Letters to Sports: Another Big Game, Another Unfulfilled Senior
Wednesday, November 22, 2000
Four interceptions. Two blocked punts. One fumble.
More importantly: Six years.
I can finally say that in addition to completing 120 units, I have fulfilled my final graduation requirement by never having seen Cal beat Stanford.
The heartbreaking, error-filled loss on Saturday was not due to poor play. It was due to undisciplined play brought on by poor coaching. You can't blame the players. They play their hearts out. That Tom Holmoe received a one-year contract extension after these dismal four years appalls me.
Step up, alumni. Pressure Athletic Director John Kasser into regaining his senses and firing Tom Holmoe. I hear former ASU coach Bruce Snyder is looking for a job.
A Mic Man's Fond Farewell
My fellow Californians: After three and a half years of screaming, bouncing, and halftime speeches, I find myself having trouble finding the appropriate words.
It was my ambition to try to do everything at the University of California. This list included a multitude of extracurricular activities. By the end of my sophomore year, I erased everything below "Become a Mic Man."
One year of service to this school's athletic programs had convinced me that anything else would pale in comparison. As a result, I find myself nearing graduation with memories that I would not trade for anything.
Except for the outcome, I could not have asked for a better conclusion to my career than at this 2000 Big Game. I stood before a cheering section that was willing to lose its voice for the chance to bring home the Axe. You stood proud for 60 clock minutes plus overtime. Many of you passed up a few extra drinks or an hour of sleep to make it to Memorial Stadium well before the Bears took the field. We may not win every game on the scoreboard, but this school defeats its opponents in every other possible way.
If there is one thing I can say to summarize my experiences at Cal, it would be to always remember that being a Golden Bear does not mean to expect great things, but it is to make great things happen. I can recall countless occasions where a motivated cheering section changed the course of a game for the better. Thank you for pouring your hearts out for this school. You've made my job a pleasure and an honor.
While I will not be wearing the tie, I look forward to continue cheering on our Bears beside each and every one of you.
Senior Mic Man
Trouble Starts at the Top
Last Saturday's heartbreaking loss to Stanford now makes it six consecutive Big Game defeats for Cal. Kyle Boller and the special teams produced a barrage of follies not seen since the heyday of the Three Stooges. An undeniably winnable game, in regulation and in overtime, was handed to Palo Crapto, which won in 1997, '98 and '00 with clearly inferior squads.
Kyle Boller, who recently has displayed a glimmer of promise, devolved against Stanford and did what he does best - implode under pressure. Boller's four interceptions Saturday - why wasn't I told that Stanford defensive tackle Willie Howard was an intended receiver? - confirmed the suspicion that when the going gets tough, Hart High School quarterbacks melt down. From the looks of this year's sophomoric performance, the only time Kyle will ever see roses is when pruning at his parents' garden.
But ultimate blame for Shame 2K goes not to any player, but to the Cal administration. Athletic Director John Kasser needs to undergo a thorough psychiatric evaluation like nobody's business. Is there a man in America suffering a more severe case of delusional megalomania? Ignorant of the fact that excessive pride is a deadly sin, Kasser refuses to rescind his hiring of Tom Holmoe, because it is humanly impossible, according to Kasserian thought, to make an abysmal casting call. Kasser will not fire Holmoe because he wants continuity - continuity of unfathomable mediocrity.
Kasser's psychological disorder runs even deeper. Kasser actually had the gall to extend Holmoe's coaching contract to 2002, which is akin to allowing a coke-snorting, illiterate, hick governor to run an entire country.
Is anyone else at Berkeley outraged at Tom Holmoe's destruction of our football program? Who, since Michael Dukakis, has better epitomized the meaning of the term "utter failure?"
The college football community at large has made it crystal clear that mediocrity will absolutely not be tolerated. Consider the recent firings of Alabama head coach Mike DuBose (3-8), Maryland's Ron Vanderlinden (5-6), North Carolina's Carl Torbush (6-5), Missouri's Larry Smith (3-8), and Arizona State's Bruce Snyder (5-5, so far). Let us not forget that Snyder's Sun Devils finished their 1996 regular season a perfect 11-0. On the contrary, John Kasser, by keeping Tom Holmoe, is making the statement that he wants Berkeley's athletic standards to be as stringent as its aesthetic standards.
John Kasser (and Chancellor Robert Berdahl) fail to grasp the maxim that sheer charismatic leadership does wonders for a team. Lou Holtz, who won a national title at Notre Dame, took over a South Carolina program that finished 1-10 in '98, and led it to a 7-4 campaign in 2000. Dennis Erickson - two national titles at Miami - transformed an Oregon State squad that was 5-6 in '98, into a 10-1, Pac-10 co-champion with Bowl Championship Series aspirations.
Everyone knows that Holmoe will not resign. The mere removal of offensive coordinator Steve Hagen will certainly not save Cal's future. So unless Chancellor Berdahl decides to issue an 11th hour stay (i.e., replace John Kasser), this death-row inmate we call Golden Bears football will irreversibly fry into ashes.
Jay P. Kim
Revisiting a Legend
Gavin, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your article on Joe Kapp ("Pizza, Football and Joe Kapp," by Gavin McMeeking, Nov. 15). You summed it up best when you said "talk to Joe for a few minutes and you'll probably get confused. Talk to him for 30 and you'll discover he's quite a character."
Joe is my uncle, he married my dad's sister roughly 15 years ago. Joe is an incredible person and he has been an amazing role model for me in my life as well as for other young adults, athletes and not. Thanks for giving Kapp's the recommendation it deserves and for painting an accurate picture of my uncle. Take care and of course, Go Bears.
Why does Matt Odette hate Cal so much?
Editor's Note: Daily Cal sportswriter Matt Odette says he doesn't hate Cal and, in fact, considers himself an optimist.
Kudos to Big Game Coverage
I ran into Marshall Foran this weekend after yet another big game loss (the lack of caps was intentional). I thanked him for putting into words some of the feelings that me and some of my other Bear buddies share ("Memories That Last A Lifetime," Nov. 16).
I just wanted to relay the message to Mr. Foran again of my appreciation for his article, and of all the other great articles you put out last week. I read The Daily Californian every day (except after big games we lose to Stanford) and I love the fact that some articles can still fire me up.
Memories of Better Days
Marshall Foran, it's just really good to hear your perspective of the memories of the Big Game. It is even better to know that you seem to be doing well in life. I was fortunate enough to be there in 1994 and rushed the field after the victory. I used to watch you guys practice when I lived in Bowles Hall. I remembered you and all the others whom you mentioned, by the jersey anyway. Well, thanks for sharing the moment. You guys all have my respect. Wish you the best.
I just wanted to comment on how great it is to bring back Cal alums to write Big Game articles. The articles by Marshall Foran and Michael Silver have brought big smiles to my face. Their articles capture how great a rivalry we have, the traditions, and what it means to win a Big Game. It makes me so proud to be a Golden Bear.
Fire Holmoe, Revisited
At halftime when the Cal Band performed *N Sync's "Bye, Bye, Bye," it presented an omen after the Big Game was over: Coach Tom Holmoe has to go. In his four seasons as the head coach Cal is 0-12 in its last three games of the season.
Kyle Boller has made progress this season but not what everybody expected and that's because of offensive coordinator Steve Hagen's offensive schemes. After each offensive play there's this continuous substitution of wide receivers which disrupts Boller's rhythm. That's why Boller seems to be uncomfortable at times in the pocket. It would also help Boller if the fullback and tight end are involved more often in the passing schemes. This team is extremely talented but it needs somebody else to take them to another level.
Gerald S. Ramos
Student Fans Lack
Class - Even Sober
I made the trip up to Berkeley from L.A. on Saturday for the fourth consecutive year for the Big Game since I graduated from Cal in 1993. I have yet to see the Bears win one, but I continue to make the trip and enjoy the Big Game festivities in Berkeley, home of the top educational institution in the world.
My gripe about the weekend has nothing to do with the interceptions, the fumbles, the penalties, or the lack of tackling a man who looked like he was out of bounds. As a loyal Cal fan, I can forgive the Bears for these things and still be proud to be a Bear. My problem, is with a few of the inexcusably rude bunch of young, punky Cal fans sitting in the student section.
As I took my "seats" for the pre-game festivities, I was thrilled to see that I would be spending the game in the section next to the student section. As it got closer to the kick-off, it became clear that the student section was spilling over into our section, where fans and alumni paid $50 a seat to watch the game. Apparently, the new crop of Cal students have not been taught that when someone pays for a particular seat, they deserve to sit there.
There was a group of about 10 students that simply refused to move for families that had tickets for their seats - a father and his kids, a woman who wanted to watch the game with her husband, etc. I was completely shocked when security came up to move the Cal students, and they still refused to move out of "their spot." What a complete joke. I would expect this from a bunch of losers from Stanford, but from Bear fans? What a complete embarrassment. The worst part, was that these kids were dead sober.
I come up for at least two football games and two basketball games a year, and after this year's experience, I will definitely think twice about it next time.
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