On March 20, 2010, St. Mary's beat Villanova to go to the Sweet 16 in basketball. The next day, Cal would lose to Duke.
But I am pretty sure nobody cares about that. No, they care about RUGBY! And in between those two basketball games, at 1 PM on Saturday March 20, 2010, Cal faced off against St. Mary's in rugby. Oh, it was exciting. You can read an in depth analysis of it here. With this post, I'll have some photos from my angle and then also from Monica's Dad's angle. You can see all of Monica's Dad's photos here.
At the last game I attended (Cal v. Stanford), we showed up about 20 minutes early and there were many seats available. As such, for this game, we should up on time. BIG mistake. St. Mary's, unlike Stanford, has actual fans who actually go to the game. The line was quite lengthy. So, I got a front row seat for the teams entering the stadium.
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not entirely sure when the villain from the Da Vinci Code became a rugger for Cal, but he looks pretty good out there, so no complaints here.
By the way, you'll notice a hand at the right side of the St. Mary's photo at top. That guy was there, just high fiving and shaking the hands of all the St. Mary's players AND the Cal players. I think he just liked to high five people. I thought about going over and seeing if he would just cheer me on, but didn't want to lose my spot in line. The line moved quickly, but we still missed the National Anthem and there were no seats left. That is fine, because I like to stand in the end zone area anyway. You can get great shots. When we got in, the game had already started:
Monica's Dad actually was responsible and showed up early enough to see Cal enter the field:
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The place was packed to the gills.
There were even some watching on Tightwad Hill.
It was also difficult to tell what was going on. Normally, I just listen to the cheers, but there were so many St. Mary's fans that people were cheering no matter what. What helped was that it was Homecoming. A few former rugby alums stood behind us. They would discuss the action and mutter helpful things like "They have a 5 on 3 there, they should take that, they should take that." Eventually they left and I returned to my usual guesses that the Cal team had received a penalty for "icing" or that Cal needed to throw more first pitch strikes. Cal should station former rugby alums strategically throughout the field to mutter play by play analysis loud enough for idiots like me to eavesdrop on.
Unlike the Stanford game, this was not as one sided. St. Mary's had a really interesting offense. They just kept trying to push it upfield instead of kicking repeatedly. So, they spent a lot of time right in our area trying to score and then Cal would get the ball back and with one swift kick return it back to midfield. Must be frustrating for St. Mary's to work so hard just to have it all erased in one motion.
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Usually when I do this for football, I can sort of paint a portrait of the game with a narrative linking the photos to specific events. Here, I am not smart enough to really paint a narrative. I mean you have individual events, like inbounds passes, which are cool.
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And you have the various kicks, which I can never quite understand.
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Not to mention the punts, which can get dangerous sometimes.
But mostly it's just a whole lot of pretty awesome action:
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This dude had the craziest hair ever. The skullet. Shaved in front. Mullet in back. With dyed tips. It looked like somebody stapled a beaver pelt to his head.
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Here is Cal scoring a try:
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I realize now that Monica's Dad was like 20 feet to my left, because I have similar photos but blocked by that giant blue bar.
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Cal got up big. Fast. There were many celebrations like this one:
And this one:
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The game ended with Cal winning big:
Then, all the rugby Alums came onto the field to celebrate Homecoming:
And the team took its usual victory lap celebrating all the fans that support it:
It is the last game at Witter Field for 3 years, apparently, due to the retrofit for the stadium. Oh well. :(
And before I go, because they are so awesome and because the ladies tell me they love them, THE SCRUMS:
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Scrumlicious! GO BEARS!