Despite the outcome of this past game, I wanted to take a moment to share my experience as this was the first regular season away game that I have been to. In general, it was a great experience and a very fun trip with many moments that stood out to me. I'll do my best to recap without boring anyone to death.
We had a total of seven guys load up and leave Portland at 3:30 AM Friday...in a Nissan Pathfinder. Let that soak in for a moment. It was a fun road trip, but ten hours in a small SUV was less than comfortable. Naturally, we stopped at In N Out in Redding (5 Guys is alright, but nothing compares to In N Out). Funny enough, there were tons of Oregon fans making the same stop and while chatting with on gentleman, we found out he was Justin Herbert's father. He was incredibly friendly and humble to our praise of his son's bright future.
Once we arrived in Berkeley, we checked in to our hotel about a mile from the stadium and found a bar just off the edge of campus for some pre-game drinks. The first thing that stood out to me and lasted for the entire night was the number of Ducks flooding the streets in Berkeley. We were everywhere! The second thing that really amazed me was how incredibly dirty Berkeley is. The campus itself was a gem, but the moment you stepped off campus, you were surrounded by trash, dilapidated shops and the homeless. It reminded me of China Town in Portland, except that it was everywhere around the campus.
The stadium itself was very pretty with an incredible view towards the bay at sunset. We sat with most Oregon fans in the 14th row at the corner of the endzone. The first quarter was a disaster, but watching this team fight back was exhilarating. At one point after we made a stop on 4th down and then scored our go-ahead touchdown, we all started receiving a ton of texts from friends with pictures of us on ESPN.
At the end of regulation when the kicker made the first field goal, but then missed the one that counted, our Oregon section absolutely lost our minds! The end of the game was disappointing, but I was happy that it was at least an exciting game in the end. A come-from-behind win would have been great, but it was nice to see this team continue to fight through the penalties and injuries to give themselves a chance.
For the most part, the Cal fans were friendly and when a drunk student would taunt us on our way out of the stadium, an older Cal fan was there to thank us for coming and wish us a safe drive home. All in all, it was a great experience and I would absolutely go to another game there. But first, I have 10 more stadiums to experience.