Caring about football (in October)

Today is the Big Game. The Big Game, people! It’s big. Really. And it’s not just because I care about it, which actually is kind of a big deal, since the extent of my football interest is limited to 1) my alma mater hopefully crushing Stanford each fall, 2a) Friday Night Lights and 2b) Tim Riggins. (For reference, see the Cal Bears famous play; this hilariously lo-fi Riggs highlight reel).

But, seriously, it means that Bay Area football rivals Cal and Stanford are facing off for the 115th year in a row. It’s usually on a crisp fall day in November. But this year, it’s in late October. Which is technically the Bay Area’s summer. It’s just weird. Some are disturbed: “The world is turned upside down,” said Bill Allen, 86, a Stanford alum, in a Chronicle article. “Everyone knows the Big Game comes at the end of the season. This is … just … wrong.”

Strange as it may be, the Bears (Cal) and Cardinals (Stanford—but really, their mascot is a tree) are vying for the axe, which is basically just a plaque with something that looks like a cartoon sledgehammer on it. (See?) For such a physically unimpressive, un-trophy-like thing, it’s the cause of quite a lot of drama. The holder of the axe proudly displays it on campus, and it’s even been stolen. It’s currently with Stanford, but it’s anybody’s game this year. And by anybody, I mean Berkeley or Stanford. Preferably Berkeley. Go Bears! Kick-off is at 12 PST, which should give me enough time to both find a bar in Brooklyn that’s playing it, and dig out my Cal sweatshirt.

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