Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Being the 12th Man: A Guide to Being Noisy Fans

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

I’m sure if you listen to the football players and coaches in interviews after the Oregon game, they will all take responsibility for what happened, give credit to the Ducks for playing well, and insist that we all move forward. I have one request: all Stanford fans take exactly the same attitude.

Whether you like it or not, we’re not the team we were 4 years ago, and the nation doesn’t have the same perception of us that they did 4 years ago: we’ve become a football school with national attention, and we need to step into that role. The good news is that we’ve taken the first step. We’ve gotten past embarrassingly low turnouts like the top-15 matchup against Arizona last year to having a packed stadium for each game. Being at the game, however, is almost a responsbility: through red zone loyalty or ridiculous amounts of alumni cash, you have earned the right to be the 12th man.

Being the 12th man is doing everything you can to help out the home team at the game, which so far has been minimal. Being the 12th man is NOT having the distinction of being the politest fans around. It’s the deafening effect of the stadium going nuts. We’re talking about Autzen Stadium, Kyle Field (watch them switch sides to be near the ball), or The Big House. When you hear that rumble on the telecast of games, you know that those fans live for their college football team, and although you might not, you better convince the opposing team and the television viewers around the country that you do. Here are a few tips on how to do that:

1. Go crazy and get loud when the opposing team is on offense.

You should be aware this fact already since the announcer tells us to “Make Some Noise” when the opposing team is on 3rd down. The gist of this is that being loud can make things really hard for the offense. They need to call plays and hear the snap count, and when it’s loud, it’s hard for the players to hear what’s going on. The good things that this can cause are false starts (when the players can’t hear the snap count), slow reactions (same reason), delay of game (when they can’t call the play quickly enough), and slowing down the offense in general.

The last one would’ve been especially critical yesterday as Oregon runs a hurry-up offense where they don’t go into the huddle. On several plays, I noticed our defense scrambling to figure out their assignments and get into position. Had we managed to delay them a few seconds, we could’ve helped them get into much better position.

Currently, the announcer usually only tells us to “Make Some Noise” on 3rd down, but that’s not a necessary requirement. The defense plays 1st and 2nd down, so we should, too. Our only breaks are when the play count (the red timers around the field, not the game clock) isn’t running. Otherwise, the opposing team’s offense if trying to get ready, and we better make it very difficult for them.

2. Be quiet on offense.

Basically the same reasoning as above, in the opposite direction: our offense runs better when it’s quiet, so give them that opportunity.

3. Still cheer.

Support the team! Even while we’re mostly quiet on offense, still cheer when one of our receivers makes an play. And when we’re on defense, pretty much anything short of a touchdown is good enough for applause. Even if the other team pushes through for 4 or 5 yards on a run, give props to the linebacker who managed to pull him down.

4. React strongly to penalties or calls that you see.

If you pass interference committed by the opposing team, yell and scream to draw attention to it. I’m certain that referees are trained to ignore fan reactions, but in those 2 or 3 seconds after the play, they need to make snap decisions, and we can help out there. They only have so many eyes, but with thousands of us, we can collectively have a much better idea of what happens on the field. Let them know that something happened.


Duckburgers in Madrid’s Swanky Mercado de San Antón

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

It’s a real pain to watch football at 3am, but Oregon has never been tastier.

GameDay Signs

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Continuing the day of coverage, I thought I’d share some of my favorite signs.  “Oregon-ized Crime Doesn’t Pay.”   “Say No to Quack!”  “I Like My Duck Confit.” “I Had A Smart and Clever Sign But Oregon Fans Wouldn’t Get It.”   There are tons of great ones, so if I didn’t mention yours doesn’t mean it isn’t fantastic.  Share your faves in the comments!

College GameDay = Crazy

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Hey y’all, Sasha here to update you on the ESPN GameDay madness. And madness is exactly what it is. On the plus side, Stanford students have showed up in mass. On the not-so-plus side, about a thousand of them cut in front of me in line…. On the plus side, I have a press pass sooooo it really doesn’t matter.  On the not-so-plus side, for  all of you who showed up bright and early at 4 AM only to not even get into the Pit, life sucks sometimes.  Also on the not-so-plus side, how could GameDay not foresee the massive problem that is people cutting in line?  Unclear.  Back on the plus side, the Pit is filled.  On the not-so-plus side, it took them long enough.  For a little while I thought this might be the first GameDay in which the Pit wasn’t filled…because GameDay took too long letting people in.   But all is bright and shiny now.  So be at peace Stanford fans.  College GameDay is here for the very first time.  We are going to beat Oregon to a pulp later on (fingers crossed).  And we go to STANFORD.  Life is good.  Want more updates?  I am here with one of our very own (Stanford-wise and TUSB-wise) who is tweeting for   Follow him @ksawhney1. And keep checking for more updates!


In Defense of USC

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

I grew up in a house divided. My mom and I went/go to Stanford, my father and older brother to USC. That family dynamic, along with my upbringing in Newport Beach, California (where at least a third of the baby-boom generation of USC alums decided to settle down and raise families) left me a rare outsider on the inside of the infamous, very tight-knit Trojan family. And, up until very recently, that family drove me crazy.

The Fight Song on repeat. The peace-sign/victory wave. The ocean of red and yellow (ahem… “Cardinal and Gold” as my father would chastise me through childhood). The football obsession. The Tommy Trojan references. The endless parade of license plates, stickers, and flags adorning the cars in my hometown. The ridiculously perky “Fight On” attitude. For the longest time, I found the culture so nauseating that the only way I could take refuge from their inexhaustible pride was to adopt the outsider attitude and disregard all of it. I would make jabs about whether being platinum blonde was still a requirement for admission. I would assume that all USC students were vapid, superificial, and unfocused on anything but getting wasted. I made the U$C jokes and took pleasure in the puns: “You can’t spell ‘suck’ without USC”, and the classic “University of Spoiled Children”. With a school like Stanford in my sights, I wanted to make it clear how much above their shallow antics I was. I wanted my attitude to demonstrate how much better Stanford was than USC: how much smarter, less conservative, more diverse, and more successful we are.

"Because Stanford doesn't like me"

But one weekend changed my perspective. With little to do and an itching for a bit of fun, I swallowed my pride, dropped my preconceived notions, and asked my brother if I could tag along for a couple days and get an insider peek at his life as a Trojan. The experience that followed was anything other than what I might have expected. The classes were incredibly engaging and dynamic; the campus was extremely welcoming and filled to the brim with excited students advertising their interests in every culture and activity, and a night on the infamous 28th street left me wanting more.

Admittedly – any college brochure will give you that. But what really caught me off my guard was how authentically friendly and kind everyone was. When I told people that I go to Stanford, every single person I spoke with was genuinely excited to hear about it, showered me with compliments about the Farm, offered references to friends of theirs’ who go here and rave about it, and were noticeably reverent of our fair university – usually tossing in some form of, “I applied there but didn’t get in. But I would have loved to go there”. Not one person had anything rude or snarky to say about Stanford, nor did anyone seem to be withholding any such comments.

Even this past weekend, when the university played host to what one USC student called “one of the most epic games and biggest letdowns I’ve seen in my college career” – Trojans were still surprisingly respectful of the Cardinal win. Especially under circumstances that most Trojan fans identified as “the closest thing to a bowl game we’ll come to this year” – my in-person interactions with students were generally tame. Understandably, most students were disappointed, felt they got gypped, and said they won in spirit, but I didn’t run into anyone who was out to seriously bash Stanford. The harshest comment I heard came in the form of Facebook status: “Whatever Stanford, your helmets are still ugly”.

Which begs the question – why do so many Stanford students seem to harbor such resentment – whether legitimate or in jest – toward our private Pac-12 peer? Why do we feel the need to put down USC at every possible opportunity? (more…)

We Shouldn’t Have Won that Game

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I realize that what I’m about to say probably borders on heretical, but here it goes anyway: Stanford got thoroughly outplayed and outcoached by USC last night, and it’s fairly miraculous that our beloved Cardinal managed to leave the Coliseum with a victory. Of course, any team needs some luck (and no, I don’t mean Andrew Luck) to win a triple-overtime game, but Stanford got so many breaks that I have to wonder if the oft-cited “football gods” actually exist and are smiling on the Card.

Let’s start with the horrendous play of our defense, which sorely misses injured starters Shayne Skov and Delano Howell. It couldn’t stop the run—Curtis McNeal ran right over Stanford’s vaunted front seven for 145 yards on 20 carries. More than anything, though, the secondary blew so many coverages that I could have stayed at The Peninsula Beverly Hills if I had a dollar for each one. There were several plays where Stanford’s defensive backs got torched and then got lucky when the Trojans failed to execute, usually via a dropped pass or an overthrown ball from USC quarterback Matt Barkley. I vividly remember one instance where star USC receiver Robert Woods had nothing but green in front of him, only to see the pass bounce off his right hand harmlessly onto the turf. To top it all off, the pass rush was nonexistent; Barkley got hit a few times but didn’t take a single sack.

Then there was the miracle drive with three minutes remaining to tie the game at 34 each. Sure, Andrew Luck led a great drive down the field to tie the score with about 40 seconds remaining; however, the offense probably never would have scored that touchdown without a personal-foul penalty on USC’s T.J. McDonald to keep the drive alive after a third down incompletion.

Of course, there’s also the fact that USC probably would have had the chance to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired in regulation had it not been for a momentous screw-up. With nine seconds left to go, Barkley completed a pass to Woods to get into field goal range, but Woods ran to the side instead of going down and calling timeout; his run took the remaining seconds off the clock and sent the game to OT. “I was yelling at Robert to get down because I could see the clock,” Barkley said later. “That play never really goes that far across the field. It’s designed to turn upfield.”

Last but not least, let’s talk about the penalties. Stanford committed 11 penalties for 91 yards; USC got hit with three for 35 yards. You’re just not supposed to make that many mistakes against a team like USC and walk away with a win. Penalties killed a Cardinal drive or two and extended Trojan offensive drives as well. It’s not that the refs were homers, either—Stanford just played sloppy football.

As any football player or coach will tell you, a win is a win no matter how you got it, and it keeps Stanford undefeated and in the hunt for the national championship. On Saturday, the team that played better couldn’t close it out and win the game, and that happens all the time in football. Stanford fans had just better hope that the USC performance isn’t the best this team is capable of, because if it is, then the Nov. 12 showdown with Oregon is definitely not going to be a pleasant experience.

Cardinal Rules: Why You Don’t Want to Miss Stanford Football This Season

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Luck rocks the SI cover declaring Stanford the "Best in the New West"

It’s a bit of a Cinderella story.  Only five years ago, Stanford football wasn’t even on the radar.  With an excruciating 1-11 season, we won one measly game all year and could hardly pull enough crowds to justify the construction of our beautiful new stadium.  Ouch.  Paradoxically, for those of us in the classes of ’13 and up, winning has been the rule, never the exception.  Both of my first two football games freshman year involved rockstar wide-receiver Chris Owusu running for a touchdown within 30 seconds of the start of the game.  Last year Stanford finished out a delightfully palindromic 11-1 season with a scorching victory at the Orange Bowl.  Football dominance, ladies and gentlemen, has arrived at Stanford.

As a friend of mine stated in awed confusion, I’m “not sure how we became a football school,” but I’m ever so glad we did.

The Contenders

Stanford owes a lot to the program development provided by Jim Harbaugh and last year’s graduating seniors.  Standout players like Richard Sherman, Owen Marecic, and Ryan Whalen stuck it out from painful losses in their freshman year to bring our previously pitied football team into the national spotlight and to a BCS Bowl victory.

Head coach Shaw has what it takes to put Stanford in a league of its own.

But while Harbaugh and his senior stars have left us for the pros, Stanford has no cause for grieving.  New head coach David Shaw took the helm this season after four influential and formative years as the team’s offensive coordinator.   Shaw has played an instrumental role in the resurgence of the Stanford program, tutoring star running backs and revolutionizing the Cardinal running game.  Per Stanford President John Hennessy:

David Shaw has been a large part of the Stanford football program’s success over the past four years, and he has all of the experience and qualities to continue the momentum into the future.  He is a Stanford graduate and a long-time member of our Stanford family who has personally been part of our scholar-athlete tradition. He understands our values.”

And while the loss of last year’s graduating seniors provided some cause for alarm, young Stanford players prove time and time again that we’re in good hands.  Stanford sophomores and juniors have eagerly risen to the standards set by their predecessors, and standouts like Shayne Skov, Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney, and Anthony Wilkerson show that Cardinal dominance is here to stay. (more…)

Women’s World Cup Final

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Americans have come to expect superiority in all sports. We have the best basketball, baseball, and football teams in the world. We have 2,549 Olympic medals, more than any country. We have even produced the most Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest winners. Why can’t we produce the best soccer players?

Actually, we can. The US Women’s National Team has made a comeback at this year’s Women’s World Cup, overturning deficits in games as well as the downward trend since we last won a World Cup in 1999. In fact, the USWNT is the joint most successful women’s team with two titles, tied with Germany who won both titles since 1999. We are the only team to make it to at least the semifinals in every tournament so far, and this year we’re in the finals again, contesting for a record breaking third World Cup.

Each star on top of the logo represents a World Cup victory. Three would nicely match the existing three in the logo.

Some might scoff at the importance of superiority in soccer, whether men’s or women’s, but Americans should take special pride in the fact that we have one of the best women’s teams in the world, even while we don’t have the best men’s team. The success of our women’s program is a testament to gender equality and opportunity for all athletes in the US. Consider that a country that values soccer as much as Italy didn’t even qualify their women’s national team for the Women’s World Cup. The USWNT defeated the best footballing country in the world, Brazil, in the quarterfinals of the competition this year. Our fantastic team is built not so much on a strong soccer culture in the US, but on decades of promoting female athletes, including great funding for our women’s program compared to other countries. In fact, it is the success of our women’s team that could very well continue the development of a strong soccer culture in the US.

Kelley O'Hara representing Stanford on the national team.

If this isn’t enough to get you excited about the USWNT, consider that three players of the twenty on the World Cup squad are Stanford graduates: Nicole Barnhart ’04, Rachel Buehler ’07, Kelley O’Hara ’09. No other school has as many on the team.

The USWNT faces Japan in the final tomorrow, Sunday July 17th, at 11:45 Pacific time. The USWNT has never lost to Japan in any of their 25 meetings. What a perfect chance to watch the US dominate at yet another sporting event. Go USA!

Stanford Tree Stars in ESPN Spot

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

This is SportsCenter, Cardinal style. Starting tomorrow, ESPN will air a hilarious spot featuring the Stanford Tree and Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward. The clip was shot in Bristol, CT in October 2010, and Jonathan Strange from the LSJUMB flew in from Palo Alto to represent the Card. See the full video below:

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Why Stanford: Admit Weekend 2011

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

The best place to spend the next four years of your life. (Photo cred: Molly MacKenzie)

The sun is shining brightly.  The track and fielders are thwarting gravity right outside my window, and Stanford’s very own Wind of Freedom is lilting happily through the trees.

As I write this post, gazing happily from the relative calm of the Visitor Information Center, it is easy to forget that we are about to be invaded.  Swarmed.  Rendered under siege.  But actually.  Starting this Thursday, good luck biking anywhere, ’cause we’ll all be wading waist deep through ProFros and their parents.  Oh, baby, it’s Admit Weekend season.

Welcome, ProFros, to the TUSB “Why Stanford” list.  The all-inclusive, ever-so-persuasive, quantitative canon of why you really should just click “yes” already and spend Admit Weekend living it up with your future classmates.  Using the latest and greatest metrics Stanford has to offer, I am about to blow your inquisitive minds as only a tour guide can.  Drumroll please….

5.  We Got Game:  #1 Division I Athletics Program

Come watch our BCS Bowl football team, #1 men's swimming team, women's basketball Final Four team, etc., etc.

  • Every year, the Director’s Cup is given to the #1 Div. I athletics program in the nation.  We’ve won it for the last 16 years.
  • If Stanford had been its own nation in the 20048 Beijing Olympics, we would have placed 19th in the world.
  • We have 35 Varsity sports.
  • We have extensive club and intramural sports programs, including sports as diverse as Ultimate Frisbee, inner-tube water polo, sand volleyball, and basketball.
  • All Stanford sports games (besides playoffs) are FREE to all Stanford students.
  • 83% of Stanford students participate in some sort of athletic activity.  This is because we have amazing activity and athletic course offerings.  After Stanford’s classes in sailing, fencing, and archery, you, too, can kick it like Captain Jack Sparrow.  Word.

Stanford alumna Sigourney Weaver rocks the Cardinal

4.  So Hot Right Now:  the Value of the Stanford Brand

In case you missed my earlier article on How Stanford is Redefining Cool, let me break it down for you.  Stanford has been the #1 dream school according to Princeton Review surveys for the past three years.  We have over a dozen career fairs on campus every year, because international employers respect the value of a Stanford education and swarm our campus on a regular basis to recruit our talent.  Not convinced?  How about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck giving up a probable #1 NFL draft pick and multimillion dollar starting salary to finish out his senior year?

If you’re reading this as a ProFro, major props – you conquered a 7% admissions rate to be where you are today.  Consider, for a moment, the flip side of the coin.  32,022 students applied this year.  That’s approximately the population of Monaco.  You’re in a tremendously desirable position.  You were one of the chosen few, and you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the best four years of your life here at Stanford.


Stanford Football, Rev Your Engines!!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

"They're all revved up and ready to go!" - the Ramones

They’re big.  They’re bold.  They’re fresh off a Bowl game win.  And with the 2011 season coming up, the Stanford Cardinal are ready to prove to you that they’re better than ever.

Excited to get a sneak peek of the action?  Then definitely check out the Cardinal vs. White Game at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 9.  The free admission game will be hosted at historic 10,000 seat Kezar Stadium in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and will give students and the general public alike an awesome opportunity to preview the talent we have in store for next year’s Stanford Football season.  In particular, the game will showcase the talent of rising stars like Shayne Skov and Stepfan Taylor.  (I see you, THIR-TEEN!!)  I’m especially stoked to see new head coach David Shaw in action.

Taylor blasts past the defense.

Awesome!  What are the details?

For Stanford students there is a FREE bus ride there and back, and attending the game earns you a Red Zone point which will determine priority access to the Oregon home game as well as Big Game next fall.

In the meantime, you can check out tomorrow’s 2 p.m. football practice, which is open to the general public!

Still not convinced?

Check out this sweet video!

Gotta love the Tree.

Support our Stanford athletes and help cheer our boys on to victory!  Go Cardinal!!

Coach Tara VanDerveer Honored

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Coach Tara VanDerveer

Speaking of badasses, Stanford women’s basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer was named the Russell Athletic/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division I Head Coach of the Year today. She has been at Stanford for 25 years with a career that includes coaching the 1996 US Olympic team to gold. An inductee to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, VanDerveer holds numerous accolades. Earlier this year, she was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the 11th time. Our women’s team holds an amazing 32-2 record for the season (VanDerveer boasts a career record of 825-197).

Be sure to follow #1 Stanford tonight as they play against #11 Gonzaga, a game that will decide if the Cardinal women will make their 10th appearance in the Final Four. In addition to proving their often unparalleled talent on the court, the Cardinal women are better lyricists and dancers than some actual recording artists:

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Stanford men’s swimming is at it again… and again… and again….

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Splish, splash, Stanford's kicking some a$$....

Stanford’s men’s swimming team just won its 30th consecutive Pac 10 men’s swimming title!

This streak is unmatched by any NCAA team in any NCAA sport.  Ever.

That’s thirty years of men’s swimming dominance.  Sometimes people shrug off the Stanford sports stats, so let me give you some relevant milestones as a basis of comparison.  I wasn’t alive 30 years ago.  30 years ago we didn’t have Internet.  There had been no confirmed cases of AIDS.  Metallica wasn’t a band yet.  Walter Cronkite was still anchorman for the CBS Evening News.  Reagan was president, Margaret Thatcher was UK Prime Minister, and Sandra Day O’Connor, Stanford alumna, was about to join the Supreme Court.

That’s a long time in my book.

Number one.

Everyone knows about our dominance on the field and in the court, but I think it’s really important to recognize the athletes in the water.  Way to go, men’s swimming!!

If you’re bummed that you missed Stanford men’s swimming’s terrific season and want to support aquatic Stanford athletes, don’t worry.  You can still catch the lovely ladies of women’s water polo in their 4 p.m. game vs. UCLA on March 26th.

As always, go Cardinal!!

The Failure to Prioritize the Arts at Stanford

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Stanford is not a school generally known for its arts programs, and if you ask anyone who has any knowledge of Stanford, they’ll tell you flat-out that there is not much of an arts scene on campus. Arts are certainly not at the forefront of campus culture and not valued as highly as other pursuits.

Stanford Drama put on a highly acclaimed production of Rent in Roble Studio Theater. Since then, that space has been completely shut down by the County, leaving many performing arts departments and groups in even more need of adequate space. Photo from Stanford Drama.

In recent years, the University has made an ostensible push to try to improve the state of the arts on campus. There’s the Arts Initiative, replete with a snazzy brochure. There’s the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SICA), which has, among other endeavors, hosted a number of meetings of student arts leaders to try and brainstorm ways to increase the presence and ubiquity of arts at Stanford. All of these efforts are important and crucial to making headway in the fight to make the arts better. But despite the work of these groups and the University’s claims to the contrary, the University continues to make large-scale decisions that make it very clear that the arts do not have first priority at Stanford.

For those who live in the West Campus boonies and like to work out, the recent news of the Board of Trustee’s approval of a new gym on Roble Field is good news. For those of us who know the story of the old Roble Gym, however, however, the decision is less unilaterally positive.

Roble Gym, which has its own Wikipedia page, is a gorgeous early 20th century building. The Athletic department occupied Roble Gym until the new gym, the Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation (ACSR), was built in 2004. The Athletic department moved to ACSR and gave most of their building over to the Drama and Dance departments. There was a huge problem, however: as an old building, Roble Gym has many problems, most notably a failure to comply to more modern fire and other standards. Neither the Athletic department nor the University wanted to, or still wants to, pay the heavy costs to retrofit and upgrade the building–it’s pretty expensive, and in very poor shape. (Take a look at the locker rooms, for example). In the years since the Drama and Dance departments took over the building, Roble Gym has essentially been condemned and parts of the building, including the main theater space, have been completely shut down by the County. For departments already significantly struggling with facilities–one higher level administrator noted, “Many junior high schools have better [drama] facilities than Stanford”–this has made it nearly impossible for any theater on campus, including any student groups that perform, to find space. And the problem extends to all of the arts: musician and Daily columnist Lucas Johnson can tell you about the state of the music facilities on campus.


How Stanford is Redefining Cool

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The $2.8 billion tank top? High-grossing Avatar brought Stanford's "cool cachet" to the silver screen.

Stanford has pretty impressive street cred.

I started to catch on to this when I watched Avatar for the first time.  James Cameron’s carefully-crafted CGI masterpiece may be one of the most meticulously constructed cinematic works of our generation.  Which is why I was so surprised to encounter a truly glaring instance of product placement: Sigourney Weaver‘s avatar wears a bright red Stanford tank top.

It’s easy to write this off as clever marketing (though the University was in no way involved) or simply an homage to Weaver’s alma mater.  But it’s not actually that simple.  Stanford has unquestionable purchasing power: not just as a highly-valued institution, but as a cultural symbol of an almost paradoxical confluence of brainpower and, well, coolness.

In this instance, Stanford is identified with the environmentally-conscious “good scientist,” with a confident and powerful female protagonist who is literally trying to save her world.  To those familiar with the Farm today, these are certainly resonant themes on campus which validate our claim to  “coolness.”

But Avatar is only the tip of the iceberg….  (Get it?  James Cameron directed Titanic….)

The Ubiquitous Stanford T-Shirt:

Just like Weezer, we're doin' things our own way and never giving up.

Primed by the Avatar incident, suddenly I was seeing Stanford T-shirts everywhere.  This is almost no surprise, as few universities have a T-shirt design as consistent and uniquely identifiable as ours.  But the numbers are staggering: there are 828,000 Google hits for “Stanford T-shirt” and only 269,000 for Harvard and 694,000 for Princeton.  Google doesn’t lie.

The cultural icon: The Blues Brothers shows how the Stanford T-shirt's cool power spans generations.

The unifying theme I noticed was the context in which the shirts appeared: Stanford T-shirt wearers are cool.  In the case of Sigourney Weaver, it’s a badass scientist working with state-of-the-art technology to revolutionize the way we interact with the world.  In The Blues Brothers, Mr. Stanford Shirt and his fellow concert attendees are, by and large, a bunch of young, fun-loving twenty-somethings rocking out for charity.  (Dance Marathon, anyone?)  The presence of the Stanford T-shirt in Weezer’s “Troublemaker” music video is yet another perfect distillation of Stanford’s pop culture power.  In the video, Weezer and their fans seek to break numerous world records, pushing the boundaries of the possible and having a blast while doing it – a parallel to Stanford’s prominence as a research institution.  On a more obvious level, the lyrics of “Troublemaker” can be seen as an analogy to the Stanford entrepreneurial attitude.  As the bold West Coast foil to the traditionally-grounded Ivies, we are indeed “doin’ things [our] own way and never giving up.”  You’re right, Rivers Cuomo.  “There isn’t anybody else exactly quite like [Stanford].”