Monday, March 2, 2009


So I went on a driving trip to Northern California, which we typically call Norcal. Rain was initially a concern but luckily, it only rained the morning of our return trip home and only for a very short time. Spending some time with the bro for the first time in two months was a highlight, and it's unfortunate that the trip had to be three days, two of which were mostly spent driving. The other highlight of the trip was going to my first ever away game. Yeah, my first ever UCLA basketball game on the road.

Unfortunately, no pictures were taken, so we'll have to rely on the photos residing in my mind's eye. So it's a good thing I'm writing this now and not a week from now. UC Berkeley's (known better in sports as Cal) Haas Pavilion is very different from UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. Where Pauley has a wide, gradual bowl-shaped seating structure, Haas's is much more narrow and steep. Fans get to their seats via narrow, circuitous, crowded indoor hallways, sort of like Staples Center or any other big arena, but without the spacious corridors. The other rather sharp contrast was the fans. I love my Bruins, but Cal fans really seem to be much more into it as far as cheering went. Whereas the home crowd at Pauley was liable to fall asleep for long stretches of play, the Cal fans were always cheering and always making noise. I finally understand what a home court advantage is like - except we weren't at home. There was literally so much buzz that I couldn't hear the P.A. or the band.

I could, however, hear the Cal fan to my right very clearly. He wasn't behaving obnoxiously per se, but his yell of "GO BEARS!" about every twenty seconds really began to get on my nerves as the game wore on. And sometimes it was more like "GoBEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARS!" Geez man, I'm surprised I'm not deaf yet. It was really an intense game, and the hostile crowd really made for a fantastic and memorable atmosphere. But the best thing was that the Bruins won. Don Maclean frequently likes to say that the home crowd is good for about 4-6 points and the visiting team needs to play well enough to overcome not only their opponent but also that crowd advantage. To me it was more like 10 points from the crowd. At least that's what my ears were telling me after the game.

I really wanted to tell the guy next to me "Go BRUINS!" after the game, but thought better of it. Hey, I'm a classy guy.

The Pac-10 regular season is winding down, with only two more games left for UCLA. Oregon State is on the menu for Thursday, followed by Oregon on Saturday. Two not very great teams, but not to be overlooked, since a loss means no chance to share in the Pac-10 title. We'll see how it shakes out.

Oh, and if you want the best egg custards ever, go to Golden Gate Bakery in San Francisco.