Big Game

See also:

Big Game timeline

100th Big Game Hightlights

Big Game Memories

Big Game: Pappy's Boys

Pappy's Boys

Now the Bears were two and seven in the fall of '46
Eight years without a winning team, the coach had hit the bricks.
The axe had gone to Stanford, an embarrassing defeat
Led Cal's most loyal rooters to deconstruct their seats.

Then in stepped Pappy Waldorf, a jolly rotund man,
Who shrugged off Cal's inclement past and calmly laid his plans.
The Bears were not a team, he said, to lose without a peep.
But restless, angry giants who had fallen fast asleep.

Pappy roused Cal from its torpor and shook it to its core
He built a team on veterans returning from the war.
He launched a golden decade, an era halcyon.
And when the dust had settled, and Pappy's work was done
That wrecking crew of '47 finished nine and one.

In '48, the team was great, the best that Cal had seen.
A Golden Boy would lead the way, fulfilling Pappy's dream.
The axe came home on Jackie's runs, the Bears would never lose
Except at year end when they found a thorn came with the rose

Through '49 and '50, the unbeaten string would grow.
Monachino and Schabarum and the storied Johnny O
Beat Bruin, Duck, and Huskie, and the dreaded USC
As Brunk scored on a kickoff and the fans went mad with glee.

The teams of Waldorf's era will live on in memory.
They were among the finest that Bear fans will ever see.
But Pappy means much more to Cal than storied college joys.
His caring and his decency live on above the noise
Of cheering crowds gone quiet now, he gave us Pappy's Boys.

-Chancellor Robert Berdahl read this poem at a recent reunion of Pappy's Boys.

It was written by Jerry Lubenow.


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