7/23 - Cal's unfortunately not unexpected response is at the bottom of this post. What do you think?
Have you heard? We're going to be playing football again in the greatest stadium in all of the college universe in 40 or so days!
In case you haven't seen it, the above is a new splash page on the official cal website for the football season and re-opening of Memorial Stadium. At the top of the page is "New Stadium. Historic Traditions." I L-O-V-E that and humbly put forth the following proposal for the first annual Kick Off Rally that will both bring back to life some of our glorious traditions and create new ones!
Here's what we need from you. If you like this idea and want to see it happen you need to tell people about it by 1) click on the little facebook like button at the top right of the page so it shows up on your wall and counts you on this site 2) get your friends to like it 3) post it on the official Cal Athletics Facebook page so they can see the enthusiasm for it 4) tweet people to this page 5) whatever else you can think of!
After the jump, the proposal for Cal's First Annual Kick Off Rally!
The Kickoff Rally will take place the eve of our first game back in Memorial, August 31st. With the grand reopening of Memorial as well as the aggravation regarding Big Game week this year, what better way to bring the fans and team together in a show of support! Now, my feeling is that sometimes in life you have to make a change, it's life, let’s make the best of it and move on. But I also feel traditions are important to people. It’s what reconnects people with Cal and sets apart the Cal experience from other sporting events in the Bay Area. And that is very important, lest Cal start competing more and more with the pros, which, in this area is not a winning proposition.
What: First Annual Kickoff Rally When: August 31, 2012 7:00PM – 8:00PM Where: Memorial Stadium Student Section (Sections SS, S and RR) Objective: Excite fans for football season Reconnect fans with team Excite the team Re-educate/ reinforce fans on traditions / introduce new traditions Lay the foundation for more donations Have fun!
A great fun event to "unofficially" open Memorial, fire up the team and fans, reintroduce traditions, teach the fight songs, and introduce new traditions. People will enter via the new grand entrance to the North Tunnel, where they will pass by the Andy Smith Bench which everyone can now see up close and touch for good luck as they head in, continue in through the North Tunnel (like the players do), enter into the stands and up to the Student section and ready for the rally.
Memorial will be lit with the new press box gleaming. We can have highlights playing on the video board, etc. There can even be finishing work still going on which in its own way will make it even cooler… People will feel they’re a part of it. People will leave awed, inspired, fired up and absolutely loving what they see, and who knows, Cal may even sell some more ESPs out of this! Now, we know there are always problems and issues, so let’s just get those out of the way and make this happen. Let’s not let naysayers and the loudest complainers cause inertia! I also know everyone is very busy, but this is after all why we are at Cal!
Memorial Stadium Student Section (SS, S and RR). I understand there is a lot to do. I also understand that Memorial is "locked down" for 24 hours before a game. But this is special. This is a once-in-eight-generations opportunity to do something great and lay the foundation for a great new tradition. Why not the Greek Theater since it’s available? Because it will raise our costs, involve cumbersome permit processing, unnecessarily involve the city, etc. And frankly for this purpose Memorial is better! Using event staff we will tightly control the flow of the crowd into designated areas.
Permits: As this is self contained in Memorial Stadium no permit should be necessary.
I understand that budgets are tight, but as this will benefit multiple aspects of Cal I recommend the cost be split between The Athletic Department, The Chancellor and CAA. This event could return quite a bit in the form of good will and down the road extra tickets sales as well as increased donations. Further, Rally Comm can use this event to raise money reducing what they will inevitably need to raise for rallies later in the year. It is early enough, however, that if we start planning now, we could get a sponsor(s)
- $2,500 Event Staff / Security
- $5,000 T-shirts for non-student attendees
- $10,000 Prizes. As this is new, and as there may not be an actual bonfire, we should try and incentivize people to attend.
Can we fill the student section for a Kick Off Rally?
- This is a new idea. So the last thing we want is a sparse crowd.
- Target freshman by making this an extension of Welcome Week. We want the RAs to drag them to the Memorial if they have to
- Include ALL OUR ATHLETICS TEAMS SO THEY CAN BE INTRODUCED (as a team unit)
- Target the Fraternities and Sororities. Back in antiquity, 1991, we did this,
enlisting their participation without them actually knowing that’s what we were doing (sneaky, I know!).
- Use social media!!!
- Facebook the heck out of this with a specific campaign that would require people to be there to win. For example, by Friday at noon, the person who had collected the most "likes" on their facebook page for the event would get to meet Coach Tedford and the team
- Tweet, tweet and tweet some more!
- Start a twitter hashtag campaign #OURDOMICILE!
- Social Media Contests: For example encourage people to tweet out from the event with pics. Three lucky winners will win $1,000, etc…
- Get Bearents involved! They will be in town anyway, so let’s get them up to Memorial and let them mingle with everyone in the most positive setting they can have! This would be especially great for those Bearents whose son doesn’t play a lot. They will see him introduced (more below)
- Get notable alumni who have great amplification potential talking about it. Such as Kate Scott, Mike Silver, Sal Castaneda, Frank Sommerville, Roxy Bernstein, Chris Pine, Adam Duritz, etc.
- Reach out to alumni and community – a lot. Use every communication method we have. Make this an event (the Bay Area is very event-driven).
- Enlist CAA for specific Alumni outreach.
For this Rally, because we won’t be doing a lot of the things associated with the Big Game (like the ten minute story of the axe for example) I suggest we do some things differently. This will give us more flexibility and allow for a tighter event. Again we can work on the flow and exact timeline later, but here are the key elements:
- - Have videos playing as people come in
- - Open with fire-up welcome comments from Mic-Man
- - A couple of cheers to get everyone fired up
- - Cal Band enters through North Tunnel and does pregame show
- - Introduce some celebrities that are there
- - Chancellor and Sandy speak
- Introduce each team that is there (in the stands) as a unit. Cal Softball, Women’s Tennis, Swimming, Water Polo, Rugby, etc… Have each team stand when they are called.
- - The team enters: Introduce every coach and player. They never get this so it will be huge. It’s about 125 players / coaches with each taking about 8 seconds each (we’re just calling off name, number position BOOM, next…) so that is about 15 minutes. This may take too long and kill the buzz (I’m not sure), so we can do something else like introducing them as squads or just seniors, we’ll figure it out. What do you folks think of this???
- - Coach Tedford speaks
- - Two players speak
- - We introduce NEW tradition that after every game, win or lose, after the players shake hands with the opponents they will come to the Cal student section and we will all sing Hail to California (or All Hail, I just like Hail to California better…) and we will do this on the road too.
- - Everyone will have a sheet with lyrics to all the fight songs and will then be lead to sing along, arm in arm. The players will have already learned this song and won’t need sheet music which will BLOW AWAY the crowd – especially some of the older folks. (BTW, Hail to California is only 26 words, very easy).
- - Coach Tedford will thank everyone and explain the players need to leave. Crowd will cheer lustily! (or they are welcome to stay, just doubt Coach Tedford will want that)
- - Aaron will introduce new "C-A-L Cal Alright Alright" cheer / song (done to Jimmy Eats World’s "In the Middle" with video playing) and crowd will work on it. (BTW, this is going to be very cool… we’re working on a viral video)
- - An older alum will explain the importance of the Andy Smith Bench
- - Sandy will close out the rally with some inspirational words about what a great future is ahead for Cal and what this whole project has meant.
That will conclude the rally at about 55 minutes. Let me quote for you what one person, a mid 50s woman, said:
"How much would I love to march through the North Tunnel the evening before the first game; rub Andy Smith’s bench for luck; cheer "Who’s Domicile? Our Domicile!!" with thousands of my closest friends; chant Oski-wow-wow, Whisky-wee-wee over one endzone, and This is BEAR Territory over the other; invite the spirits of Our Sturdy Golden Bear Ancestors who are Watching From the Sky to protect that sacred ground from all invaders but make it welcoming to the Golden Bears oftoday; sing Hail to California while Rallying Round Our Banner; and then exit the newly reborn stadium chanting "Roll On You Bears…." ??? One whole whale of a lot, sir. Well done."
And here is what a recent grad had to say (as written below)
THIS IS AWESOME.
I didn’t learn most of the songs/chants until I researched them on my own during my second year there. I totally wish I had something like this when I started at Cal, it would’ve been SUCH a great memory singing and chanting with everyone there. Having this, and working the freshmen in (both athletes and students) so that we may ALL learn the chants, and get that FEELING of Cal athletics when we sing everything… THAT’S what’ll keep people coming back from the get-go. THAT’S the hook, from inception. Start the love earlier.
Most new students don’t know how to be football fans, honestly. Cheering at the wrong times, just getting the hang of the cheers by mid-season, not knowing how to love the experience because you’re too busy trying to understand everything.
While I was still a student, I’d say it was only 30-40% actually knew the lyrics to anything. Apparently, while speaking with older alum cough, it’s a huge contrast to how things were back in the day. Imagine if the student section knew ALL the lyrics, and the players acknowledged everyone at the end? Have that real connection between fan and player?New tradition with a new stadium. Increased fan competency. Establishing that connection from the players to the fans (especially the frosh).WHY AREN’T WE DOING THIS ALREADY?
We've given you a lot of detail here; more than you probably needed but we want everyone to see that we have thought a lot about this and have taken all the various exigencies into consideration. And of course, we want to get you all fired up! Rallies are fun. They are important in both passing down old traditions and starting new ones... It's at rallies that students learned to do this
This is one of those "carpe diem" moments some of you have heard me discuss in the past. We have a chance here to create an incredibly special experience for the Cal community, to create a bond between the players and the fans, to reinvigorate some of the great traditions of Cal, to introduce new ones… This is one of those moments I know most Cal fans want to embrace and capture. We can make this GREAT!
Let’s not let the reasons "it can’t be done" determine this. Let’s think of the possibilities. The greatness. The phenomenal good will and spirit this will generate. That we are CAL!!!!
We have six weeks to pull this off. That is plenty of time if we get going on it now. Lots and lots of people are willing to help.
New Stadium. Historic Traditions!!!
Are you in?
UPDATE - Friday I received this response from Ash Puri, head of Sales, Marketing and Service in Cal Athletics.
I hope your summer is going well.
I wanted to drop you a note and let you know what we currently have planned as a student kick-off event this year.
Since game day preparations will be going on throughout Friday 8/31 up at Memorial Stadium, we have engaged the campus on providing a program very similar to the one you proposed at Calapalooza.
Calapalooza is an event on Sproul Plaza on August 23rd, that is attended by thousands of students. We have been coordinating with the Spirit Groups on a rally to be held on the Sproul steps, during which we will introduce and re-introduce our traditions to students.
In addition to the rally, Cal Athletics, Spirit, Football and other sports teams will be on hand throughout the length of the event to engage students and fire them up for the season.
With the construction of the stadium complete after this year, we look to move this programing back to Memorial.
Please do not hesitate to contact Sam or me with any questions, ideas, etc.
Also, please feel free to share this information with anyone you would like.
Thanks again and GO BEARS!
So, unfortunately it looks like more of the same from marketing in Cal Athletics. This idea that construction will still be going on at Memorial Friday night could be easily mitigated. It's just an excuse to not do something. We're opening a new stadium for the first time in 90 years and we're going to do the same Sproul rally we do every year that will maybe attract, if they're lucky, 1,000 people. This is a chance to do something incredibly special that people will remember all their lives. I have talked to multiple different coaches at Cal who would love their team to be a part of this rally. I've discussed this with various members of the spirit groups who want to do this. Multiple NFL Cal alumni have expressed support for this. Current players have expressed excitement. Even recruits have unsolicitedly liked the idea. CEOs and senior partners at major firms want to see this happen... Members of the media like it... Students, alumni... We have 168 facebook likes already on for this post...
Can we convince Cal Athletics to do something that will actually benefit them? Can we, should we do something on our own? What do you all think?