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Roll on you Bears

Roll on you Bears

Cal athletics has a special place in my heart. I was a Cal gymnast back in the day, my husband was a Cal football quarterback, and – thanks to a match-making trainer – we met in the Cal training room while both mending ankle injuries. Athletics were a big part of our lives, and it goes without saying that UC Berkeley was equally important. While we were both impressive athletes (I think I can safely say that since we both earned scholarships), we are equally terrible fans. We rarely check game/competition results, let alone schedules, so we were pleasantly surprised to hear from some Cal football friends that they were in town this weekend with the team for the Cal vs. San Diego State game.

Would we like to come hang out on the sidelines during the game, they asked? Why yes, yes we would thanks. It was awesome to catch up with our beloved Cal friends, and it was invigorating to step back into the world of intense physical competition (particularly given how accustomed I’ve become to sloth-like academic cush). But watching the team and hearing about their schedules and daily happenings sent us into major flashbacks that honestly made my pulse race and stomach want to vacate its contents (because that’s how I constantly felt as a student-athlete: exhausted, physically ill, and stressed out).

We had a great time watching our alma mater, and we send our full congratulations to all the guys who played this weekend. With the clarity that hindsight and time provides, two former athletes can tell you this:

You’re in the midst of an awesome ride. Enjoy it, because nothing that follows will ever compare. But don’t feel bad if you’re so damn tired you can barely remember what day it is or what you’re supposed to be doing – that happens. And one day, many years into the future, you will wake up in the morning and the first sensation you experience will not be excruciating pain lingering from the day before. And you will wonder if you’re dead, but then you’ll remember you just aren’t an elite athlete anymore, and that’s okay. Lots of people enjoy life without intense athletics, and you will too. And if you really want to, you can always catch up on that material you missed when you were just too tired for class, and maybe even contribute to that body of material if you feel so inclined.

Long live athletics. You have my heart forever.

Returning to old stomping grounds.

Returning to old stomping grounds.

Only a Golden Bear will find this appetizing: some Berkeley Topdog brought down by fans. They shared with us after recognizing a Cal quarterback.

Only a Golden Bear will find this appetizing: some Berkeley Topdog brought down by fans. They shared with us after recognizing a Cal quarterback.

Go Bears.

Go Bears.

Flash back to the early 2000's:

My favorite Cal quarterback playing alongside a very dear friend.

My favorite Cal quarterback playing alongside a very dear friend.

The only surviving acrobatic shot from my Cal gym days: wish it was from a different angle.

The only surviving acrobatic shot from my Cal gym days: wish it was from a different angle.

Photos from Cal vs. SDSU by Lauren Shipp or Reggie Robertson. Photos from early 2000's gifted to us years ago from a now unknown source.

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