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Pragada: The Ink Bowl

The Daily’s Bobby Pragada reflects on the past, present and future of the fabled newspaper flag football game.

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I don’t remember what the final score was in last year’s Ink Bowl. The only thing I remember is that we lost.

It was a terrible, crushing experience, one that I hope to never encounter again. To fall to your mortal enemies, on your home turf, by such a decimating margin…it was the worst possible feeling. We limped off the field with our heads in our hands, knowing that we had failed.

For weeks, the members of The Stanford Daily had gathered periodically to train for our annual flag football game against the staff of The Daily Californian. We put in hours on the practice field, we sustained injuries, we drummed up plays and audibles.

Once the trophy was ripped from our hands, I vowed to stop at nothing over the course of the next year to redeem our performance, to rise to the occasion and to smash Cal at next year’s Big Game.

…the end.

Ok, I may have exaggerated some of what I just said. In fact, very little of the above is true. My sincerest apologies. Let me go through it again.

We did TRY to practice for the Ink Bowl last year. Unfortunately, we weren’t very successful. The average attendance at practice was three or four people. We mostly just threw the football around and chatted. It just seemed like team morale wasn’t what it could’ve been; there wasn’t enough interest in the game. We had one or two plays drawn up, we had an official quarterback, but honestly, when we saw the field on game-day, we were totally unprepared.

And we did get beaten pretty badly by Cal that day, but we weren’t overwhelmingly upset about it. Disappointed maybe, but at the end of the day, the Ink Bowl is all about having fun and celebrating the tradition of rivalry.

The biggest slap in the face wasn’t the eventual loss, it was the fact that their roster and cheering section outnumbered ours…ON OUR CAMPUS! The Stanford Daily failed to support their troops, and we were nothing but the Los Angeles Chargers of flag football.

Things in the game got a little heated at times, but the story of the game was that our defense was unable to control Cal’s mobile quarterback, who scrambled every which way for touchdown after touchdown. Offensively, our quarterback Tristan Vanech didn’t have the greatest game of his flag football career.

Besides us losing, the only other moment worth noting was when King Jemison, current football writer of King’s Keys fame, jumped up to bat down a pass, came down and broke his wrist on impact with the grass. He had to be helped to Stanford Hospital. Don’t doubt it when I say we sacrifice everything for this contest.

Plus, at the end of the day, the Daily won the most important contest of all. The boat race that occurs right after an hour of strenuous exercise. Intellectual Brutality baby!

But enough about last year. You might be thinking, what happens this year (if the game is even played due to the horrid air conditions)? Will The Stanford Daily make a glorious redemption on the field?

Let me just get back into character for a second…

This year, the immeasurable pain that The Stanford Daily felt after their loss has boiled and simmered for a full 12 months. This time, they’ve put in the work, they’ve prepared for the challenge and they can take on any challenger. I mean any challenger.

They’re led by fearless quarterback Daniel Martinez-Krams, the man who founded a flag football league in Berkeley, the Cal native who betrayed his people by heading across the bay. He’s got an arm that would rival that of Jared Goff, and makes his reads at the speed of light.

They’ve got weapons galore, from the speedster Andrew Tan (he probably has a sub-five-second 40 time) to the rugby player Sally Egan (try to tackle her, I dare you). They’ve got massive height advantages, even enlisting a former Stanford volleyball player to join their team. They’ve got wildcards, gym rats, bruisers, every archetype imaginable.

And looking for a specific kind of revenge: King Jemison, his wrist fully healed. He’s out for blood, and I don’t know if I mean that literally or metaphorically.

Plus, scariest of all? They’ve got me.

The action kicks off in Berkeley at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, provided Cal doesn’t try to use the smoke as an excuse not to play us.

 

Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu