Widgets Magazine

Westhem: begrudgingly accepting Cal

Stanford has two main rivals, at least when it comes to sports — which let’s be real, is all that matters to me. Those enemies are Cal and USC.

I’ve already admitted my soft spot for the Trojans, since my grandfather rowed there and I’ve gone to home football games since I was eight years old when my dad bought me a stuffed Traveler. But when I committed to Stanford, of course, he went and bought me a stuffed tree, which now rides on top of Traveler as his obvious superior.

For Cal, however, I have never had a stitch of warm feelings. Sure, I applied there, but it’s just been to me our unequal competitor across the Bay that I have learned to dislike (which wasn’t hard since, as a Trojan fan, I had strong feelings against them as well).

Given these rivalries with USC and Cal, what other top schools could my sister possibly have been choosing between? None. It was either USC or Cal — neither one very favorable in the eyes of a Cardinal.

So now, in addition to my small soft spot for USC (wince), I now have a slightly bigger soft spot for Cal (cringe), as Sierra Westhem is now a member of its Class of 2018. It’s formally official now that I got her graduation announcement in the mail yesterday with a big “Go Bears” on the bottom. Then again, Cal may be the rival, but USC is the enemy, so I approve a little more.

Although technically we’re a house divided — I’m sure my dad will wear that silly half Cal, half Stanford hat to Big Game next year — and although I am incredibly proud of my sister, there’s still no question of which is the superior institution.

Nothing can rival Nerd Nation. Kudos to Cameron Wilson for rocking the nerd glasses after he won the NCAA individual golf title this week. I am always in awe of the amazing athletes on this campus because they aren’t just athletes. They have that drive for perfection, that flare of creativity and the work ethic that is innate in all Stanford students.

They set the bar sky high for themselves, and don’t accept anything less; that’s why Stanford was ahead by 226.75 points in the Directors’ Cup standings at the conclusion of all winter sports, and why it will (predictably) win it for the 20th consecutive year at the end of all spring sports. Let it be noted that the award has only existed for 21 years, and even in its first year when the Card didn’t win it, they still came in second.

But Cardinal athletes not only dominate in the athletic arena, but also in the world of rigorous Stanford academics. For the 2006-2007 academic year, the NCAA recorded Stanford’s athletes’ federal graduation rate to be 93 percent, just two percent shy of the rate for all students. In addition, this year, six Stanford athletes have won the Pac-12’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors, and 14 senior athletes received this year’s Award of Excellence presented by the Stanford Alumni Association. Not too shabby.

I am not going to now belittle Cal, stick out my tongue and say that it isn’t as good. I’ll let the facts and my immense pride in my school speak for themselves.

So yes, Sierra, I will of course be squeezing myself into your cramped dorm room next year after Big Game and after I call basketball games at Haas Pavilion for KZSU, but you will never hear me entertain an argument with you or any other Bears about Stanford versus Cal. I’ll keep my mouth shut. Because honestly, what’s there to argue about?

Before we know it, Ashley Westhem’s “slightly bigger soft spot” may develop into full fandom for the University that must not be named across the bay. To help Ashley before it’s too late, send her your remedy ideas at awesthem ‘at’ stanford.edu and Tweet her @ashwest16.

About Ashley Westhem

Ashley Westhem was Editor in Chief of Vol. 248 after serving as Executive Editor and Managing Editor of Sports. She is the voice of Stanford women’s basketball for KZSU as well as The Daily’s beat writer for the team and aids in KZSU’s coverage of football. She graduated in 2016 and is currently a Communications masters student. Ashley is from Lake Tahoe, California.