it would be morning time. Only the sprinklers, the birds are moving...that and Rally Comm setting up card stunts. From there, it's March to Victory. Welcome the team to their home to start their gameday. A small section of band plays some fight songs, Cal fans, Rally Comm, Dance Team, Cheer Team, Oski and us...we're all there. After that's done and the team is in the locker room, we head down to Sproul for a pre-game rally. The Cal Band previews their half time show on the Savio Steps and the Dance and Cheer Team Dance and Cheer away to the tunes. Oski jumps around and the Mic Men get on the mic and lead the crowd in some yells. After those festivities, the Cal Band leads a march up to the Stadium. We march to the stadium and wait for game time.
19. Can you take us through the average day for the micmen for basketball?
I'd say I'm different than what the other guys do for basketball. Techincally, it's show up 30-45 minutes before tipoff and be ready to get the crowd pump.
My pre-game routine is different, because I love basketball so much. I kind of put myself in there as if I'm a player getting ready for a game myself, psyching myself up. At the end of the day, I'm in control of that 6th man, so yea, I am a part of that team.
I usually get to the game 3 hours early, help out marketing if they need some help setting something up, but mostly I use that time to walk around Haas, the bleachers and go up into the nosebleeds and just look around the empty stadium and envision it filled up in the coming hours. Of course, during this entire time, I've got headphones in and getting pumped with some good bass pumping tunes.
The other good thing about coming early is that I get to see the players warm up and do their routine. I know the guys so I'm there watching them and say hi if they are sitting down. I'm just there to let them know they have my support and that I'm there to win just like they are.
I'm usually pretty quiet before the games because I'm getting into the zone. When the fans start coming in, I say hi to people I know, friends and some of the people who are working as well behind the desk and event management and what not.
At one minute, it's HANDS UP CALIFORNIA SPELLOUT. Then it's game time.
I'd like to take this time to thank California Golden Blogs, TwistNHook, and his team that helped do this Q&A. But more importantly, thanks to them for all the posts CGB does that I religiously follow and always read. Thanks to all of you for keeping us in the loop on the Cal Athletics that we love