A Message From Tim Hough on the Eve of Battle, November 18, 2006
William Faulkner wrote in Intruder in the Dust describing that moment among the Confederate ranks just before Pickett's Charge in the Civil War's Battle of Gettysburg. For those who may be a little light on the topic, the Battle of Gettysburg was the war's turning point and Pickett's Charge the South's ill-fated, last ditch effort to win the battle; it's been called the "High Water Mark of the Confederacy".
To the Rebel soldiers awaiting the word to charge, anything remains possible: the war is not yet lost, the cause remains glorious, the dreams of new nation alive. "?every Southern boy 14-years old" that comes around from now till eternity has that instant inside him, Faulkner wrote. "This time, maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain" a Southern boy has right to believe, it will go in our favor and the ultimate prize will be ours.
Bear fans, we have reached a similar moment in our history. The charge is imminent. Every Cal fan that comes around from now till eternity will have THIS instant, 5 o'clock on November 18, inside him or her. The odds are heavily against us, the task ahead monumental, the obstacles numerous. But the dream is still attainable, the promised land still in sight. After nearly 50 years, "this time, maybe this time?"
We know how Pickett's Charge turned out for the Confederates. Doug, Vic, Chris, Jim and others, rifles ready, bayonets fixed, will be charging up the gentle hill facing loaded cannons and likely annihilation. (While Greig, Claire and I watch from a safe distance through the modern-day equivalent of field glasses, television.) We admire them and we pity them. But most importantly, they take a little bit of all us with them to the aptly-name site of the conflict.
Be brave, be strong all you of Cal nation. Regardless of the outcome, we will have 5pm, November 18, 2006, Pacific Standard Time, inside all of us forever.
And of course, Go Bears.