The View from the Boards: My Experience as a Mic Man

You’ve probably heard of a lot of different Cal Spirit Groups on this blog. We have our Cal Band, the Rally Committee, our Cheer and Dance teams, and our loveable mascot, Oski. But as much as the Mic Men get our share of love and affection during game days, it’s sometimes difficult for others to understand what it is that we do and how we fit with Cal Spirit.

The Mic Men are the group responsible for leading the cheers during games and tailgates! We make sure that Cal fans in the audience keep their energy and enthusiasm up for our student-athletes. We’re leading those cheers even when the situation looks bleak for our team.

Neomie in Mic Man attire, including an iconic blue-and-gold striped tie, at California Memorial Stadium
I’m in my Mic Man attire, ready to lead the crowd of Cal fans through another game of cheers, win or lose. The blue-and-gold striped tie is essential, of course. Photo by Matt Ha.

Last year, I was chosen to be one of the Mic Men. It was an experience I never saw coming to me, but the semester and a half that I did it in person remains one of my fondest memories! I never expected myself to conduct tours as a Campus Ambassador, let alone lead cheers in front of thousands of students and Cal fans. But being part of Cal Spirit has been undoubtedly one of the best experiences I’ve had in my time at Berkeley.

Bouncing off the energy of the crowd, the student-athletes, and the other spirit groups was nothing short of exciting. I got to meet some amazing people and lead a highly-energized crowd through an incredible round of cheers. One of my favorite moments was running up and down the student section and giving high fives with a fellow Mic Man! I even got to witness our football team and Rally Committee take the Axe back from our rival Stanford in back in 2019. I’m definitely not going to forget celebrating on the field after our team won. (Even when we lost the Axe just a year later, it’s still my favorite memory… I cry all my tears.)

Mic Men team of 2019 at Stanford Stadium for the annual rivalry game
The Mic Men team (from left to right, myself (Neomie), Kunal, Owen, Tyler) bask in the glory of getting the Axe back in the aftermath of the 122nd Big Game in 2019. Photo by Matt Del Bonta.

When you sit in the student section at our Memorial Stadium, there’s a huge block of concrete in the front where the Mic Men lead our cheers from. We call that concrete block the Boards. This is also where Cheer and Dance perform during the quarter, and where we can coordinate cheers and stunts with Band and the Rally Committee! The view that I got to see from standing there is one of my favorite sights on campus.

Having sat in the student section before, I got to feel the energy of the crowd firsthand. The energy of my classmates even helped me stay optimistic when our football team was losing. But experiencing that energy as a Mic Man is something special. Sure, the fans might get a little annoyed if we’re still leading cheers during a losing game, but they put their hearts into the cheers anyway. I mean, having the crowd root on for the Golden Bears even when we’re losing is what we’re meant to do.

Whether it’s at a football game, a basketball game, or a 7-3 victory against our rivals in an ice hockey rink, I appreciate that the crowd stays dedicated to cheering on our Golden Bears. You’ll find droves of fans everywhere, but the dedication and passion coming from Cal fans is something you won’t find easily in other places.

As one of the few women who have been on the Mic Man team, I genuinely hope to see more people take on this position. Since a lot of Mic Men are planning to graduate soon, I want to leave the team in good hands. Don’t let our title fool you; you don’t need to identify as a man to be great at leading cheers!

Author: Neomie H.

Hello! My name is Neomie, and I am a third-year Legal Studies major from Richmond, CA. I've gotten involved with Cal Spirit as a Mic Man in my years here - we're the people in striped ties leading cheers at games and (virtual) rallies. I've also assisted in undergraduate research and helped out at our on-campus radio station, 90.7FM KALX. Thanks for checking out Bear Talk!