On Saturday night, as I’m sure you know by now, the No. 21 Cardinal tackled No. 2 USC in an epic game at Stanford Stadium.
The game and team’s ability to attract students and alumni to return to campus is the stuff administrators can only dream of. In January, when the football schedule came out, I wrote about the challenges USC presented both to the players and to students trying to attend the game, which was scheduled a week before classes start and before most students have housing.
I’ve never been happier to be wrong. Memories of sprinting out onto the field and bear-hugging some of my best friends, from students and players to recent alumni, will stay with me far longer than manufactured dorm-bonding events.
And this isn’t a dig at alumni outreach efforts or community building measures by the University. Those are very necessary and, in my opinion, pretty good here. It’s just that nothing artificially created to make you connect with the community and love Stanford can come even close to cheering with every last breath for your friends on the field to win, then joining them there in an incredible celebration.
Whether it was the start of another special football season or just a great moment in time, on Saturday night everything was “All Right Now.”
It’s the song that played when we got our acceptance emails from Stanford. LSJUMB plays it at Admit Weekend, Commencement and just about every chance in between.
It embodies the Stanford carefree spirit that we all try to emulate but often fail to. While we wish everything were always all right now, the fast-paced quarter system and pressures we put on ourselves create a lot of stress in our lives. We often don’t take coach Shaw’s pregame words, “Live in the moment,” to heart.
But at the end of the game, everything really was all right. Like one extended, carefree jump following “five, six, seven, eight,” we stormed the field gleefully shouting and celebrating.
And we have the football team to thank for that: the players, the coaches, the athletic program, the administration as a whole and the community (yes, pat yourself on the back) for understanding that sports are an integral part of Stanford, and without them our experience would be for the worse.
Athletics, for all their glory and excitement, are just another expression of excellence at this great school. But what an expression they are. The grueling work behind the scenes that went into this victory is no different in spirit from all of the dirty work we do in the classroom. But the end result is much more visible and climactic. And when that hard work pays off, we all reap the benefits.
So, five hundred words in, let me say the only two words of this letter that really matter: thank you.
All Right Now,
Billy Gallagher ’14
President and editor in chief, Vol. CCXLII