Ah! The Saturday Night lights of Spartan Stadium. Footballs flying through the air. Bong hits with your bro’s at halftime. Bob Overly sacking the quarterback. A half-empty stadium.

Say what???

In 1975 I watched San Jose State play for the first time on a thirteen inch TV with rabbit ears. The picture was fuzzy, and not in color. The stadium though, sans second deck then, was packed. State had been voted a top party school in Playboy. The student section was shit-faced, and the team was kicking their arch-rival’s ass on ABC with a roster littered with NFL’ers.

DeBerg. Ekern. Small. Kane. Faumina. Bokamper.

Fast forward to Elway.

Nichols. Bailey. Luther. Byrd. Wilhite. Swervin’ Mervyn.

We had talent.

Much has changed since those halcyon days when SJSU ruled the PCAA, Big West, then fell flat in the WAC.

In short, we have sucked.

However, the other day, while watching our beloved Merc-News sports editor’s alma-mater, Wisconsin (who we wish would be banned from TV because of their boring style), do battle with our boys at an ungodly hour on ESPN for a paycheck god would approve of, I must say I was more than mildly surprised.

We showed something.

Whether it was the freshmen on defense throwing their bodies around. Can you say Boo-Ha-Jer??? Or on offense, another freshman, Chandler Jones, faking out five cheeseheads, something was happening. Something besides losing lying down. Something besides being happy to “be there”.

Something called pride.

As a kid it existed in abundance on our streets near the stadium. We were proud to be from Downtown, not “naglee park”. Pretty much peckerwoods we were proud of our team. They gave us something to feel good about as we rode the iron rail at the top of the ridge on the student side of the stadium, stoned, hanging with the fellow losers from high school who couldn’t get laid either.

This weekend they will be playing Southern Utah.

Sadly I won’t be there. I have other, more pertinent tasks ahead of me at kick-off, though I don’t know what they are yet.

That’s what its come to for a life long fan.

I hope that changes.

I want to be back there before we go the way of the Fullertons, Pacifics, Santa Claras, and Long Beach States. Lesser foes, long disbanded, who we beat on with regularity before we tried to be big boys.

When I was a little one who loved nothing more than to be at 7th & Alma on a Saturday.


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  1. Bill Cleere says:

    Nice…real nice.

    I’ll take you back a little further…1963, walking from the campus (no 280) to the stadium on a warm summer evening.
    Sometime in the mid-60’s….watching Charlie Harraway outrun the entire New Mexico defense.
    1972…Beating Stanfurd’s Rose Bowl team in PA 13-12.

  2. drowningboy says:

    No 280??? That’s nice.
    Thanks for the memories.

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