In a well protected case across from Maples Pavilion the famous Stanford Axe is housed during the school year. This icon, symbol of the rivalry between all Stanford teams and those of UC Berkeley or "Cal" as it's called, is proudly displayed. Whichever team wins the "big game" in November, the football match between Stanford and Cal, is allowed to keep the Axe. It has been the object of many pranks and lots of hoopla over the years.
Today, Stanford plays Cal in women's basketball. Our beloved team, who just two days ago stopped UConn's streak, will face the Lady Bears on their basketball court. As an away game this is not part of our season's ticket package. However, my husband has entreated me to cross the bridge and cheer for our women.
Seeing the Axe has made me muse on the value of rivalry. It appears that a healthy rivalry is useful in promoting excellence in a team. Wanting to win against a special opponent can provoke great effort. I've noticed that motivation isn't just a red herring in sports. Focus and desire to win along with considerable effort and practice can be a winning combination. I think this desire was a big part of our win against UConn. Cal's women aren't ranked but have traditionally been a sporting team. I look forward to this game today and seeing our women face their first Pac10 opponent.
Go Cardinal, beat CAL!