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Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Guest Post: Campus Spirit at Berkeley
by Amanda Williams
[Amanda Williams is the Chairman of Rally Committee. Rally Comittee is the largest student groups on campus, and the "Proud Keepers of California Spirit and Tradition."]
It was Fall, 2001: my first semester as a student at Cal. And my first thought, naturally was, “When’s the first football game?” Needless to say, it turned out not to be the football team’s year. The seniors are now among the last students to have stood in the pouring rain during the Cal-USC game that year, among the last to have witnessed a losing season, among the last to have gone without a single home victory, and among the last to have lost the Big Game and to have gone yet another year without reclaiming the Axe.
At long last, however, that drought is over. As a freshman, I wouldn’t have thought that three years later we would be where we are: in the middle of a great turn-around, the proud keepers of the Axe, and the victorious Insight Bowl Champions. It is amazing to walk through campus and actually hear people discussing whether they will be attending football games… and actually discussing whether they plan on arriving in time for kick-off! Even during my sophomore year, when the Rally Committee was busily hanging banners on buildings and stringing lights from Sather Gate during Big Game Week, countless students stopped to ask us why we were decorating the campus. Last year proved, however, that the turn-around was truly in full swing.
This year, not only are more students aware of Cal Spirit, but they are acting on that awareness and actually purchasing student season tickets. It has gotten to the point that the Student Section is sold out for the Big Game. Anyone who saw the stadium three years ago would scarcely be able to believe it. I still have trouble grasping the full impact of all of the changes that have taken place during my brief stay at Cal.
The upshot is that Spirit is on the rise, and I encourage all of those students who have yet to experience a little dose of Cal Spirit to take the opportunity while they have it. We only get opportunities like this once in life.
And of course this applies not only to football, but to Cal Athletics in general. All one had to do was turn on the Olympics this summer to experience a little Cal Spirit. How could anyone watch Duje Draganja swim with his Cal cap on and not feel just the slightest bit of pride in the accomplishments of the athletes that attend Cal? And of course there’s no need to go into great detail about Natalie Coughlin. And these were just two out of the many athletes representing Cal this summer.
Obviously this list is not nearly complete as far as the successes of our student athletes are concerned, but there’s not nearly enough space to try to mention everyone. So just believe me as a Rally Committee member and as someone who has dedicated almost every spare moment of my collegiate career to Cal Spirit that there is an amazing difference this year. If you were not here for the 2001 football season it is probably a little more difficult to feel the change that has taken place, but it is very palpable… and very, very exciting. Enjoy the fall seasons, and as always, Go Bears!
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