Many college students throughout campus demonstrated their Stanford satisfaction by collaborating in Huge Sport traditions.
Over time, Stanford has continued its many traditions main as much as the Huge Sport, and the 126th Huge Sport isn’t any completely different. Hoover Tower is lit up crimson at night time, and the fountains course with crimson water. This week, college students are experiencing a whirlwind of occasions that remember the Cardinal, which culminate in Saturday afternoon’s soccer match in opposition to the College of California, Berkeley (Cal). With rising tensions on campus amid the Israel-Gaza battle, college students mentioned this yr’s traditions really feel a little bit completely different, however they’re persevering with nonetheless.
Bearial is an annual custom the place Oski the Bear, Cal’s mascot, is “executed” to suggest Stanford’s superiority.
Roger McAulay ’90, who will probably be attending the Huge Sport on Saturday, mentioned, “The 80s have been a good time to expertise the Huge Sport. The Oski captivity was within the headlines for about two years.” The custom passed off this previous Monday on Meyer Inexperienced, led by the Leland Stanford Junior College Marching Band (LSJUMB).
This yr, out of consideration of the continuing Sit-In to Cease Genocide in Palestine on the White Plaza since Oct. 20, the custom didn’t happen at its standard location of the Claw, a call that upset some college students.
On Fizz, an nameless social media app restricted to Stanford college students, one scholar requested, “Is the bearial not coming to white plaza ;-;.” One other submit featured a photograph from final yr’s Bearial of the Claw with Oski’s head on the tip captioned, “Keep in mind this gem from final yr?”
Liam Rose ’25, a member of LSJUMB, mentioned, “The burial of the bear and the imagery that comes together with it might have appeared a little bit crass if it occurred proper subsequent to the demonstrations.”
Rose mentioned that the “vibe” of the custom remained much like earlier years, simply with a extra “somber be aware” to it.
This yr, the Ram’s Head Theatrical Society will placed on their 112th “Gaieties,” the annual student-written musical manufacturing carried out throughout Huge Sport week. Since 1911, “Gaieties” has celebrated campus tradition, and the plot is at all times themed round “Beat Cal!”
In response to their web site, Gaieties is “the alchemy of blood, sweat, tears and above all else, laughter.”
This yr, the Gaieties plot will probably be about Berkeley in search of to “exploit the resignation of Stanford’s president,” with “jaded hero Tremendous-Senior and impressive, prestige-hungry Recent-Man” assembling a hero coalition to save lots of the varsity, mentioned Helena Vasconcelos ’25, one of many producers of Gaieties.
“College students can count on a satirical present poking enjoyable at Stanford’s current string of controversies, together with some memorable traditions,” Vasconcelos mentioned. “By music and mockery, Gaieties celebrates the frequent experiences, personalities and frustrations of the Stanford neighborhood to create a way of unity earlier than the Huge Sport.”
Rose mentioned that Gaieties is his favourite Huge Sport custom and that he will probably be enjoying the trumpet within the orchestra. “The entire solid, crew and orchestra is working tremendous onerous to make it an thrilling manufacturing,” he mentioned.
Axe Committee in White Plaza
The Stanford Axe Committee (Axe Comm) serves because the guardian of the Axe, which is the trophy of the annual Huge Sport. Additionally they play a serious position in class spirit not solely on the Huge Sport but additionally all through the soccer season, attending every sport to wave flags, toss t-shirts and blow the well-known practice whistle each time Stanford scores.
For the 126th Huge Sport, the Axe Comm is tenting out in White Plaza for 125 hours and blowing the practice whistle each hour.
Hayden Henry ’25, an officer of the Axe Comm, mentioned that he joined as a result of somebody had carried out a “phenomenal job” explaining the position of the committee to him in his freshman yr.
“I used to be actually enthralled by the influence now we have on Stanford spirit, the affiliation now we have with athletics and simply with the ability to be a part of such core Stanford traditions,” Henry mentioned. “I believe it’s a mix of what we do, what ‘Gaieties’ does and what the band does with ‘Bearial’ that each one collectively make arguably one of many greatest traditions of the yr.”
On Wednesday night time, the Axe Comm hosted the Huge Sport Rally in White Plaza, a practice that includes a retelling of the historical past of the Axe. Additionally they acknowledge the Stanford senior soccer gamers earlier than their final Huge Sport and choose the freshman dorm banner contest. The profitable dorm’s banner — Larkin’s — will probably be displayed in White Plaza for the remainder of Huge Sport Week.
Sharing White Plaza
The Axe Comm’s whistle station can be historically held at White Plaza — instantly throughout the pro-Palestinian sit-in.
When requested about how the Huge Sport traditions would have an effect on the sit-in, Henry mentioned that the political local weather provides “a extra somber be aware” to issues, whether or not it’s a Huge Sport custom or not.
”For this week, at the least we hope that we are able to supply some sense of reprieve and provides folks one thing extra optimistic to consider and smile about,” Henry mentioned.
He acknowledged that the plan for the hourly whistle was communicated with the sit-in in order that they might peacefully occupy the shared house of the White Plaza.
“We at all times do our greatest, particularly at night time to verify the whistle isn’t too loud, with sufficient advance warning through the day time,” Henry mentioned.
Yeli Ramirez ’24, a participant within the sit-in, believes that the Axe Comm’s whistles are nonetheless “a little bit extreme.”
“It rings all through the night time,” she mentioned. “We have been advised it might be 10% of the same old quantity. That has not been the case. It’s undoubtedly the identical quantity at night time and undoubtedly impacts the sleep of the folks [at the sit-in].”
Ramirez urged the campus neighborhood to be aware of the sit-in: “Democracy Day was moved to Outdated Union. We discovered workarounds, however this doesn’t seem to be a workaround.”
Cal vs. Stanford rivalry
On the coronary heart of Stanford’s faculty spirit lies the extraordinary rivalry of the Huge Sport. This soccer rivalry originated in 1892 on San Francisco’s Haight Road Grounds, the place Stanford triumphed over Cal with a rating of 14-10. At present, each Stanford scholar eagerly waits for the arrival of the Huge Sport, decked out in crimson, in hopes of seeing the Axe being introduced residence.
The rivalry has been an integral a part of Stanford’s faculty spirit for many years. McAulay mentioned, “Huge Sport has been the central connection to the Stanford Group for me and my pals for the final 30-plus years. I met my Golden Bear spouse on the Huge Sport.”
“The tailgate stays an annual spotlight that we look ahead to all year long,” McAulay mentioned.
Stanford soccer punter and kicker Aidan Flintoft ’27 mentioned, “I believe the Stanford vs. Cal rivalry is a good competitors with a number of historical past and it’s a privilege to be part of it. I believe it’s big for college spirit.”
He mentioned that the soccer group felt good concerning the sport: “We’re working actually onerous as at all times and tremendous pumped for Saturday.”
Juan Hernandez ’27, a member of the Axe Comm, mentioned, “I really feel just like the Huge Sport week is the one week of the yr the place all people can get behind a trigger, and that’s beating Cal.”
Hernandez concluded his interview with a easy assertion: “Go Stanford; beat Cal!”