Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch
cbertsch

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A Long Time Coming

The last time Cal won in Tucson? 1995. A lot has happened since then, to say the least. Some of it has been great -- see my lovely daughter -- and some of it has been gruesome -- see 9/11 and its belated sequel, the global financial crisis. I'd started to think that the Bears would never win here. Year after year, I dutifully attended the game, thanks to the kindness of a former student on the Wildcat staff. Year after year, the results were the same. Usually Cal seemed hopelessly overmatched. The year I went with my dad was especially bad, as I recall. But the year I went with Skylar, Leon Powe's final season with the Bears, they actually had a chance to win. And lost.

This year I was torn between the impulse to go through the motions again and my irrational conviction that Cal's only chance was for me to stay away from McKale. Still, I wanted to go. And I almost went. When it didn't work out, though, I sat myself down in front of the television, and hoped against hope. Things looked bad for a while, as they had so many times before. But then the Bears settled themselves. They started taking advantage of Arizona's sloppy perimeter defense. Patrick Christopher broke out of a bad slump. Jorge Gutierrez sparked the team with his hustle and fine defense. And Jerome Randle caught fire. I'm still in shock:

Regular readers of this journal, even those who are bored by my entries pertaining to sports, will know this is a big deal for me. And those who know me best will have a more refined sense of just how big. I'm not going to trash the Wildcats. I actually like this year's Arizona team, despite its mental lapses. Chase Budinger plays basketball the way I have managed my intellectual labor. Jordan Hill is tremendous and so much fun to watch. I greatly enjoyed watching them beat Kansas in December with my friend Justin. But that's not going to be from singing to myself: "You know it. You know the story. Tell the whole damned world. . ."
Tags: autobiography, sports
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