As the frenzy of finals comes to a close, it ushers in a completely different experience: summer in Berkeley. For me, spending the summer in Berkeley is accompanied with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m excited to work extensively as a campus ambassador and only have one class on my schedule allowing me hours of unstructured time to do things that I put on the back burner during the semester. On the other hand, it meant that my time with my family and friends back home in Irvine, CA would be significantly truncated before I started the fall semester. This conflict was conspicuously apparent on Father’s Day.
With finals looming and a substantial amount of class material to learn for my linear algebra and differential equations and probability classes, I headed to Evans to study on Sunday afternoon. This normally wouldn’t come as a surprise; I’m an economics and statistics major and Evans Hall is home to the mathematics, statistics and economics departments. Except I found myself on the opposite end of campus, at the other “Evans”: Evans Diamond.
Watching baseball games was one of the most memorable parts of my high school experience; I was even my school’s PA announcer at the games. After heading to an A’s game two weeks ago with a friend and having a great night, I renewed my love for live baseball and pledged to catch at least one game before end of the semester. Then came the best part: I learned that with a flash of my Cal ID, home games were free!
Sitting in class on a lazy Tuesday afternoon, I felt my phone vibrate twice. It read, “What are you up to this evening?”. I simply replied, “For?” A few minutes later, I got, “Sonny Gray $5.” A couple of texts back and forth and it was confirmed; we’d meet at Oakland Coliseum at 6:20 to catch the Athletics play the Angels with A’s ace starter and one of the best pitchers in the American League, Sonny Gray, on the mound. In addition, we’d get to watch A’s starting shortstop Marcus Semien, who played baseball at Cal.
Cal’s location in Berkeley, CA affords the campus good weather most days of the year. However, as a native southern Californian, I don’t care for the number of rainy days we do encounter. This past Saturday was one of those days. As such, the prospect of some warm, hearty food was certainly appealing. Given that it was the weekend, I could take more liberties with my time and venture of Berkeley to make it happen.
Two of my freshman floormates suggested Homeroom Mac + Cheese, a small shack on the ground floor of an apartment building in neighboring Oakland. Growing up, I had severe allergies to a variety of foods; any time my family went out to eat, Kraft Mac and Cheese from the kids menu was a staple. With age and treatment many of my allergies subsided, but my love for macaroni did not. We took AC Transit’s 1R bus line south down Telegraph Avenue from campus and after a 10 minute walk from the stop, there we were. In typical Homeroom fashion, there was a 45 minute to an hour wait: just the right amount of time to explore, according to my friends; I grudgingly went along.
As an Indian-American boy who grew up playing baseball, it was only natural to gravitate toward the sport of cricket. In a country not known for athletic prowess, cricket is a sport in which India is competitive and at times, world class. As such, it may be said that the nation worships the game like a religion. When India plays, the nation closes up shop to watch.
Having grown up in California, however, my exposure to cricket was usually limited to the time I spend visiting family in India. My great uncle taught me the rules, and my grandmother is a huge fan so watching matches was a great way to spend time with them, especially when I was younger. But hamstrung by the time difference and lack of access, my fandom is usually parked in India before I board the flight home.
Each spring, the UC Berkeley calendar contains one dominant fixture: Cal Day. With 35,000 visitors comprising primarily of newly admitted students and their families, it is easily the single busiest day on campus. But as a waitlisted student, I assumed CalDay was just for admitted students and stayed home.
However, for current students, Cal Day represents something entirely different. That Saturday is basically a campus-wide holiday of sorts with lots of anticipation among the student body. The day is filled with celebration, and there’s this palpable energy and revelry among the student body.