Where the rolling foothills rise,
Up towards mountains higher…
The press box at the Rose Bowl faces east, towards the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains.
It affords one of the most unforgettable views known to mankind.
The allegiances of the 92,542 fans that pack the stadium on Jan. 1 every year change as the powers of the college football landscape undergo their natural ebbs and flows. From the blue of Michigan to the burnt orange of Texas to the cardinal red of Stanford, the colors that have demarcated the deep bowl of the stadium have shuffled through endless combinations through 101 years of tradition and excellence.
All the while, the stately mountains have loomed as a perfect counterpoint beyond the visiting team’s half of the stadium, significant but not overpowering, almost as if they were designed all those millions of years ago with the full knowledge that one day, they would serve as the backdrop that would become almost as ubiquitous as the game they accompany.
Those are the two components of a whole that is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts — an image and experience that, time after time again, makes the nation stop what it’s doing and gaze in awe at Pasadena, California every New Year’s Day.
Where at eve the Coast Range lies,
In the sunset fire…
The true magic of that image is in its transformation as the third quarter bleeds into the fourth and the crowd’s roar grows in a gradual crescendo as the battle on the field draws to its climax.
As the sun begins to slide under the horizon behind you, an invisible paintbrush begins its work in the distance, shading the majestic San Gabriels first a blush-like pink, then a fiery red, then a deep lavender, before the bright lights of the stadium eventually drown out Mother Nature, blacking out the distant mountains and commanding that your attention return to the field, to the cacophony of pads crashing and whistles blowing and crowd roaring as another chapter of history is written before your eyes.
Flushing deep and paling…
Before the mountains grow completely dark, their transformation will briefly take them through a moment where they proudly boast a cardinal red hue, Mother Nature’s homage, if you will, to the team that’s earned the right to play in Her majesty for the third time in four seasons.
Here, we raise our voices hailing
Thee, our Alma Mater.
Win or lose, Stanford faithful has been there every step of the way in raucous support of that team over the course of those four years. After a decade of misery and futility, the tireless work of Jim Harbaugh, David Shaw, their staffs and, most importantly, the players, has rewarded Stanford fans for their suffering with a juggernaut that has risen to previously-unseen heights and given Stanford fans the opportunity to witness their team be part of that incredible scene — not once, not twice, but three times.
Amidst this very backdrop in Pasadena, Stanford fans have had the chance to ferociously cheer on Stepfan Taylor and Zach Ertz, Shayne Skov and A.J. Tarpley, Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards, David Parry and Henry Anderson — and the lone constant through it all, Kevin Hogan.
Previous generations of Stanford football have worked tirelessly to make sure that the Rose Bowl has turned into a second home for the Cardinal and their fans. Today, the new generation of Cardinal stars is coming home.
From the foothills to the Bay…
The team’s true “home” may be Stanford Stadium, 318 miles away, but Stanford has staked its claim to the Rose Bowl by conquering the state of California. From the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains to the East Bay, USC, UCLA and Cal have all fallen to the overwhelming power of the Cardinal in 2015. Stanford has earned every right to call the Rose Bowl “home” on Jan. 1.
It shall ring…
Isn’t it thus fitting that the lyrics to our Alma Mater, which are meant to describe Stanford’s gorgeous campus and the surrounding area, also perfectly fit the scene at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena as the sun sets on Jan. 1?
It can’t be coincidence.
As we sing…
Stanford may be wearing its stormtrooper whites today, but never forget that this is our home and this is our time. Jingle your keys on kickoffs, do the “oh-oh-oh first down” thing, scream at the top of your lungs when Iowa is on offense, dance your heart out to “All Right Now” after every score and yell “5-6-7-8” before you all jump in unison.
It shall ring and float away…
Win or lose, this moment belongs to the Cardinal, as it did in 2013 and 2014.
This moment belongs to Christian McCaffrey, who will set the program’s single-season rushing record today.
This moment belongs to Kyle Murphy, Heavy G, Graham, Johnny McCool, Casey Tucker, Dave Bright, Brendon Austin, Brandon Fanaika, Nick Davidson and the Tunnel Workers’ Union, who will do the dirty work in the trenches so that McCaffrey can have his moments of glory.
This moment belongs to Bryce, Barry J. and Remound, who could all start at running back for most teams in the country. This moment belongs to Cajuste, Rector, Rollins, Owusu, Trenton, Isaiah, Conner Crane, Dontonio, Hoop, Dalton and Taboada, who quietly put their heads down and block without complaint before shoving timely daggers into the hearts of defenses with timely receptions.
This moment belongs to Aziz, Brennan and Solly, who proudly serve as the team’s first line of defense on every single damn down. This moment belongs to Big Blake, Noor Davis, Craig Jones, Kevin Palma, Jordan Perez, Mike Tyler, Peter Kalambayi, Joey Alfieri and Kevin Anderson, who play hard and hit harder. This moment belongs to Ronnie, Alijah, Alameen, Terrence, QM, Kodi and Dallas, who have fearlessly charged into battle against the finest quarterbacks in the country.
This moment belongs to Reed and C.J., who put the “special” into “special teams” with their flawless long snapping, time and time again. This moment belongs to Conrad, who is a f**king baller. This moment belongs to Jake Bailey and Alex Robinson, whose legs have been as powerful as they come. This moment belongs to the punt and kickoff units, who win the field position, at all costs.
This moment belongs to Daniel Marx and Chris Harrell, the quiet MVPs of this team.
This moment belongs to Kevin Hogan — our quarterback, our leader, our warrior and our captain for life.
More than anything: This moment belongs to you, the Stanford fan.
Hail, Stanford, Hail!
Hail, Stanford, Hail!
Bring it home, boys.
Do-Hyoung Park likes to tell people he doesn’t know the words to “Hail, Stanford, Hail.” Next time, tell him to read his own damn column to refresh his memory and let him know your favorite baller at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu