Memorial Stadium is 87 years old, so it's bound to have some quirks. But when Cal running back Shane Vereen was asked to describe what's most unusual about the facility, he replied, "It's still standing."
Memorial Stadium has been in its present configuration from games in 1923 through Saturday's loss to Washington. Stadium renovations will start this week, and while many of its wooden benches are loose or rotting and the facility isn't up to code, Memorial has stood the test of time and has been the site of many exciting moments.
"I don't even know how long it's been here, but you can tell it's weathered many more than just a few storms," Vereen said. "It's still strong. It could probably go without renovations for a couple more years and still do OK, but eventually they'd have to do something."
When Cal returns in 2012, the team will have the same home, but it will look and feel much different. Because of that, last week was reserved for nostalgia.
The old offices were demolished last summer. Before the season started, Cal coach Jeff Tedford took a walk to the wide-open space that used to be his office.
"I thought about all the nights of sleeping in there and hearing the garbage trucks outside at 3 a.m., the people in the trees, and walking outside to go to the bathroom at night," Tedford said. "We didn't have bathrooms (in the offices), so you had to walk outside, and there were raccoons out there. You had to creep out and make sure there were no raccoons out there. There are a lot of memories, no question."
Some football programs only call their stadium home on Saturdays. They practice on separate fields and their offices, weight rooms and locker rooms are in other buildings. But until now at Cal, everything related to the football program was at Memorial Stadium. All of the team's facilities were there and they practiced every day on the same field where they played games.
"We've got a bond here," Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "I don't know how I'd do practicing anywhere else."