May 10, 2008

Stanford Pollutant

I grew up in the shadows of two great universities. Living in the Bay Area, they both certainly made their presence and they certainly were not something you wouldn't notice at all. In the fall, their games would be broadcast on television and towards Christmas, the Big Game would just spread over the Bay Area. But until three years ago, I hardly even knew the definition of "Big Game". In fact, College football wasn't a priority. Not at all. I would work as an ordinary student at an ordinary high school in an ordinary town. Not to say in the least that Alameda was ordinary all the time. I bode my time well, making friends and having as much fun as possible, but when it came time to choose colleges, there were too many options ahead of me.

Another thing, let me tell you. I grew up knowing where UC Berkeley was, but not Stanford. I always thought it was somewhere north of Berkeley, but then, I think it was senior year of High School when I bothered to look up where it was. Apparently, its in a place called Palo Alto.

But a big decision in shaping me was football. I didn't like it at first, but when on the local level you could relate, then it became personal. My first memory of Memorial Stadium was around early October of 2006 when my friend's family offered to take me along. It was amazing. The first thing you could do was the march to victory, the parade route Cal Band always took from Sproul up to Memorial. Its changed now, since all that construction on the Bancroft has stepped up. You'd enter this gigantic archway and find your seats, watch the band just burst out of the tunnel to two "bombs" as they're called and watch pregame. The cannon on the hill would fire and the general atmosphere would be amazing. For me, my first time was absolutely breath taking. People were cheering, students were standing, I was sitting, etc. And at that point, I fell in love with Cal. I never knew this sort of thing existed. I mean, sure, i've heard of the play and stuff, but not in this context. This brought it upon a whole new level. I always assumed that Cal was the place where smart people go. I never realized that there would be this informal, football loving side to the university.

From that point on, I always saw Stanford as the enemy. I stopped wearing my stanford sweatshirt permanently, and I gave away my Stanford Tshirt. The only reason I had those was because I just wanted college gear back in high school. Stanford, Cal, University of Virginia, it didn't mean much other than you got cool shit from one of those places. I had a really small sweatshirt I loved from University of Washington and I believe there's a Buckeyes sweatshirt somewhere that was a handmedown from my cousins. I still wear stuff from other places, all but Stanford.

But mind you, I've never been to Stanford. The occasion never called for me to go that far south on the peninsula. So my only impressions of it is, well, a school. For those of you who dont know what Berkeley is like, imagine this: A school was founded, but towards the early 20th century, a plan was envisioned. By one of the wealthiest women in the country. Willing to back up and finance this, the goal was to turn this school into the Athens of the West. Massive greek style buildings, amazing libraries, a Campinile, in other words, a model of the great learning civilizations of years past.

So what did I think of Stanford? My only images were those conjured from what I've heard. Flat, boring buildings and a stubby penis looking tower. Fair enough I suppose. But I'd never set foot onto the campus until December 1, 2007. When the majority of all these ideas were reinforced. Never had I seen such a flat spread out campus. Apart from Davis and Santa Barbara. But those were understandable. They had the space to spread out and merit Bike lanes and signals. There, it was just plain confusion. Trees and random ugly bits of land. Such a strange site to behold.

My view on Stanfordites weren't any better. We learned to watch our things, to be vigilant and to notice every single attack they may make. The day of bonfire, they tried to hang a banner. It fell, ripping the sheet. Epic Fail. That's all I need to say. Epic FAIL.

So with Rally Comm, my friends, and a few others, I visited Stanford with the notion that they were mean, cruel, evil and awkwardly weird. Seriously, I couldn't imagine a nice person from Stanford. Well, I suppose I could, but they'd be just normal students. A high school professor/colleague of mine was a Stanford Alum and decided to put a beat Cal sign on the wall. But it soon changed to read GO CAL. Lol. So my first visit to the farm, I couldn't find a single nice Stanford person. So at this point, I do my best to stay away from there.

Go Bears

- A Stanford student and a Cal Student were using the urinals in the bathroom of Memorial Stadium. They both finish up and the Stanford student walks to the sinks and starts washing up whereas the Cal student finishes and goes for the door. The Stanford student nonchalantly calls out: "At Stanford, they teach us to wash our hands after we pee. Without missing a beat, the Cal Student replies: "At Cal, they dont teach us to pee on our hands."


Melissa said...

Stanford isn't in Palo Alto, it's by it. Stanford is its own city.

melissa said...

Or at least that's what I was told when I went there.