All good things must come to an end. Or something like that. For me, college gets to end a second time, which means I get to write a second farewell column. I’m pretty sure I wrote one last year, when I graduated from Stanford for the first time, but I don’t remember it, so I guess it wasn’t very memorable–I’ll try to make this one better.
I’ve been here at Stanford for a while. Five years in fact. When I came to Stanford, the football team was terrible, the iPhone didn’t exist and Branner was still an all-freshman dorm. I guess you can say things have changed a bit. So I’d like to take this opportunity to look back at some of the best Stanford sports moments of the last five years–moments I will never forget and times that made being a Daily sportswriter the fun that it was.
During my freshman year, as I mentioned, the football team was not very good. In fact, it went 1-11, and I don’t think the Cardinal offense scored a touchdown in a home game during the school year. The men’s basketball team, however, was competitive (it ended up making the NCAA Tournament as an 11-seed). It was back when people actually went to basketball games and the Sixth Man Club’s bogus slogan about being the best student section in the country actually made a semblance of sense.
No. 2 UCLA came to Maples Pavilion, and since my group of friends always stood in the front row of the student section, we camped outside Maples the night before (and may or may not have found our ways into some hot tubs on that side of campus). We weren’t the only ones–there were actually about a dozen tents out there that night. UCLA looked to be blowing the Cardinal out, but “Downtown” Kenny Brown hit a three right before halftime, cutting the Bruins’ lead to 12 before Lawrence Hill and Anthony Goods went bananas in the second half–there was a game-tying three banked in by Hill I think–and next thing you knew, the crowd was mobbing the court.
My sophomore year may have been the most enjoyable collective sports-watching year for me. It began in the fall with a road trip with two buddies, because heck, going to Los Angeles to party for the weekend sounded like fun. What was more fun than partying was seeing the devastated faces of USC fans who couldn’t believe their Trojans, who were 41-point favorites, had just lost at home to Stanford. I remember being in my seat, which was practically in San Diego County, with about 100 other Stanford fans and the band just going nuts, not knowing if anyone anywhere could hear us–but we didn’t care.
Also, the men’s basketball team’s best season while I was at Stanford was my sophomore year. Brook Lopez was an All-American and the team basically ran one play, which meant Mitch Johnson fed Lopez the ball on the right block about 489 times a game. In baseball, the Cardinal went to the College World Series and in the first game of the whole series, Stanford picked Florida State apart. Current San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey came in to pitch for FSU in a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth–by the time the Seminoles came to the plate again, it was 16-5 Stanford.
I was there, along with about six other non-parent Stanford fans, and I’m not sure there is a better sports environment anywhere than the College World Series. Friendly Omaha-ians, good barbeque, crazy LSU fans and baseball–what could be better?
That season also included a series win over No. 1 Arizona State at Sunken Diamond in which then-Sun Devil coach Pat Murphy had an epic meltdown and challenged fans to a fight after being shut out in a Saturday blowout Cardinal win.
The great moments continued throughout my last three years. Returning to the L.A. Coliseum my senior year to witness the dismantling of the Trojan empire, watching Bradley Klahn play in the first round of the 2010 U.S. Open, seeing the women’s basketball team end UConn’s absurd winning streak, going to the Sun Bowl and, even more awesome, the Orange Bowl.
I’ve watched sports my entire life and been to hundreds of sporting events, but there is nothing like rooting on your school. No atmosphere in the world matches that mix of energy, naivety and youthful exuberance (and, often, alcohol).
You are supposed to take what you learn in college and use it in the real world–or at least that’s what you’re told. Unfortunately, college sporting events will always remain in college and we students will keep getting older. Hopefully the memories will remain.
Daniel Bohm actually shed a tear while writing this, his last Stanford Daily column. Reminisce about your finest Stanford sports memories at bohmd “at” stanford.edu.