In the next week, the Cal campus will be buzzing with preparations for the Big Game, our annual football contest against our rivals from across the Bay (Stanford). After a week of excitement leading up to the game, fans from both sides will fill California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 22, the red on one side, the blue and gold on the other, awaiting the game ahead.
But as a junior here at Cal, about to embark on my third Big Game Week experience, I’ve come to realize how much more this week represents. Yes, it’s about watching our Golden Bears take the field with the hopes of vanquishing the ‘Furd, but it’s also about history, spirit, and tradition, all in celebration of our incredible university.
Blue and gold lights will illuminate many campus buildings and the Campanile, a physical manifestation of our motto “Fiat Lux” to celebrate the light that inspires and guides Cal students towards their success. On Wednesday, November 19, Cal and Stanford a cappella groups will come together for the Big Sing, and channel our historic rivalry by singing fight songs and enacting humorous parodies of one another. The Big Give on Thursday, November 20 will encourage students and alumni to give back to Cal to ensure that the Cal of the past and the present can be sustained far into the future. On Friday evening, the Big Game Bonfire Rally will display some of our university’s most historic and time-honored traditions, serving as a humbling reminder to students and alumni of just how extraordinary our university has been and is now.
(Big Game Bonfire Rally)
The Stanford Axe is the trophy awarded to the winner of the game, but even the Axe represents more than just athletic victory. The Axe is one of the most storied of the Cal-Stanford traditions. In 1899, the Axe was brought out by Stanford fans to flaunt while jeering at Cal fans during a baseball game. But over the years, it has gone back and forth between the two schools, and built a legacy filled with pranks, tradition, and memories. It’s not just a physical trophy designating the winner of the Big Game: it’s a token of school spirit that on both sides is so passionately cared about by students, who come from all facets of student life on campus to unite as one.
I want to win Big Game. I want the Axe back. But I am so ridiculously excited for Big Game Week because of the history, tradition, spirit, and celebration that will transform the campus in the days ahead.