I wrote this as a college sophomore the Sunday after we'd lost Big Game, two years ago. I post it here again because even though I am six thousand miles away from the university I love with all my heart, I think this is important to reflect upon:
Now is the time for true Californians to remember that the most precious gem California owns is not a trophy, but her spirit. The Spirit of California never has, nor ever shall, reside within the 15-inch blade of a red woodcutter’s axe, no. The Spirit of California lives within every note of Hail to California, within every single card stunt, within every Go Bears, and every inch of the California Banner, but most importantly, the Spirit of California lives within you. You are its most venerable guardian, and now it is your task to keep cheering for her—it will still do your lungs good—and keep loving her—it will do your life good. If I have cried at the loss of a trophy, let it be because I believed that our men did not fight as valiantly as they could to win. While this I may believe, as a true Californian, I turn to Andy Smith: “It is far better to play the game squarely and lose than to win at the sacrifice of an ideal.”
I am a Golden Bear. I will always be a Golden Bear, Axe or no Axe. My love for California depends not on the possession of a symbol, but on the deep affection and loyalty I have developed for this university. If I have cried at the loss of a trophy, let it be because I am guilty of loving California zealously and with all of my heart, loved her to the point of aching and to the utmost depths of my being.
One-hundred and ten years of history stand before me, and those one hundred and ten years are precisely that: they are stories. Stories of ups and downs, stories of ferryboats and policemen, stories of thievery, stories of 4-second miracles, and today, a story about love—devoted love for California in spite of whatever will come. If you are a true Californian, this is your story—your unchanging story—no matter what is recorded in the annals of history: this story stands eternal.
So sing for her, guide her, cheer for her, but above all, love her.
Hail to California, Alma mater dear.