Thursday, August 05, 2010


Husband went to Stanford. I've always been a Stanford fan and have been a Stanford radio DJ for going into my 11th year now.

My ex-husband, with whom I am still friends, went to Cal. Through him I met the people who went on to become my dearest friends. They also went to Cal. Of our book group, five members went to Cal.

Out here, the Stanford vs. Cal rivalry is long-standing and heated. It got me wondering why. How do rivalries get started? Of all the schools they play against, when Stanford is against Cal in anything, the crowds get wild.

Today I went to see the eye doctor, a Cal grad. Last year was my first visit to her and we got to talking about schools. She, as a joke, actually put it in my patient file that she would only agree to treat me if I promised not to wear a Stanford Cardinal sweatshirt when I came in for visits. Her assistant brought up my file and asked me to look it over to make sure everything was still correct and it's in the "special notes" area. I laughed at that.

I'm a huge SF Giants fan and love to attend their games. But the games against the LA Dodgers get especially heated. Chants of "Beat LA! Beat LA!" echo throughout AT&T Park. On game day, if you buy a soda, it comes in special "Beat LA" cups that are only used when they play the Dodgers. And I find it funny that it seems more important to the crowds that the Giants play well against LA. I mean games against, say, the San Diego Padres are equally important in the pennant race -- yet not as emotionally charged.

Perhaps it's part of the whole SF vs. LA thing. Those of us who were born and raised in Northern California will never accept that LA is anything other than a smog-filled, traffic-choked pit.

One other interesting division, though, is the use of the word "the." There's some sort invisible north vs. south thing when it comes to freeways. If you are on highway 101 up here that's what you say "I'll be taking 101 up to Marin County." But somewhere around, say, King City, a "the" gets added. "I'll be taking the 101 down to San Diego."

We don't need no stinkin' "the."


The Calico Quilter said...

This rabid rivalry thing is compounded by the behavior of a hunge number of fans who never went to the schools in question, didn't send their children there, and don't have any connection with the institutions or their sports departments. Their only basis for supporting the local team is because the school is located in a contiguous zip code to them. Like that's a reason for them to care.

I don't get the whole fan thing anyway. When I moved south to take my first post-college job, I checked into a hotel while looking for an apartment and found the lobby was decorated with the local university's initials and colors. It was like a parallel universe.

Decca said...

Here in the SF Bay area fandom very much based on the Peninsula vs. the East Bay. If you live on the Oakland side of the world then you are a Raiders and As fan. If you live in SF or the western part of the bay, you cheer for the 49ers and the Giants.

There's no reason why you can't cheer for the other team, it's just geography. But it's pretty clear-cut geography. If someone around here says they're a Raiders fan it's a safe be they grew up in the East Bay.