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3 election thoughts

I’m a bit of a disinterested party to this election.  I’m a “member” (it’s not an official party yet) of the American Solidarity Party and haven’t voted for the presidential candidate of either major party since 2000.  I refuse to vote for politicians who are ideologically far from what I stand for.  I just won’t do the “lesser of 2 evils” thing.  I don’t vote for “evil”.  Neither Clinton nor Trump were worthy of my vote and both would have been forcing me to endorse too many things I’m ideologically opposed to.  And so I wrote in a candidate who I can get behind.

Nevertheless, I’m at peace today and do not fear the future.  Hopefully these words will be helpful to where ever you stand:

  1. Hyperbole is not helpful (notice how I scare quote evil above).  If you feel yourself making broad sweeping and aggressive statements, I would caution against it.  Trump is not Hitler.  The world is not coming to an end.  For those on the other side, this was no “beat-down of the establishment”.  8 years ago it was the conservatives who thought the world was coming to an end.  Guess what, we’re still here and mostly in the same place we’ve always been.  16 years ago it was the Democrats.  Guess what, we made it to Obama without too much change to our daily lives.
  2. Do your best to avoid demonizing the other side.  The people on the other side are human just like you.  They’ve got real concerns and make judgment calls based on less than perfect information.  They make compromises that they don’t feel that comfortable with.  They talk themselves into being 100% behind something they really aren’t that excited about because they want to win and you don’t win by having lukewarm support for something.  A pattern I see time and again:  A person does something stupid and/or wrong, and others are very forgiving.  They rationalize.  They sympathize.  They ask for mercy.  Yet anther person does something similarly stupid and/or wrong and the same crowd is ready to nail them to the wall.  Why the difference?  Because one is seen as “us” and the other is seen as “them”.  Try to get away from having a “them” in your mind, so you have no one to demonize.  Listen and be sympathetic to everyone.  Try to understand, not write people off as evil or bigoted.
  3. Remember what what you do locally on a daily basis is far more important than the national policies.  While of course national politics has an affect on our lives, the reality is, whether you have a good day today has more to do with whether you’ve got good friends, good co-workers and good family than anything else.  And how that happens is by all of us collectively committing to being good friends, good co-workers and good family members.  And part of how we do that, is by not demonizing those among our friends, co-workers and family who don’t share our political views and by avoiding speaking in hyperbole with them.  Sympathize with those who are troubled today.  Forgive those who gloat.

 

There are those who are just but are treated as though they had done evil, and those who are wicked but are treated as though they had done justly. This, too, I say is vanity. Therefore I praised joy, because there is nothing better for mortals under the sun than to eat and to drink and to be joyful; this will accompany them in their toil through the limited days of life God gives them under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 8:14-15)

New Memorial Stadium bag policy

Have you guys seen this:

http://events.calbears.com/nl/jsp/m.jsp?c=4049bf4658f4402714

(Cal has gone the way of the NFL and will now only allow clear bags in the stadium)

I’m getting really sick of these ever increasing “security” measures.  If they’re looking for a way to get me to stop being a season ticket holder, this is their best path.  I can take losing (I sat through the Holmoe years), but what I can’t take is being treated like a criminal.

So I decided to write a letter to the athletic director.  Here it is in full:

I was recently called about my season tickets and during that conversation was told about the new bag policy at Memorial Stadium. I was also sent an e-mail about the policy as well.  I have a number of objections:

1. First and foremost, every time we get one of these announcements they are made LOOONNG after we’ve purchased our season tickets.  I find it cowardly that the athletic department does not announce these changes when we’re buying our tickets, when we actually have an opportunity to push back with the one thing that matters: our dollars.  To that end, it is not surprising that no refunds were being offered on my tickets when they called me.  As I’m sure the athletic department well knows, part of what compels people to buy tickets is a certain level of comfort.  That is why padded seats or bench backs and the like cost more than the bleachers.  Refusing to disclose ways in which you plan to reduce our comfort at games when we buy our tickets is deceptive and lacks integrity.

2. More importantly, shame on whoever decided to advertise this as a necessary security measure.  All bags are checked as we enter the stadium and have been for years.  How will making the bag clear meaningfully change anything?  Can someone not roll a sweatshirt or some other acceptable item around something they’re trying to conceal?  Unless everything in the bag must be clear, that the outer layer of fabric must be clear is of little security value. Inspection and/or pass-through detectors remain the only meaningful way to screen bags.

3.  It is further coercive to tie this policy change to “recent world events” as if what has happened in Europe sporadically over the course of the year has any connection to what might happen in Memorial Stadium.  It is a manipulative ploy to pretend that this policy change is justified on the basis of these events, none of which have happened in a stadium.  It is disgraceful that this University that prides itself on critical thinking and innovation would stoop to such a poorly thought out policy that does little to increase security while causing meaningful discomfort to the fans who fund the stadium and the team, and then use a smoke screen of unrelated events to justify it.

4. Make no mistake, it is a significant reduction in comfort for us fans.  I’ve always brought a small soft-walled insulated cooler with soda and water.  That’s always been allowed up until now.  It brings me great comfort to have cold beverage of my choice throughout the game that I don’t have to pay $5 for.  This new policy effectively bans me from doing that.  Also, preventing me from keeping my camera and binoculars in a protective bag could cost me hundreds of dollars if they were accidentally dropped without the above mentioned bag’s padding.    Additionally, although you allow seat pads, if someone wants one with a back, they must rent them (even MORE cost to us fans who like to be comfortable) as it is no longer acceptable to bring them in.  Then there’s the inconvenience to my wife to dump out her purse every other Saturday and put only a few of those items in a “clutch bag”.  Not to mention that it seems every year I must buy a couple new bags to meet whatever new arcane requirements have been implemented.  Let there be no mistake.  The cumulative effect of the new restrictions every year has notably and significantly reduced my family’s comfort and increased our cost of being Cal football season ticket holders.  And for what?  As points 2 and 3 make clear.  The security benefits are trivial.

5. In fact, it is even worse than that, as the bag policy actually makes my family less safe.  Although it’s not a further reduction in bag size from last year, the continued reduction in bag size over the years means it is a lot harder for me to carry sweatshirts and snacks for the whole family in a sizeable backpack that leaves both my hands free for my four kids so they don’t wander off.  Now I must split that up into multiple small bags leaving me far more encumbered and unable to protect my children on the busy streets of Berkeley.  I ask you: what is more statistically likely, that my young child will get hit by a car or my family will be harmed in a terrorist event?  Anyone with even a elementary understanding of mortality statistics knows how infrequent terrorist attacks are.

6. Finally, any comparison to the NFL is anecdotal and a complete misunderstanding of the fans.  Many of us come to Cal football because we enjoy the traditionally more relaxed, less restrictive, more family friendly (and bringing bags with stuff for the kids is a significant portion of that) environment that has separated college football from pro football.  It is notable that there is no mention of the far more lax policies of Major League Baseball as compared to the NFL.

To summarize, this announcement is cowardly timed, shamefully advertised, disgracefully justified and costly to my family’s comfort, while actually putting them more in harms way than in the past.  All things considered it will take a lot more than “The NFL is just as bad” to convince me of the wisdom of this ridiculous policy.

I respectfully request that this policy be reversed immediately.

Ken Crawford
Season ticket holder since 1999

I encourage all of you to do likewise and e-mail the athletic director at: athletic.director@berkeley.edu

Pac-12 division tie-breakers

One of my most popular posts over the years was my clear elaboration of the tie-breakers for who goes to the Rose Bowl in a year where there are Pac-10 co-champions (all tied for the lead would be champions, only 1 gets to go to the Rose Bowl). Here is my best shot at the same thing for the division tie-breakers:

*Note up front, it’s critical to notice the difference between the word conference, referring to all 12 teams in the conference, and division, the 6 teams in the appropriate half of the conference. For that reason, I’ve emphasized the word division as separate from conference.

  1. For two teams tied for the lead, head-to-head matchup breaks the tie.
  2. If for some inexplicable reason the two teams tied either don’t play each other or end the game in a tie (a really hard thing with overtime and all teams in the division scheduled to play each other), there is a set of rules I won’t go into, that includes DIVISION record, records against the other teams the DIVISION starting with 3rd place, record in common conference games, BCS ranking, total number of wins in the season and finally a coin toss.
  3. For 3 or more teams (the remainder of the rules are for that): record against the tied teams breaks the tie. The most likely case is 3, where one team beat both the others. If it’s a triangle (A beat B, B beat C and C beat A), continue on. If there are 4 teams, if one beat all the rest, it’s easy, but if not, some will be 2-1 versus the other while others 1-2 and there could be a 0-3. The one with the best record wins the tie-breaker. At this point you eliminate the teams that aren’t tied for the best record amongst the 4, and re-run the tie-breakers (so head-to-head if there are two, etc.). Of course if it’s more than 4 teams, the same logic applies.
  4. DIVISION record, i.e. only the games against the team in the division, whereas placing is determined by overall conference record.
  5. Record against the rest of the teams in the DIVISION, one by one. So if 3 teams are tied, look at the team in 4th place and eliminate the ones that did lose to 4th place and re-run the tie-breakers. If that doesn’t break the tie (i.e. all the tied teams either beat or lost to the 4th place team) go to the 5th place team and repeat. If that doesn’t work, repeat with the 6th place team. Obviously if 4 are tied, you start with 5th place.
  6. Record in common conference games. Frankly, this likely means looking at just a few in the other division, because we already looked at DIVISION record and to get here, the tied teams had the same record. Because of the missed teams in the other division, there will only be a few teams from the other division that played all the tied teams. By example for 2011 where UCLA, ASU and Utah are the candidates for the 3-way tie, the common opponents would be Cal, Oregon State and Washington State.
  7. Eliminate all but the highest 2 BCS rankings of the multiple tied teams and re-run the 2-team tie-breakers.

See, it’s simple, right? 🙂

Okanes laid off

It’s really tough sledding in the newspaper reporter business these days and Jonathan Okanes from the Bay Areas Newspaper Group, which includes his “home” paper of the Contra Costa Times, the Oakland Tribune and many other smaller East Bay papers, has been laid off as a result of those tough times.

I wanted to quickly share that I had the chance to work with him the entire time I was working for Rivals and always enjoyed his company. He was very professional and courteous, plus easy to get along with. Frankly, he always took the lead at press conferences and set the tone. There will be a void in Cal Bear reporting that might be difficult to fill.

I’m very sorry to hear him go, and I wish him and his family the best (he has young kids as I do). Hopefully he’ll land on his feet with another job, one that in the end will be even better than the Cal beat for BANG.

Steve Jobs, RIP

I know this is off topic for a Cal Bears blog, but seeing as how both Jason and I work in the technology industry, he even more closely than I in the Apple world, I felt it was OK to do a cross-link to my personal/Catholic blog:

http://thecrawfordfamily.net/blog/?p=661

(Jason here. Here’s my take on Steve Jobs, for Macworld.)

Alcohol and football stadiums don’t mix well

I spent a fair amount of time commenting on this in yesterday’s podcast, but I thought this was a topic worth expounding on further.

As long as I’ve gone to Cal games, 1999 was my first season, there has always been no alcohol sold at Cal games. Frankly, being someone who doesn’t drink a whole lot, I never thought much about it. This is not to say that I’m anti-alcohol, I’m Catholic not Fundamentalist after all. While it’s not exactly something to brag about amongst drinkers, it’s a tradition in my house to buy a new type of beer to drink on New Years day while I watch the Rose Bowl. So I’m not even against mixing alcohol and football in the privacy of one’s home.

But Saturday there was beer for sale at the game at Candlestick and it got me to thinking: I’m very glad it’s not for sale at Cal home games. There was a different vibe to the crowd. There were more “boisterous” people, people who were there seemingly with the purpose of engaging and annoying others. They swore like sailors, despite the fact that there were 2 kids ages 6 and 8 within 10 feet of them. While it was most definitely tolerable, I would still have brought the kids even having known those bozos were going to be there, it was not as pleasant as the average Cal gameday experience.

It had always been my understanding that the no-alcohol rule was a Pac-10 rule, but research this morning has proven otherwise. USC had alcohol for sale to the general public through 2004, banning it for the 2005 season as fan behavior deteriorated. Notable in the article was that the pressure banning it did NOT come from either the Pac-10 or the NCAA.

However, since 2005, no Pac-10 and now no Pac-12 team has allowed alcohol for sale to the general public. We’re not alone. As more and more schools have had to deal with alcohol related problems, they’ve taken to banning alcohol at the games as a way to control this. Alcohol is banned at all football games on CSU campuses, by executive order from the CSU chancellor starting with the 2006 season. A voluntary 2003 survey of 77 campuses showed only 26% of schools sold alcohol during games. For the most part, it seems that these tactics are working.

But what I found troubling during research this morning was that there seems to be a movement to start reintroducing alcohol for sale to the general public at games in the Pac-12. As if this should be a surprise, one of the main motives is money. They’ve seen how much money they make selling it to donors in either the suites or in adjacent to the stadium facilities (ASU, both Oregon schools, both Washington schools and starting this year Cal, all either sell or give-away alcohol to the high-end donors). They’d like to expand that revenue opportunity.

I think this is a big mistake.

I’m no fool. I know that lots of people sneak in alcohol. I know lots of people get loaded up before the game, hoping the buzz will last through the game. My wife and I had the unfortunate experience in either 1999 or 2001 of sitting in front of a recent Cal grad at the Big Game in the old Stanford stadium who was VERY liquored up when he sat behind us and thought it was the funniest thing to yell out (assumably to the Stanford team on the field) “your mom eats kitty litter!” Around the mid-2nd quarter the alcohol induced stupor set-in and during half time he puked all over the place, with the splatter getting all over my wife.

So I understand that the alcohol ban does not stop people from drinking or being drunk. But forcing it “underground” has numerous positive effects. People don’t feel as comfortable “acting drunk”. Sneaking it in is hard enough that for those who just have to drink, it’s too risky to to rely on it as one’s means for drinking. Alternatively it takes a lot of planning to be drunk enough before the game so that it’ll last through the game but not so drunk that you don’t make it to the game. This is particularly true in Berkeley where the travel time to the stadium and lack of tailgating make it hard to consume copious amounts of alcohol close to game time. As a result, I’ve found that the few people I’ve identified as drunk are usually mellowing out by the 2nd quarter or are being very careful about sneaking and concealing it.

But even those instances are rare. I think the no-alcohol environment leads to a self-selecting, weeding out process where people who list getting drunk as a key attribute to going to a football game, eventually choose to go elsewhere for their football. It’s just not fun to have to plan and work so hard to get drunk. Why do that when you can go to pro-football games and get drunk with ease? As such, in 12 seasons of Cal football I only have that one ‘kitty-litter’ story to tell until the game at Candlestick. The only fan issues I’ve ever dealt with, and they are very few and far between, relate to the cramped spaces at Memorial (people stepping on each other trying to get in and out of rows, people elbowing or accidentally punching people when jumping up to cheer, the 2009 USC game concourse debacle, etc.).

And frankly, I like it that way (well, more space would be nice too).

Let’s keep Cal football the amazingly family friendly environment it has always been. I don’t mind the beer for sale at the fun zone. I don’t mind the beer and wine for sale for the big time donors. That amount of beer isn’t going to result in the sorts of bozos I had to tolerate on Saturday. But sadly, despite being a very small percentage of the overall crowd base, these bozos have the potential to cause discomfort and irritation to people in a 30-seat radius of their belligerent antics.

I’d much rather continue to enjoy football games in Berkeley without them, even if that means the rest of us have to go without an otherwise enjoyable beer or two during the game.

Say a Prayer for the ND student who died

For those of you who pray, take a moment to pray for the soul of the Notre Dame student who died yesterday while filming the football practice. Apparently they had him up on a scissor lift to get a good angle and there were high winds in the area that blew the scissor lift over, killing him in the fall.

Such a tragedy. Football may be fun, but it’s nothing worth dying over.

May God have mercy on him and us all, and grant him Eternal Peace.

Spring “scrimmage”

I put “scrimmage” in quotes because it’s not really a scrimmage like it was before Tedford came along. It’s really just the one practice of the year that is open to the general public. In any case, this year it’s being held April 17th from 9 AM to 11 AM. You can find what few details there are here:

http://www.calbears.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/040710aaa.html

I personally find it very enjoyable to go to this and I always make it a habit of going. I bring the kids and it’s a very relaxed environment. Usually they give out free food but there’s no mention of it in this year’s press release and seeing how its in the morning, not at noon like in past years, I suspect there won’t be any food.

The other thing it is nice for is for those who have never been to a regular practice is to see what they’re like. You get to see the warm-ups, the drills, the partial scrimmages (like the 5-on-5’s and the 7-on-7’s), the full scrimmages, how they order things, etc..

We tend to sit on the 50 yard line about 2/3rds of the way up (about row 30-40) so if you see two big guys (my brother is coming too) with 3 boys ages 2, 5 and 6, it’s probably us and feel free to come up and say hi.

Got lucky and a reminder

Normally I’m one of the first to renew my season tickets so I don’t even make note of the deadline of when one has to renew to guarantee their same seats. But this year, we’ve been trying to figure out what to do parking wise after last year change to the shuttle buses that make it just as expensive for the family to take the bus in as to get a parking pass.

I literally was just bored when I decided to go to Calbears.com today and say that the deadline is TODAY!

Of course, I quickly renewed my tickets and therefore consider myself lucky. For whoever else out there has forgotten, renew TODAY! It’s the last day, April 8th.

Tedford’s 100th game

This Saturday’s Big Game is Tedford’s 100th game. I wrote a column for BearTerritory.net about it (all the writers wrote something, it was a concerted effort). And because it’s a big deal, most of the columns are free for all to read, including mine.

I think that column is some of my best reporting work. A lot of research went into it, too much of which ended up on the cutting room floor as they say in the movies. So I wanted to share some more:

  • 100 games is the 3rd most in Cal history behind Pappy (103) and Stub Allison (102). They’re both proof that one has to be pretty good as a coach to reach 100 games at Cal. (Pappy has 3 Rose Bowls to his name and Stub has 1)
  • Tedford is 4th in all time wins, a game behind Pappy, and then in position to pass Andy Smith (74) and James Schaeffer (73) next year.
  • His winning percentage is also exceptional. If the Bears can pull the upset Saturday he’ll be tied with Pappy for the best win percentage at 67% of their game (this excludes the coaches from 1925 and earlier, which includes Smith and Schaeffer. If you saw the percentage leaderboard, where there are 10 coaches in front of Tedford and Pappy, but all of them are 1925 and earlier, you’d readily understand why there is a tendency to focus on the “modern era” when it comes to winning percentage.)
  • Probably the most “unfair” credit that Tedford gets is the number of bowl games, at least when it’s compared to previous coaches. The bowl revolution happened in the mid-90’s and so no coach other than Holmoe coached in an era when every bowl eligible team went to a bowl game. So the fact that no other Cal coach has been to 7 in a row doesn’t mean much in a historical context. Frankly, Pappy’s 3 Rose Bowls in a row is Cal’s most impressive Bowl stat.
  • However, when one looks at the number of teams who have been bowl eligible each of the last eight seasons, it’s a pretty small list. After all, if Florida State can’t win one of it’s last two games, (Maryland and Florida), then the longest streak would be 19 (Florida). In the Pac-10, only USC has been bowl eligible every year during that stretch. While overall numbers were tough to come by (the best I could come up with is that through 2007’s bowls, only 12 teams had an eight year streak but one (Michigan) has fallen off that list) a team is in pretty elite company these days when they’ve been bowl eligible eight years in a row.

Point being, what Tedford has accomplished is pretty amazingly awesome.

I know, I know, we all want the Rose Bowl so bad we spit up blood every time the Bears are eliminated from contention. And yes, I know, we’re not looking in great shape to reach that mark in the next year or two. But, while I concede things aren’t as Rosy as I’d like, at the same time that’s not as true as one thinks. If the Bears had beaten Oregon State, we could have easily gotten a share of the conference title, and if the right teams lost in these last couple weeks, we still could have seen the chips fall the right way to end up in Pasadena. Said another way, our chances would be as good as Stanford’s are right now. Next year is an even year and generally, even years are the Bears good years minus continually losing to USC in LA. But you know what, if this year showed anything, it showed that there will be years where one doesn’t have to beat USC to go to the Rose Bowl.

I also know that the last three seasons have seen the Bears plateau a bit. But you know what, every coach hits a lull. People were ready to lynch Bellotti at Oregon after his slow stretch from 2002-2004, but guess what, 2005-2008 were his best years at Oregon. I know how much it’s like rubbing salt in one’s eyes to think that see Stanford leap-frog Cal with their new head coach and getting the wins we’ve been dying for years to get. But it’s just one year and they’ve peaked at opportune times during this season.

Please, go read my column. Go back and remember what it was like back then. If you’re too recent of a fan to do that, do your best to imagine. We’ve completely lost all sense of context in the last few years. We NEED to remember where we were and just how much has been accomplished. The 100 game mark for Tedford provides an opportunity to do that.

I don’t know that the Bears are going to be able to beat Stanford on Saturday (a post on that later). I don’t know that the Bears will do better than the Poinsettia Bowl this year. But what I know, and I mean know, with an absolute confidence unmatched besides my love for my wife and children and my faith in God and the Catholic Church, is that Tedford has been a great coach for Cal and there’s no reason to doubt that he’ll continue to be a great coach for the program.

Thanks Coach Tedford! Here’s to 100 more!

Sandy listens!

Jason and I both had our thoughts about the crowd issues at the USC game and it’s nice to see that the University not only listened, but made some changes. Specifically, they liked my idea (not that I was unique in thinking it) of closing the concessions in the hallway, although they only intend to do that for the pregame, admittedly the most important time.

See their new updated Football Gameday Access Plan for all the details.

The one thing they seem intent on doing that is likely a fools errand if they don’t actually turn people away at the entrance is trying to get people to enter through the south entrance when their seats are on the south side of the stadium. If people are coming from the fun center or have parking on the north side of the stadium, they’re not going to listen to the advice and walk a considerable amount out of their way down Piedmont and around the I-House when they can enter the stadium right there and fight their way through.

It’s a noble attempt on the University’s part and I guess every person who does listen will be one less person crowding the concourse tunnel, but I don’t know if they can actually pull that part of their plan off to the degree that it’ll make a dent.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to see them listening to our feedback and implementing at least one sensible change, closing those concession stands, that I personally think would make a HUGE difference.

Safety first

You know when a game as disastrous as that game yet the first thing most people on the alumni side want to talk about is the crowds, something is drastically wrong. Jason and I didn’t plan to tag-team on this one and we don’t sit together or even near each other but we both had the same thought: Something has to be done about the crowd situation. You’ve read Jason’s letter, now here’s mine:

Dear Athletic Department,

I am writing to you about a matter that could be of grave, life threatening importance in the next couple years before the stadium renovation is complete. The crowds at Memorial Stadium at the football game on October 3rd were a major problem. Even though I got to my seats 90 minutes before the game and had no problems personally, it was very clear that there was a disaster brewing in the hallways and tunnels. People were swearing and crying and distraught when they came to their seats. Other people just needed to get out of the hallways and came flowing out of the tunnel just gasping for a minuscule amount of breathing room. So many did this that the stairwells between the sections were gridlock and tempers flared even once people were out of the hallways and tunnels.

When I took my children to the bathroom late in the 2nd quarter things had calmed down just enough that it wasn’t gridlock in the hallways, but it quickly became clear what one of the major bottlenecks was. There are 2 (or perhaps 3 or 4) concession stands that are directly in the concourse hallways. I’m not referring to the concession stands below G and GG that have a large area for lines and milling around. I’m talking about the ones underneath EE and I believe either HH or I. They are directly in the hallway and any line that forms completely for those concessions blocks the walkway.

This was a problem and an inconvenience even when the service road outside the stadium (but inside the fence) was open. It allowed people a second route to make their way around the stadium. However, with the Student Athlete High Performance Center (SAHPC) under construction, the ONLY place to get around the stadium between E and HH is the concourse hallway. These two concession stands are a HUGE problem this year and caused panic, gridlock and lots of hurt emotions. I literally saw women and children crying, their evening completely ruined, as they came out of the concourse.

For safety reasons, it is imperative that you close these two concession stands until construction of the SAHPC is complete.

I’ve also heard from friends that they believe it would be wise to reduce the capacity of the stadium until the SAHPC is complete and I support that idea as well. I think putting back up the Toyota blue and gold zone banners and not selling those tickets for the remainder of the year would be wise.

I know that the University did their best with the raised walkways to try and mitigate the construction, but unfortunately it was not enough. Please consider closing the in hallway concession stands (and if necessary reduce capacity). It is a health and safety issue of the highest order.

Ken Crawford
Season Ticket holder since 1999

A good night sleep

After I finished up my post-game articles, I went to the local brewery, had a good beer, went back to the hotel and after checking my e-mail and the blog, went to sleep.

And a good night of sleep it was.

There was no tearing out my hair in the middle of the night, no restless tossing and turning, just good, solid, high quality sleep.

And the world is not such a bad place today.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a lot to worry about on this team, but it’s a lot easier to have perspective after a good nights sleep.

(More to come, including the OTRH podcast)

Reminder: come hear me talk

Tomorrow’s (Wednesday) the day: 9/16 @ 5:00 PM in Sac:

Sacramento Grid Club

Happy FETS day!

Over at CGB they were obsessed enough with anniversaries to remember that today is the 1st anniversary of the extraction of the last of the tree-sitters from in front of Memorial Stadium. There seems to be a push to call this day TURD (Treesitters Untethered and Removed Day), but we’re a little more mature over here at EMFMV and I suggest an alternate name of FETS day (Final Extraction of Tree Sitters).

Let September 9th be forever remembered as FETS day!

Consider this the thread to comment “Where were you on FETS day?”

I’ll kick it off:

I was in New York City for the first time in my life. I had flown from Spokane Washington to Springfield, MA on the preceeding Sunday to pick up my brother en route to the Maryland game the following Saturday. The plan was to take a week going down the coast to see the sites. Tuesday we drove down to New York City from Mass. and saw the World Trade Center wreckage, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Central Station, the Empire State Building and had lunch at the first place to make Pizza in the US. You can read more details here. I had NO IDEA that the trees were coming down until late in the evening when we checked into our hotel and I got an Internet connection and for the first time all day felt really disappointed to be in New York City and not back home. But even still I didn’t have time to do extensive reading until the following evening and didn’t get a post up about it until then.

Where were you?

It’s been a good couple years for Campus Police

The Cal Campus Police gets strung up left and right for their actions, often unfairly.

But I think this week, in the wake of the Jaycee Duggart abduction resolution, is a great time to re-iterate how great a job this on-campus police force is doing.

While all the local police agencies, parole agents and sex offender monitoring agencies were bumbling around and unable to detect that the girl/woman had been held hostage in their literal backyard, it was a UC Berkeley police officer who was responsible for breaking this case wide open.

Between this and the tree-sitter situation last year, it’s been a great couple years for the UC Berkeley police.

UCB Police, we solute you!

Speaking date moved to 9/16

Just an FYI, if you go to the Sacramento Grid Club meeting on September 9th you’ll get the privilege of hearing Jonathan Okanes speak. He needed to change days because of a conflict that recently came up so I switched with him.

If you’re foolish enough to prefer hearing me speak, you’ve got to come on Wednesday, September 16th.

SAHPC pedestrian traffic issues

When I arrived at Memorial Stadium for the first time in the fall last week, there was a newly installed railing on the Alumni side in what used to be row 27, which was now missing. It stretched from D to HH. When I asked about it, one of the other reporters said that it had something to do with crowd control now that the SAHPC was under construction.

My initial response was that I didn’t see how things were going to be different because the tree sitters had the entire area blocked off both of the last two years. However, in retrospect, I realized that response was incorrect. The excavation for the SAHPC further eliminated the walkway around the west side of the stadium. It’ll be physically impossible to exit the stadium on the west side. One would have to walk around the concourse to either the north or south exit because of the new excavation.

Well, it turns out that the Athletic department thought this through and decided to put a smaller than the previous walkway but still a HUGE benefit, elevated (in the sense that it is over the top of the SAHPC construction site, but it’s level with the old ground level) walkway that will allow for some number of people to continue to walk outside the western rim.

Then, on Friday, they released a exit plan for games that showed where they hope fans from each section will exit. (You can find a PDF of the critical graphic for better resolution, here.)

As you can see if you look closely at the PDF, the hope is every one below the new railing will exit towards the field instead of into the concourse or to the new elevated walkways.

Just an FYI for better planning… I’ll take some pictures of all of this, including overall pictures of construction progress, tomorrow when I’m back at the stadium for practice.

Come here me speak on 9/9! – errr… 9/16

UPDATE on 8/20: My speaking date changed to Weds. Sept. 16th. Please come on that day if you want to hear me speak.

Every once in a rare while I get invited to speak at some Cal related function. One in particular is the Sacramento Grid Club that has asked me to come speak at their meeting on September 9th. If you’re in the Sacramento area and want to up your stalker credentials, coming to hear me speak should be on the top of your priority list.

The Grid Club is a Cal football fan club. I guess there are a number around the state. They have weekly meetings to go over the previous game and have speakers come in. In the past they’ve just asked me the weekend before their weekly event, but this year they’re filling out their schedule early. I’ll be speaking about how the team is coming together, particularly how the change from Cignetti to Ludwig is going and what to expect from the offense for the rest of the season. I’ll also be talking about year two of the 3-4 switch over, which will work out well since the Defensive Coordinator Bob Gregory will be making a call in appearance just before my talk.

More details about the Sac Grid Club are available on their website, which is www.sacgridclub.com. The meeting is open to anyone, but they do hope that if you attend and you like what you see, you’ll consider joining (annual cost is something like $50-$60). They request that you join if you come to more than two events a year.

The location of the meeting is at the Sterling Hotel, which is located at the corner of 13th and H Streets in downtown Sacramento. The meeting starts at 5:00 PM with a review of the Maryland game film, Gregory is on at 6:00 PM and I’m on at 6:15 PM.

Come on out on Wednesday September 9th!

Praises to my wife

10 years ago today my wife and I were married, starting on what has been a surprise filled journey more wonderful than anything I could have planned for those years. It’s difficult to put into a few sentences what has been so wonderful about my marriage but to say she somehow manages to both make me a better person on a daily basis while simultaneously bringing great joy to me constantly. She is both the mother of my children, an awesome one at that, and a dedicated, loving, caring, funny and alluring wife.

So today I say thank you to my wife of 10 years. I love you honey!

Here’s to 50 more years…