Well, another year, another fun time at the Cal Fan Appreciation Day. So much better than the Cal Fan Depreciation Day. That day is just so negative.
This was a fun day in the sun. Too much sun, really. It was so hot that day. Why they make all football jerseys in polyester, I do not know. Each year we go and try to interact with the players and take some photos and just have a relaxing time. This year was a smashing success. For me, at least. I think there were some problems for others, but we can get into that later.
I mean how bad a day could it be where we were able to snag this bad boy?
The day started off at about 11 AM. The event was 12-2, but I knew it was important to get there early. Last year I arrived at about 11:30 and the line was already incredibly long. This year, they did things a little different. They didn't have a line, they just had people milling about in front. There were things to buy and a whole lot of free food from Rubio's!
Former Cal kicker Tom Schneider was there selling his book about the Cal football team:
It ultimately did not matter that I got there so early, because I decided to sneak into the stadium first. Sorry, but I have to keep my methods a secret to protect innocent parties and for the sake of further sneak-ation. When I got in there, practice was still going on. Of course, I will not reveal anything I saw in there. And, of course, I did not take any photos. But long story short, we may or may not see Isi Sofele play somewhere on the "football" field at some point this "season."
BUT YOU DIDN'T HEAR IT FROM ME!!!
I just sort of relaxed in there for a while, watching various parties set up. The players finished the practice and left the field. I guess to shower and get ready to come back out and shmooze with us, the creepy shmucks. While I waited, I watched them bring in those sweet chairs that cost $250,000.
That blue chair there is partially blocked here, unfortunately, but looks incredibly comfortable. Can I borrow $250,000.00! You know I'm good for it, I make a lot of internet money!
Some players were still milling about:
Tepper walked by. I said Hi and took a photo. He said he had to run off to an interview or some such thing and shook my hand goodbye. I think his hand is bigger than me. He is a massive beast of a man. I think we could solve both the problems in Afghanistan and North Korea by sending Tepper there. More on potential Tepper battle-violence later!
Yknow, often times, people say that we bloggers are an unprofessional breed. That we lack basic civility. And we just throw pot shots at people in our underwear. Well, to overcome the pot, to overcome the shots, I decided to be extra civil. To be incredibly professional. I referred to all players as sir. I thanked them profusely for signing my items or taking a photo with me. I may or may not have curtsied before Jesse Brooks.
Considering I am a decade older than some of the players, I think it freaked them out a little. More on that later.
Then, the world's greatest radio announcer (Right "Fire Joe Starkey"??), Joe Starkey walked by. I'd like to describe his entrance in the same Monet-esque impressionist way that Joe Starkey would, but I have a much clearer picture here:
At noon, they let the plebeians onto the field. The California blue and gold rush began! I started moving quickly onto the field. There were 4 possibilities in front of me. Seniors Defense. Seniors Offense. Coach Tedford. And an un-named location that I (correctly) assumed would be for Jahvid Best.
Since there was no sign for Best, I decided to go to Tedford. Just to be safe. I thought there was a chance that the unnamed one could be a spirit group. Basically, I played it safe. I was about 3rd in line for Tedford. While I stood there, in the span of about 2 minutes the line for Best absolutely exploded. Insanely long. Like down the entire field and then curved around the corner of the end zone. Just so long.
At first, I was disappointed. I thought I had made the wrong choice. The line for Tedford did get somewhat long, but NOWHERE near as long as for Best (and, as I later found out, SydQuan). I mean Tedford is great, don't get me wrong. But if I could have knocked that super long Best line out of the way, I figured I could deal with the Tedford line.
That said, I later realized I was wrong. The Best line didn't move for a LONG time due to Syd apparently being late. NorCalNick told me that it took him 1.5 hours to get through it. I think this was frustrating for a lot of people. I would have been at the front of the line, so it would not have taken me 1.5 hours. Nonetheless, I ultimately lucked into making the right decision. More on this later.
Tedford did not take all that long to arrive.
Usually, I say something all "wacky" and then "awkward" "hilarity" ensues. But, of course, we've turned over a new leaf here at the CGB. So, I thanked Coach Tedford for being a Golden Bear and expressed my deep concern that he stay one for a long, long time. That photo up there is Coach Tedford signing our business card. Yes We Cannon had provided it to him and given a bit of a spiel. He very much said "Well, yknow, I don't care for the blogs."
That's why I had Yes We Cannon provide it. I am a cowardly cowardly general!
Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, the axe was not out there. Two years ago, the axe was there. Last year, the axe was not since Stanford had it. :(! But how come they didn't have it out again? Who do I blame for this catastrophy??
When I got out, the line for Best was still super duper long (as it always would be), so we decided not to pursue that. We decided to start going all Pokemon style. While some players have fixed seats, the vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority just wander aimlessly throughout the field.
And so, we began to collect em all. Getting signatures, photos. Chatting about our wives and jobs. You know the drill.
"Is Spencer Ladner a 1,300 year old vampire with incredible reflexes and an inability to be in the sun? Only time will tell." via wearemoviegeeks.com
I thanked him for his signature and inquired about what conditioner he used. Because in polite society, you tell other people that you really just LOVE John Freida Brilliant Brunette (I'm a chestnut!). He told me he was a Pantene Pro V man. Whatever he is doing, it is working. No split ends there, people!
We continued to Pokemon it up.
Noted gadabout Brock Mansion was there.
I asked him what his name was in the Old Country, if it was Mansionberg or Mansionstein. He, somewhat seriously, said he always wanted to ask his grandparents about that. Boo to genuine emotion!
Things were going great, but then we saw the man, the myth, the legend, the anti-Ladner, Isi Sofele!
I'm 5'10" and I'm just a touch taller than him. He's clearly buffer than me, which, let's be honest, is not a high bar here. But usually when I take a photo with the players, they seem so big and otherworldly. Tavecchio and Sofele were the only ones who didn't seem to be so physically intimidating to me. More on Tevacchio later.
But ya, Sofele was very popular with the fans. Not quite as popular as Jahvid Best in 2007 when a huge throng of people crowded organically around him. But still there is some buzz about this fresh face. Hopefully, he can provide speed and agility to the team.
Marvin Jones (not to be confused with Markish Jones) was there, too. He has a lot of tattoos as you can see.
I asked him what that tattoo on his chest said. He said "Fear Of God." I told him if I got one like that, it'd say "Fear Of Wife." He is a personable enough fellow.
Shane Vereen was a very popular player, too. I heard a fan behind me note that Vereen was one of the best, if not the best, back up running backs in America.
Then, we went to our boy Bryan Anger. ANGER SMASH!
I did my "oh thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to sign my hat. I am so appreciative of that." He looked at me quizzically, so I told him that I knew, as a punter, he was a much classier player than all those other players. So, I treated him more classy. I told him when I wanted an autograph from another player, I'd just be all "SIGN THE FUCKING POSTER, BITCH!"
I'm not sure he bought it.
HydroTech and I both agreed that if anybody could destroy the new Cowboys TV screen, it would DEFINITELY be Bryan Anger. ANGER SMASH SCREEN!
Quinn Tedford was there! Now I have the autographs of two separate generations of Tedfords!
I said "Hey, you look like you must be a punter or something." He jokingly said "ya, kicker. Definitely a kicker." I said "Are you the waterboy?" He said "Back up waterboy. The back up waterboy."
So, he's got a good sense of humor. Likes to play the game. I feel good with our depth at DLine here.
Speaking of those beasts at the line, Derrick Hill is another huge man.
Speaking even more of the line, there were some OLineman milling about right nearby, too. Like Matt Summers-Gavin.
And Mitchell Schwartz.
Look who I would see, but Worrell Williams! GO BEARS!
He was hanging out near the Seniors on Defense. Like Jesse Brooks and Eddie Young.
Eddie Young was seemingly entertaining what I can only assume is rollonubears.
I unfortunately did not get a solid shot of these other Defensive players.
I think that is a good place to stop here. At this point, the line for Best and SydQuan was still unbelievably long. I had many Tedfords worth of autographs and had nearly melted into a small pile of goo. Clearly, fun time had by all. Keep it locked here for more antics, hijinks, and spinsanities from the Cal Fan Appreciation Day. GO BEARS!