February 17th, 2006

Bearing Down on the Cats

Writing about Cal's victory over Arizona last night -- the men's victory, I should say, since the women also won over the Wildcats -- San Francisco Chronicle columnist and sometime ESPN contributor Ray Ratto points out that, "the last time California beat Arizona so convincingly in Berkeley, Lute Olson was in his third year of coaching the Two Harbors High School Agates in picturesque Two Harbors, Minnesota. And coincidentally, Pete Newell was coaching what became the 1959 national champions." Last night's game was a hardly a rout. Even though the Bears led from start to finish, their biggest lead was only twelve points. Yet Ratto is right that they won convincingly. Although I occasionally made an effort to muster up the exaggerated pessimism that is, to the chagrin of my friends and family, the hallmark of my sports viewing -- at least when I care about the outcome -- I honestly felt that Cal was going to prevail throughout. I didn't even panic at the end.

Ratto goes on to add that, "it was also a potentially historic moment for the Cal program, with the proof being this: The crowd did not storm the court at the end of the game, and if that doesn't explain the game for you, then you just haven't paid attention these last ... what, 47 years?" I couldn't have said it better myself. Unless, of course, I'd said what I'm going to say right now, which is the fact that I'm only blogging about the game now is perhaps the best indicator of all that things have, at least for this one, close-to-becoming-special year, changed. Sure, I'm going to go rewatch the game with the remote in hand for slow-motion dissection. But the fact that A) I wasn't afraid to tape it, despite the jinx that typically afflicts the Bears when I do so; and B) that the jinx did not, in fact, materialize, indicates that we're moving into uncharted territory. Uncharted Bear territory. At least, that is, until Cal loses to last-place Arizona State on Saturday. . .