Yearly round this time, lots of of households within the Bay Space discover themselves divided between Cal followers and Stanford supporters, due to the proximity of the colleges and the power of their alumni networks.
Nobody is aware of that higher than Stanford senior inside linebacker Tristan Sinclair, whose father Andy performed soccer at Stanford and whose mom Julie, sister Alina and two aunts all attended Cal.
Andy has season tickets at Stanford and Julie’s mother and father have season tickets at Cal, so Tristan would all the time attend the Large Sport rising up. The household will expertise the a hundred and twenty fifth Large Sport Saturday in an entire new means when Tristan performs at Memorial Stadium for the primary time.
“It’s one thing that’s form of surreal,” Tristan stated. “After I take into consideration all these moments of being a little bit child and simply being a spectator, now having the ability to play in it’s actually loopy.”
Julie will sit within the Stanford household part, although she’s planning to put on a impartial grey sweater.
“I give my mother some flack generally,” Tristan stated. “I’m like, ‘It is best to keep true to your faculty.’ However whereas I’m right here she’s going to assist me.”
Julie stated she’s not conflicted in any respect so long as Tristan is enjoying within the rivalry.
“I need Stanford to kill them,” Julie stated.
Nonetheless, she may not be capable of assist herself from singing the struggle songs that she’s identified after many years of attending video games at Cal. So she’s bringing binoculars in case she wants to maneuver to a extra secluded space.
“Tristan is aware of all of the songs too,” Julie stated. “However he most likely received’t admit that.”
This might be Tristan’s first time enjoying at Cal, since he missed the 2020 Large Sport on account of damage.
“It means so much to us and I’m certain at kickoff we’ll all be reflecting so much and tremendous completely happy for Tristan,” Andy stated. “It’s a dream come true for our household.”
Tristan’s sister, Alina, grew up rooting for Cal alongside her mother – Alina dressed up as a Cal cheerleader when she was 6, which led to loads of ribbing for Andy from his former Stanford teammates. Alina wound up graduating from Cal and married a former Cal rugby participant earlier this 12 months.
However the selection wasn’t as clear-cut for Tristan and his brother Connor once they went to the Large Sport rising up.
“I most likely leaned Stanford over time, however it was undoubtedly all the time a factor of, who had been we going to root for? What jersey are we going to put on?” Tristan stated. “There have been undoubtedly occasions when my brother and I had a Cal T-shirt with a Stanford jersey over it.”
Tristan even wore a Cal T-shirt for his sophomore yearbook photograph at San Ramon Valley Excessive – a photograph that Julie promised she wouldn’t share till Tristan graduated, however “as quickly as he’s completed enjoying, it’s popping out.”
However Tristan’s fondest soccer reminiscences rising up occurred at Stanford. Earlier than Stanford Stadium was renovated in 2006, the gamers would stroll outdoors the stadium to get to the locker room. Tristan and Connor would get gloves and wristbands from the gamers after which play soccer of their yard with the game-worn gear.
Tristan remembers speaking to Richard Sherman after a sport when he was about 8 years previous and telling the then-Stanford cornerback that his dream was to play for the Cardinal.
“After I’m working out of the tunnel, it nonetheless provides me that feeling of being a little bit child sitting up within the stands,” Tristan stated. “It’s all the time a particular second.”
Nonetheless, Tristan was recruited closely by Cal, which supplied him a scholarship earlier than Stanford did. Julie stated one of many greatest thrills in her life was attending to experience everywhere in the Berkeley campus on the golf cart – “I texted my sorority group ‘You’re by no means going to imagine it’” – however Tristan ultimately picked Stanford over Cal and Notre Dame.
“It was a tough choice,” Tristan stated. “I believed it over a bunch. It was greater than a soccer choice. As a result of you must take into consideration what’s after soccer. In order that’s why I got here to Stanford. It was a life choice.”
Andy might be returning to the scene of essentially the most irritating lack of his profession on Saturday. He went 2-1-1 in Large Video games because the beginning heart underneath coach Jack Elway from 1985-88, successful each video games at Stanford Stadium, however was a sophomore when 1-9 Cal topped 7-2 Stanford.
It’s proof that something can occur within the Large Sport. Tristan, who performed in his first Cal-Stanford sport final 12 months, stated that it felt totally different.
“They are saying playoff soccer is sort of a totally different velocity. Rivalry video games are a unique velocity,” Tristan stated. “Everybody’s getting a little bit bit more durable, working sooner, enjoying more durable. I believe that’s similar to the rivalry spirit. We don’t like them, they don’t like us. That’s the best way it goes.”
With each groups assured to have dropping seasons this 12 months, there is only one trophy left to play for – the Axe — which ought to add to the emotion.
“That’s one thing for everybody to struggle for,” Tristan stated. “The season hasn’t gone the best way we needed it to go. Beating our rival all the time leaves a superb style in your mouth to shut out the season.”
A Stanford win would make the Sinclair household completely happy as properly – for essentially the most half.
“I believe my daughter and son-in-law will most likely stick with their Cal roots,” Julie stated. “However the remainder of us might be all for No. 8.”