Road Trip Journal

<p class=txt> What a great game! Thought I'd pass along a brief summary, plus a couple of photos... looking forward to USC and UCLA... <br>PerpetualBear <br> <IMG SRC= HEIGHT=225 WIDTH=300> <br>

Friday 9 a.m. The Seattle Times sports section has a huge front-page spread titled "The Streak," detailing Cal's futility against Washington since 1976. I learn that of UW's 10 greatest comebacks in history, 5 have come against Cal during "The Streak." It's not much fun reading a thorough re-hashing of all our suffering, but the blatant media gloating seems like a potentially good omen.

2:15 p.m. I'm walking around Seattle wearing my Cal cap and a guy wearing a UW football jersey flashes me the three-finger "W" salute with a "Go Huskies!" He is insecure and worried -- I can see it in his eyes.

Saturday 11:55 a.m. Dad, Mom, my buddy Gordon from law school, his wife Susan, their son Peter, and I make our way to the game. It's a great stroll from Gordon and Susan's house to Husky Stadium -- a 10-minute walk from a leafy neighborhood on the south side of campus. Many "W" banners hang from residential balconies and porches. We funnel into gameday walking traffic like tributaries into a rushing river. Everybody is wearing purple and gold. The approach to the stadium is scenic and calming as we cross the Lake Washington Canal and see sailboats out on Union Bay. The weather is decent -- heavy cloud cover but a balmy 60 or so degrees.

12:20 p.m. After finding Chuck Schmitz outside the stadium, we find our seats in the corner of the west end zone. I feel comforted by the turnout of the Cal faithful. Finally some blue and gold in our midst. We fill one section and cheer lustily as the Bears storm the field. We feel strong.

12:22 p.m. The Huskies come out of the tunnel and the crowd erupts. This place is loud. Their players are large. There is purple everywhere. We feel small and insignificant.

12:33 p.m. Kickoff! Bears take the touchback and piece together a couple of first downs. They have to punt, but thankfully they quiet the crowd a bit. Our seats are pretty bad -- far enough away to feel distant from the field (unfortunately Husky Stadium has a track) but not far enough up to provide any useful perspective of the field. Did we just see a 14-yard gain or a 6-yard loss? It is rarely easy to tell... too bad JMK is not here; he would know. We watch much of the action on the video screen in the opposite end zone, which fortunately shows every play live and shows replays (even after controversial calls -- why can't they do the same at Memorial?)

12:58 p.m. The Bears draw first blood with a flea flicker 40-yard TD to Makonnen, who runs right toward us to score. Wow! Hopes are rising.

1:08 p.m. UW drives 70+ yards in less than 3 minutes, and a Husky FG follows soon after. Our secondary looks so incredibly vulnerable. Hopes are falling... but certainly not dashed.

2:20 p.m. The end of the second quarter drags on in a haze of penalties, timeouts, and incompletions. Luckily a long UW TD is taken off the board by an illegal shift penalty. The Bears are getting flagged all over the place for pass interference but the Husky fans want even more calls their way. They boo like maniacs on every clean pass defense executed by Cal. What a bunch of whiners... from my "objective" view, Cal is jobbed on one PI call where the DB wasn't really close to the receiver, but also gets away with pretty blatant PI on a no-call. Overall it seems like a wash to me, but when UW manages only a FG to close the half and to draw within 21-16, the fans are utterly beside themselves with indignation. Vicious boos greet the Bears as they run through the tunnel, but there is even harsher vitriol for the zebras as they head in for the break.

2:25 p.m. It's halftime and we're winning... wow! But we led at half each of the past three years, we remind ourselves. It's gonna be a long afternoon. I try to prepare myself for the inevitable onslaught.

2:36 p.m. We have a Frasca sighting! The ubiquitous Uncle Nick is at the bottom of the stands and we spot him working the crowd, continuing his powerful -- unstoppable? -- run at MVF. Truly impressive. Lars drops by, too, noting his presence and Looper's absence at a Cal game way up here in the Pacific Northwest... but he is more distracted by alarming Giants scores dribbling in on the Husky scoreboard (no radio coverage of the Giants-Braves game in Seattle denies him the rare pleasure of watching one important game while listening to another).

2:58 p.m. We stop UW's first drive of the 2nd half and respond with a quick TD to take a 27-16 lead. Can this be happening? We go for the two-point conversion but fail. A debate over the wisdom of this choice will prevail among us for the rest of the game. Chuck Schmitz is on record objecting strongly to this decision as it is made. The rest of us are too confused by the math to form an intelligent opinion. Although we have a 11-point lead with 11 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, all I can think is how perfectly this is shaping up for a collapse. The Bear receivers are dropping balls again...

3:21 p.m. Late in the 3rd quarter the Bears start a drive from inside their own 10-yard line for seemingly the 9th time today. The crowd is deafening. The 25-second "drive" ends badly when Boller is flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone and the Huskies get a safety to pull to 27-18. The crowd gets even louder. The shift in momentum feels gigantic. This is a perfect setup for our imminent 4th quarter choke. Breathing is becoming difficult but I try to stay calm. Where will this game rank in the list of all-time Husky comebacks?

4:15 p.m. The last hour-plus is a haze... chest-tightening, stomach churning, fist clenching anxiety abounds as the Huskies mount a respectable (but fortunately not a "Top 10") comeback. Joe Igber's fumble with 4 minutes left causes spasms of pain and anger. I'm sure we're done for... but we survive. Possibly the slowest 4 minutes of football I have ever experienced, both literally and emotionally.

4:21 p.m. We win! It's bizarre. My first game at Husky Stadium and we end "The Streak." We cheer out of relief as much as joy, still very tense from all of the trauma. The players come to our section to salute and we go crazy. The "Bear Territory" chant ensues with much passion. How many times have we seen visiting teams do this sort of thing at Memorial?

4:33 p.m. We are heckled by a random group of Husky fans on our walk home. It is SO worth it.

9:33 p.m. We all watch SportsCenter together, expectantly awaiting an extended detailing of our huge upset over a No. 12 team. We are disappointed by the very brief highlights. Still, our score appears on the ticker at the bottom of the screen all evening, and every time it says the same thing:

> California 34 (12) Washington 27

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