Cal Fan Appreciation Day 8.29.09 I
So, last time I left off, it was so hot that everybody was complaining their feet were on fire. I think it had to do with the heat coming off of the turf, I don't know. We had just finished up with the Defense line and realized that we probably were never going to get Best or SydQuan's autography. We were depressed, but soldiered on. Just in time to see somebody who could maybe stand in for SydQuan, the other #5, Alex Laggeman:
The most fun parts of the day and generally the easiest were just chatting with the players milling about on the field. Often times they were just as renowned and popular as the players at the tables. Just Tyson Alualu here:
But some were young red-shirt guys. I try to get their signatures, too, because you never know when a young freshman (like Best 2 years ago and Trevor Guyton last year) will supernova. Here, we have Deandre Coleman and Austin Clark, both young talented guys, who could be key players on the team in the years to come.
And if Laggeman is the OTHER Syd, here is Chris Little, the OTHER Best. It was like being in the middle of the sun on July 4 weekend covered in a parka, so I have no idea why he decided to go all hobo chic with that thick cotton beanie hat. He must have a really, really, really, REALLY cold head or something, I dunno.
Here is redshirt freshman Aaron Tipoti:
Interestingly enough, Alualu had his own line. Like I mentioned above, very popular player. So, we patiently waited in the Alualu line. Much better than Best and Syd!
He is a large, large, LARGE fellow. His kids are cute, too. Most D players were milling about near Alualu. For example, here is DJ Holt and Cameron Jordan chatting with a fan:
When reading the stories about Cameron Jordan's brief demotion, he was often described as "laid back" and "relaxed." I can't speak to how that relates on the football field, but I could definitely see those being accurate descriptions. He was joking around with the fans and mugging for the cameras. Fun, fun guy.
He was confused about why I was being so professional towards him and I said it was because I knew he was gonna be making NFL millions one day and I needed a loan. BAD! We joked around briefly about that.
Next up, the Prophet, Mike Mohamed:
Then, my favorite Cat-House of all time. Sean!
I don't have a good photo of this, but I did run into and get an autograph from Kendrick Payne. He is a massive beast of a man, but I made a fairly large faux-pax at this point. I asked him, jokingly, whether if he were to marry Michael Kendricks, would he take Kendricks last name. I thought I was being ever so witty, but he told me he had heard that one a lot or even the KendrickSquared. Ai! I'M UNCREATIVE! UNCREATIVE!
And then we can to him, the man I'd been waiting all year to see, Giorgio Tavecchio!
Like I said before with Isi Sofele, he is the other player that doesn't seem so otherworldly. He also look like he came straight from Moraga, no joke. I went up to him and said "Mr. Tavecchio, it is a pleasure to meet you, I know you know Italian here, I have a little proficiency here, let's see, how do I say this Donde Esta El Bano? Did I, did I get that one right there?" Much hilarity was had. I also asked him if he was in the cadet band in high school with Harvey "The Harve" Benstein. Unfortunately, he was not. :(! He does seem cooler than Cadet Band, I would say. Funny guy, may he kick us several key victories this year!
Then, from one extreme to the other, Michael Constanzo. This man is big, he's got fiery tattoos:
I explained away my professionalism by noting a man with as many colorful tattoos as him MUST be really professional. And, of course, he was. Jeremy Ross was there. Goldblooded kept saying "Let's go see Jeremy Ross. I see Jeremy Ross." But we kept getting side tracked by other players on the way over. We finally made it to him, though.
Jeremy Ross was so nice and professional back, I told him "I hope you aren't this nice on the field. I hope it's not like Permission To Catch Ball Requested, Sir." He assured me, it was not.
We saw Covaughn Deboskie wandering the field and ran over. He seemed really nice and has a head in the shape of a geometric shape.
Look at that thing, it's all angles! He could be a model!
Often times, you interact with the players individually. It's always interesting to see how the players interact in a group. Here are 2 young, young, YOUNG guys Allan Bridgford and Isi Sofele joking around and taking photos together. 3 years from now, they could be the starting battery for an amazing Cal team, who knows?
I know Sofele looks short there, but Bridgford is a tall, tall man, too.
Then, guess who would show up but Tosh Lupoi.
We were waiting in the line for the Seniors Offense at this point, but I would run out from time to time to greet other players. I did run over to talk to Tosh briefly.
I thanked him so much for being a Golden Bear. I said I hoped he would stay a Golden Bear for a long, long, long, LONG time. I told him they should pay him whatever he wanted. He told me to talk to Coach Tedford about that. Does anybody have Coach Tedford's number? I don't. :(!
But he was not the only one to wander by the Seniors Offense line. DJ Campbell made an appearance:
As did Darian Hagan:
Ryan Davis was joking around with the fans and having a fun time.
And Bryant Nnabuife showed up:
Soon, I had made it up to the front of the line for the Seniors Offense.
Tepper was there with Chet Teofilo. Tepper was telling some story about a game in 2007 from Tom Schneider's book. I said "Wait do you mean 2007 or 1997?" I am not sure how well he took this, but did joke around about how he saw where I was going with that. I told him I was gonna make a Methuselah joke, but after how well that 2007 or 1997 joke went over, I didn't want him to beat me up. He said that he doesn't like to fight, because all he does every day 80 times a day is just beat people up. I said "Sounds like my marriage." He expressed happiness that he had yet to get married.
Then, on to Chet Teofilo. I told him I had a great business venture that we should both go in on. A French Restaurant in Berkeley called Chez Teofilo. It's like Chez Panisse, but with more Teofilo! And much less Panisse. This is a can't fail opportunity! We could get a loan from Cameron Jordan to do it, too.
Brian Holley and Tad Smith were up next:
One of the people I was with drives the players around in a golf cart and was friendly with them. They asked him if he was doing it again this year. He said ya. I told them that they should call him if they were drunk at Kip's or something for a ride home. Apparently Mike Leach at TTU does that to his freshmen QBs.
Then, the final table which was packed with players. There was Nyan Boateng and Verran Tucker on the left end.
And Kevin Riley and Dasarte Yarnway on the right end.
But Riley and Yarnway aren't seniors! Yet there were at the Seniors table! I told them that I felt like they were lying to me in autograph form and was very disappointed in them. Riley said he was just told to sit there and so he sat there. Clearly, Tedford's influence is strong on him.
We took bets on how many more years Tepper would play with Cal. I predict 5.
So, then we rushed over to the Best/Syd line. Hoping against hope that they would let us in so we could grab those last 2. But there was a security guard guarding the end of the line. Wouldn't allow us in. I tried to plead our case, saying I had the rest of the team and needed those two autographs to complete the set. But he was unwavering. Also, just doing his job. :(! So, I never got to interact with Best and Syd. Given the problems they had with that line, that was probably for the better.
If the choice was Best/Syd and nobody else or everybody else, but not Best/Syd, it worked out for the best. I did go over a snap a few shots, though.
We thought about waiting at the tables until it was all over and then trying to get their signature when they left. But it probably woulda taken another 20 minutes of waiting and it was hot, we were tired and hungry. Oh well.
On the way out, we did chat briefly with Ernest Owusu.
And, thus, yet another Cal Fan Appreciation Day was over. Fun time had by all. Dodged a MAJOR bullet by choosing to get into the Tedford line over the Best line, although I didn't realize it at the time. Got to see Isi Sofele and Spencer Ladner in person. Got to annoy/joke around with many players. And was all professional to prove that once I get out of my mother's basement and take off those pajamas, I, too, can be a regular person in society. GO BEARS!