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August 30, 2007

Bears, Don't Break My Heart

DeSean Jackson

Heisman Contender DeSean Jackson

With the Cal vs. Tennessee game only days away, in recent weeks, I have become overwhelmed with anticipation as I wait to see whether my beloved alma mater will avenge itself for the ignominious loss delivered to it last year by the dastardly Volunteers in front 100,000 people (and national television), or will it hold steadfast in its long-held reputation as an also-ran in a conference perennially (or so it seems) dominated by the evil Trojans of U$C. Such are the luxuries of unemployment.

To wit, it hasn't been easy being a Cal football fan since, well, Pappy—and my Dad was not even born when he started coaching. With the notable exception of The Play in 1982 (fuck you, Stanfurd!), which easily makes every list of the best sports moments in the 20th century, there's not been much to get excited about. For seven years in a row (1995–2001), Cal lost the Big Game to Stanfurd (admittedly, I didn't know Cal and Berkeley were one and the same for six of those years), and as recently as 2001 (my freshman year), Cal went 1–10. Incidentally, I attended every single home game that year—and people wonder why I'm so bitter.

With the arrival of Messiah—oops, um, Jeff Tedford—things started to look up in 2002. And yet, despite four subsequent winning seasons, Cal has always finished the year in mediocrity. I mean, granted, in 2002, I remember being absolutely ecstatic about being over 500, and 2003 was not so bad, with the triple overtime victory over U$C and a trip to the Insight Bowl, but that's it: not so bad. Not freakin' awesome! And certainly not, BCS Bowl awesome.

With expectations rising exponentially each year, Cal has found it hard to deliver. The 2004 season was a bittersweet finish for my college career; though we got a sizable victory in the Big Game, we lost the Rose Bowl bid due to a controversial (read: shady) move by Texas in the Coaches' Poll (damn the BCS!). In 2005, with expectations running even higher, Joe Ayoob single-handedly destroyed the season with his innovative passing style that insisted receivers be 10 yards farther downfield than they were; the Las Vegas Bowl was small consolation for a humbling season. And 2006, with our highest pre-season ranking in memory (#9), we lost to Tennessee in our first game! And not just lost; we got destroyed.

This year, for the first year in seven, I won't hold season tickets, and Murphy's Law demands that this be the season we actually don't disappoint. But who knows: the last time we won big was 1958, so maybe I can continue to drown my sorrows prolifically, now with the additional bonus of snow and sub-zero Chicago winters to add to the depression. Any Cal folks out in Chicago want to join in the misery?

Please Bears, don't break my heart—not again.


Serves you right, given all the hearts you've broken (and continue to break) in your life.

Sorry Rohit, the Pac-10 belongs to the BRUINS. And please don't embarrass our conference again to the SEC.

Rohit, I too had waited in anticipation for a full year for the game. I watched in jubilation (intermixed with nostalgia at all the camera views of Berkeley) as the Bears pounded the Vols last night. What made it even better is that entire city of Gainesville was cheering for Cal to beat our SEC rivals. Ah the sweetness of revenge... Florida will see Tennessee down here in two weeks and we'll do our best to imitate what Cal did last night. This could be the season for the Bears, finally!!!

There are still tickets available, probably...

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