Last time we checked in, it was halftime. The score was 29-26, Cal. Cal had played extraordinarily well, taking advantage of Stanford's defensive alingment entitled "Have one player get on all fours behind Ashley Walker and then have another player push Ashley Walker over that first player" by taking open shot after open shot. Unfortunately, near the end of the half, Cal missed a few open shots and Stanford, being a great team, took advantage, quickly whittling a 6-8 point deficit down to 3.
But all that was erased from my mind when I noticed The Tree doing its thing:
Now, I can't be the only one who looks at those eyes and doesn't quite see eyes. If you know what I mean and I think you do, nudge, nudge, wink wink. I knew that I had to, I just had to, honk the tree. I discussed it with PaleoDan and he told me that I should wait until after the game, because the Stanford band generally plays a concert after the game. We could get it then.
No, I exclaimed with disturbingly irrational exuberance. I needed to do it now. Because if 14 years of the Jacqueline Whitmore School of Etiquette For Little Girls taught me anything, it's self-absorbed petulance. That and a smug sense of indifference.
So, PaleoDan and I set out to do the incredible, to do the unbelievable, to do the unimaginable, to obtain The Ultimate Honk, the honk The Stanford Tree!
It was kind of like Frodo and Sam going to save the world by destroying the ring. Except it didn't take 9 hours and spend 35 bucks of my hard earned money! Also, fewer homoerotic undertones.
We were sitting behind the basket on the side of the Court away from where the band and RallyComm stand. The Tree was stationed next to that basket. So, we had to go down to the lower level and then walk all the way around. We got to the corner entrance by The Tree and I started to walk toward a security.
A security guard immediately stopped me. She said that I wasn't allowed onto the court there. I explained to her that I merely wanted to take a photo with The Tree. That's all I ever wanted in life. So, she said that was fine, I guess. But I couldn't go onto the court. I asked if The Tree would come over to me. She said that seemed OK and motioned for The Tree to walk over.
The Tree came over, but then proceeded to get stuck in the doorway to the court. No idea how he managed to make it onto the court if he couldn't get back out. So, seeing this, I start to run towards The Tree to grab the eye and take a photo honking it.
When I'm about 3 feet away, another security guard stops me. He tells me that I can't get near The Tree. At first, this is confusing to me. He says that I can take a photo from about 5 feet away. This serves no real purpose. So, defeated, I start to leave.
The security guard tells me that they've had a history of Cal fans attacking The Tree, so they have to safeguard it. I guess I am lucky that he had stopped me when he did. Because I was about 3 feet and 2 seconds away from grabbing the eye to for the photo. I would have been tackled by security and ejected, probably.
And then I would have missed the second half of tight action!
Of course, the second half could be mostly summed up in this photo here:
Lexi, taking shot after shot after shot after shot.
With Walker being doubled, somebody had to step up and Lexi did. In a BIG way.
Of course with Stanford having to deal with Lexi AND Walker, that left players even MORE open. Like Hampton here, using her bionic leg for more jump:
Hampton also was mixing it up down low:
Walker did manage to get some shots off, even with some of the pressure they applied to her.
Walker v. Appel is our best v. their best.
Unfortunately, something really bad happened to Walker on the far side. I have no idea what it was. Whatever happened, happened. Then, Cal got the ball (off a rebound, I think) and started to move the ball back towards their basket. But halfway there, the refs noticed Walker down and stopped the play. Walker was holding onto the bottom of the basket and then collapsed onto the court. It looked bad.
You can see her in the back there. She was down for a while there. But then, amazingly, got up, walked off under her own power. And then came back in the game! Impressive.
Then, the oddest thing ever happened. The ref ejected some elderly fan. For what, I do not know? What could the fan have said to warrant this?
The only thing I could think of would be threats of some kind to either the coaches, refs, or players. Nothing else makes sense. Wanna have a contest to guess what he said??
With Walker out, Lexi got back to doing what she does best:
This isn't Lexi, I don't believe, proving that other players did take some shots.
Now, you must excuse me from this point on. Because at some point midway through the second half, the entire frigging Lynch clan showed up. Up to and including Marshawn. He was just there all of a sudden.
So, all apologies to the Cal and Stanford women's basketball team, but I spent the next 5 to 10 minutes texting anybody and EVERYBODY who might be even remotely interested about it. So, I didn't get a LOT of photos. And my memory of this Marshawn-oriented time period is a bit slow. Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. PaleoDan can chime in to fill in the blanks.
Then, the game was over. What a great end. Not only was Marshawn there, but we saw an exciting game. With about 7 minutes left, Cal was down 8. Clamping down on D, Cal clawed back into it. We then got up 3 with about 15 seconds left. Stanford got off 2 different 3 pointers on their end of the court. Each of which was those sort of miliseconds where the ball seems to take forever rainbowing through the air. The drama was extraordinarily high as my heart stopped beating in anticipation of the eventual outcome to these shots.
Luckily, both missed. And so the team rushed the court in excitement!
Then, the good sportsmanship.
And Alexis Grey-Lawson was doing the post-game interview with Coach Boyle:
Coach Boyle, who bee tee dubz, spends the entire game crouched on the sidelines in those high heel boots, went over to the loud speaker. She thanked the entire crowd for coming out, saying we were instrumental. I'd like to think so! Although we were surrounded by some of those old fuddy duddies who gave us cross looks for doing that "ooooooooo" yell on D and being upset that we were standing up in front of them.
I figure as long as you aren't swearing or being other obnoxious (a tall order for me, to be fair), it should be fine. Oh well. After that, Coach Boyle, who must have legs of steel to crouch the entire time, went over and gave Sandy Barbour a big bear hug. She had the largest smile on her face. Congrats to Coach Boyle! Congrats to Sandy Barbour. Congrats to everybody associated with the team! Congrats to me!
It is always good to get this receipt:
"37 points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The rest of the team had 17 fewer points. COMBINED!"
So, I went over and watched Marshawn from afar some more:
I wonder if Boo Boo was in there. I am informed that many Lynch family members attend women's bball games, even if Marshawn isn't always one of them.
But then, I came outside to realize my dream of honking The Tree. The excitement for honking was palpable. The Stanford band was playing to a happy Cal crowd. I'm sure if we had lost, people would be less interested in hearing them play.
I am not sure how to describe the conductors outfit:
Even with my limited musical skill, talent, and ability, I would have been the greatest Stanford director in the history of their organization. If only you hadn't rejected me, Stanford. Why? WHY??????????? Don't you think my all-encompassing arrogance would have made me the greatest Stanford student? I mean c'mon!
And man, I felt so dirty enjoying "All Right Now" during the game. The dirt, it's not coming off!!!!!
So, I went back in to snap a few shots of the post-game autograph sesh. I believe the team does it after every game to help promote interest. Of course, against Stanford, it was quite a bit more packed than usual:
Unfortunately, Walker, Hampton, and Lexi weren't there. Perhaps had to do post-game media? I saw two Stanford players, including Appel, run into the "media room" after the game. I felt kind of bad for them to have to answer the questions after a rough loss like that.
I didn't feel like waiting in such long lines for autographs. But I did snap a few shots:
On the way back out, I noticed that they had a few new honors in the b-ball sections of those displays at Haas Pavilion:
And then, I went outside to realize a dream. The Stanford band was just finishing up, rocking out to that damnably enjoyable "All Right Now." I waited and waited and waited and then POUNCED! I ran up to The Tree and asked for a photo holding the eye. Dude, covered in sweat, seemed confused, but acquiesced to my odd demand.
And then, it happened. At roughly 5:30 PM on Sunday, January 18, 2009, as the sun started to set on high. As the Stanford band left to head home after being defeated on the honorable court. As Cal fans made their way home, blessedly satisfied with the key victory. As all those people partied in the frigid DC weather, thinking erroneously that they were there to witness history. As my heart jumped into my throat with excited anticipation, I obtained what can only be termed the true peak of my life. It's only downhill from this epic(k) peak! Ya, sure I got married. Ya, ok, I passed the bar. But none of that, I mean NONE of that compares to getting The Ultimate Honk.
Because that's when I honked THE SHIT out of that The Tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Edit: Ok, I figured this out. CALumbus Bear really wanted this, so here it is. If you notce, a)its a Double Honk because the Tree himself gets involved b)I left my arm in so people could verify that it is, in fact, me by my arm hair.