last saturday, pre-head implosion, i went to my first college football game ever. at my alma mater, gwu, we just had an underachieving basketball team.
anyway, my bro, a cal alum, took me to see the cal bears play the uw huskies. to make things more interesting (and much cheaper), we hiked up tightwad hill. for a more complete history of the hill read this (it's a good read, even if you're not into sports). for those that bypass the link, tightwad hill overlooks memorial stadium (kind off like how people can sit on the roof and watch cubs games at wrigley field). not only do you get a great free view of the game, you also get an amazing panoramic view of the san francisco bay. it is scenery that i love deeply, right up there with the mountains north of vancouver. and we were able to see the cal marching band play their halftime tribute to tv theme songs and their formations. the best was the saved by the bell theme song and they formed a large bell. so unexpected and creative - that must be why they're at cal. nevertheless, the band is pretty cool, one year they did a weezer tribute for their halftime program.
remember, of course, that we are in berkeley. so there is this benevolent flair of anarchy and cheerful oddness that colors the whole scene on the hill (and most sporting events in general). there is no way to easily or gracefully ascend this very steep hill, as it is covered with slippery dead foliage and loose dirt eroded by past spectators. as people kicked back and drank their beer through the game, i wondered how they could possibly make it down the hill without injuring themselves.
we ended up next to a man armed with several coolerrs that had obviously been to many games, as he had staked out a great and stable spot on a ledge formed by the roots of two trees. he grinned with his crooked teeth for most of the game as he gulped down several cans of natty light ice then crushing the cans and throwing them past us down the hill when cal failed to perform to his standards (besides that though, the hill is surprisingly fairly clean - those hippies pick up after themselves). he kindly shared two cans of beer with my brother, who in turn shared them with me. mmmm... natty light. it has its own unique flavor that seems to complement football watching well.
twenty feet over, a pair of men paced and nervously smoked their joints, cursing the cal quarterback, the coach, and the entire cal football program nonstop throughout the whole game. i have never seen such an angry stoned person before. if that's what he was like when he was high, then i'd hate to see him when he wasn't high. our natty light friend clumsily sauntered over at one point to talk to them and when he came back pulled out some cigarette paper, but not before sharing with us again - passing my brother a pinch of tiny green bud and leaves. eric quickly stuffed them into his pocket. generosity occurs in unexpected ways and places.
cal went on to win in in thrilling style with an overtime victory, 31-24. it was hard not to get too excited and jump up and down, with the risk of sliding down the hill and all. i just may be a convert to college football fandom.