reporter's notebook Waiting in line Saturday to get into Witter Rugby Field, a fan groused at the lack of parking.
“They should have more temporary parking, you know, like the 49ers,” he said.
“When was the last time you had to worry about parking at a rugby game?” his buddy replied.
Indeed, when was the last time a rugby venue was compared to a pro football stadium?
Last weekend in the Celtic League, the Newport-Gwent Dragons hosted the Glasgow Warriors and drew 4,000, Edinburgh v Ospreys attracted 2,340, Munster v Cardiff 8,000, Connacht v Border Reivers 1,240, and Llanelli Scarlets v Ulster 5,641. For Cal-OMBAC, the near-capacity crowd approached 1,500.
These days there are several major universities including Dartmouth, Army, Penn State, and Stanford which can match Cal’s facilities, as well as perhaps a half dozen or so senior clubs. Yet few if any routinely stage home games – replete with ticketing, programs, concessions, and after-match functions – to rival the Europeans, or the Bears.
Cal doesn’t play fall matches, but this winter's lineup includes the University of British Columbia, OMBAC, and Stanford (for homecoming) before hosting a round of the national playoffs. More than simply matches, these are sports events, and they will outdraw most Super League and North American 4 contests.
Those who think all of this is because Cal has varsity status do not understand Title IX. In Berkeley, rugby men have grafted the sport onto the collegiate sports scene, and created a dynamic that strengthens the team on the field.