It’s Big Game Week. Go Cardinal! Beat Cal!

Beat Cal
A Beat Cal banner hangs in the engineering quad in honor of Big Game week. Photos: Kate Chesley

Just in case you missed the poor teddy bear impaled on the Claw, the hourly train whistle or the huge Beat Cal banners on the Bing Wing or in the engineering quad, it’s BIG GAME week.

Members of the Stanford Band held a "bearial" for Cal's mascot, Oski.
Members of the Stanford Band, including coffin bearers Matt Katzman and Aaron Sabin, held a “bearial” for Cal’s mascot, Oski.

On Saturday, the 118th Big Game versus the Golden Bears of the University of California at Berkeley will take place at Stanford Stadium beginning at 7:30 p.m. It’s one of collegiate football’s most storied rivalries. In fact, Stanford has faced Cal more than any other opponent. The winner of the game will, of course, get to display the Axe trophy now in Stanford’s possession.

But Big Game has evolved into more than just, well, the Big Game.

Band Drum Major Peter Adelson impaled an Oski effigy on the Claw.
Band Drum Major Peter Adelson, dressed as Beetlejuice, impaled an Oski effigy on the Claw.

Festivities began Monday with the Stanford Band’s funeral and “bearial” of a teddy bear meant to evoke the Cal mascot, Oski. The alternatively somber and joyous ceremony, held in White Plaza, ended with the rather gruesome impalement of Oski at the tip top of the pointed Claw sculpture, where he remains.

The week’s festivities also included Gaieties, the student-written musical extravaganza that, inevitably, makes fun of Cal. This year’s production, called “Chem 31XXX,” also pokes fun at Full Moon on the Quad. Dating back to 1911, Gaities is proof of “how proud, ridiculous and clever we are as Stanford students,” according to the website. Gaieties was followed on Wednesday by the Big Game Rally, held between Memorial Auditorium and the Hoover Tower.

Also held this week was “Big Sail,” which pits the Stanford and Cal sailing teams against one another in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge (The Cardinal won). Rivals for Life, an annual competitive blood drive that asks,”Do You Bleed Cardinal Red?” gave special t-shirts to participants. Nerd Nation water bottles were given away by the Stanford Alumni Association on Wednesday.

And, throughout the entire week, the Stanford Axe Committee, self-proclaimed “custodians of Stanford spirit, tradition and revelry,” treated the campus to hourly soundings of the Train Whistle as members counted down from 118 hours to kick off.

Go Cardinal. Beat Cal.