Sunday, November 25, 2012

San Francisco Part 4 - Sports

It's been a long held goal of mine to see a home game for every single NHL, NFL, and MLB team in their home stadium (screw the stupid NBA). Originally when Chrissy and I planned our trip to the States I had narrowed down the cities that I wanted to goto by whether or not they were hosting an NFL game while we were there. Then  work happened and our calendar shifted so it was not to be. Later the San Fran Giants were pushing through the playoffs and I was running the math that if the World Series went to 7 games and there was multiple rain delays we may be in the City for the final game. Of Course the Giants swept in 4. Once again my dreams were foiled.  Undaunted we went on stubhub and arranged for tickets to see the University of California Berkeley Bears play on our last full day of our trip. Success!

However, I still felt like I was missing out. So, regardless of any scheduled games I hijacked the end of Chrissy's boutique shopping excursion one day to scope out AT&T Park where the Giants play.

And then I saw this posted on a wall...

"What is Red Bull Flugtag you ask? Red Bull Flugtag challenges teams of everyday people to build homemade, human-powered flying machines and pilot them off a 30-foot high deck in hopes of achieving flight! Flugtag may mean "flying day" in German, but all these crafts ultimately splash into the waters below. They are judged not only on their flight's distance, but creativity and showmanship as well"

Just watch the video...

We arrived just after 12PM and the area around the ramp was packed. As we wandered around looking for a place to watch we noticed people heading into the ball park. Like sheep we followed them and found that the field  and seats were open for the event. So, of course we headed down to the infield.

I got to 1st base on 1st base.

My horrible pitching motion

Calling the squeeze play...classic baseball.

Eventually we settled in center field to watch the event on the big screen.

It was a bit surreal watching a live event on a screen while it was happening right beside you. Plus, from our spot on the grass we could see through an arena exit to the Redbull Ramp to witness in very small scale what was happening on the big screen.

 Unfortunately due to our spot we couldn't get any pictures of the event as it occurred but this article by the San Francisco Chronicle has a good slideshow including Chrissy's and my favorite plane - The Ark Kelly.

We could only stay for a couple of hours as we needed to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) it to Berkeley to check out the campus and prepare for the Oregon Ducks vs. Cal Bears game. By the time we left AT&T Park it was packed with more and more people streaming in.

Apparently it broke on social media that people could get on the field and many came down just for that.

We arrived at the Berkeley campus about 4 hours before game time and it was relatively quiet still. The campus was quite nice with some stately old buildings. A lot of the campus and the buildings are connected back to the Hearst family and carry the name. I was previously unaware of the connection before our trip as I mostly associate the Hearst name with supreme opulence and yellow journalism not post secondary education. I may have to break one of my long standing traditions of not reading non-fiction biographies to get a better understanding of the prominent family.

We wandered by the dozens of fraternities who were filling up their frontyards with babyfaced kids and old alumni mixing over BBQ's and brews on our way to grab some pre-game pizza. Chrissy thought the fanaticism was surreal and seemingly straight out of a movie. All I could think about was how much Canadians suck at celebrating sport and how lousy our collegian experience was/is in comparison.

We eventually got some pizza and some beer with the revelers and then headed out to the game at Memorial Stadium. The stadium itself is a National Historic Place and had just gone through a massive renovation. I really, really liked the stadium. While seating 61,000 people (and 71,700 before the renovation, less seats now as people are now fatter - no really!)  it seemed very intimate with not a bad seat in the house. 

Our tickets that we got on stubhub were great. Along the goal line 13 rows back. 

As lame as it may sound, I was really excited to see and experience the game with the college band in the house. Christina appreciated the half time tribute to Beyonce songs and I really liked them pumping up the crowd when Cal made a big play.

I love skipping tubas. They are all in the air!

For the Bears who were having an off year and suffering from injuries this was their big "Bowl Game" for the year and they came out jacked up. They hung around with Oregon Ducks (The #2 ranked team in the Nation) for about 2 and 1/2 quarters before the floodgates opened. The high powered Ducks and their extremely fast playcalling and no huddle offense was just way to powerful...and frankly just awesome to watch live. Final Score 59-17 Oregon.
Cal on Offense trying to make a game of it.

My first college football game was absolutely memorable and will now be a staple of any further trips south of the border.

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