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Bearing Down on the Cats - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
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. . .


6 comments or Leave a comment
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: February 18th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I seem to recall Cal having some decent teams during the Jason Kidd era, and a couple good ones following his departure as well. Am I misremembering this or what? Arizona (let's not consider this season) has been beaten convincingly only a handful of times in the past 20 years, typically once or twice a season, and I'm not sure I agree that this game is good reason to gain an erection. Arizona is losing with stunning frequency this season, and I really don't feel as if they're a good barometer here. I would guess that some of the older Bears teams would whoop up on this year's squad, whether they beat Arizona in their heyday or not -- though I'll readily admit I haven't been following the Bears season, and I didn't watch the game.

I'm wondering if this season could mark the decline of the Wildcat dynasty. How badly will this season affect recruitment? And, I know Lute Olson has to be pondering retirement (and he's at that age now where anything can happen) and I'm wondering if the nation's elite high school guards will still want to attend Arizona without Olson there to shine their asses?

And also, why the hell doesn't anyone teach Henry Miller?! We need Miller and Sherwood Anderson in our American lit classes! Fix it!!!

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 18th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Right, that's what I was saying. Even the fans in Berkeley couldn't get it up for a court storming. This Cal team is better than any team since 2001-2002. That's not a dramatic statement, but after a few fallow years it matters a lot to me.

I don' think Lute is losing it. Actually, I'm not sure Lute was that great a game-day coach to begin with. He has always recruited well. He's great for developing talented players' individual games. But if yoy think about how much talent he had had over the years, the results are a little underwhelming.

Anyway, the team's best player this year is a freshman, Marcus Williams. And he has some very good recruits coming in. This is an aberration, in all likelihood. He plans to coach through 2011.

Interesting you mention teaching Henry Miller, since some legislators up in Phoenix are getting all hot and bothered about pornographic smut being forced on students. The text they're focusing their ire on, which they haven't read, is Rick Moody's The Ice Storm.
dlowestanimal From: dlowestanimal Date: February 19th, 2006 04:11 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I'll teach just about anything, but not Henry Miller. I have recommended him to a few students for outside reading, but there's just something about "O Tania, where now is that warm cunt of yours...there is a bone in my penis six inches long..." that makes me think of unemployment. Then again, I have included Lolita, Cuckoo's Nest, and Deliverance on my booklists (students pick their own books to read, thereby "exonerating me") over the past two years.
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: February 19th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, I seem to recall a couple students in your lit analysis class being offended by the 'pornography' in David Boring. I guess Miller may not be for everyone.

I can't believe there are still people who are wanting to put art on trial. We should be past this, really. We should. I actually haven't read The Ice Storm, but I love Moody's short stories, and it was pretty good movie...

You're spot on about Lute, I just don't know how much longer he's gonna be the coach, and what's going to happen to the program when he leaves.
tpratt From: tpratt Date: February 19th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)


what a difference one point makes, eh?

Or a phantom holding call in the Super Bowl, for that matter.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 20th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ouch

Indeed. . .
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