You see, Rally was putting on this fun day, and I had decided to go just as a graduate student, and have fun and maybe win some prizes. But the undergraduates that were doing the work were jealous of me because I was not helping them out, and some of them vocally pointed this out repeatedly, to the point where I really wasn't having fun. So I pulled the person aside for a chat, and while I didn't totally finish it (Bonds tagging out some Pirates player in the *outfield* on a TV screen distracted us), it gave me some food for thought.
Don't get me wrong, I loved my time with the University of California Rally Committee. I loved it dearly, and I had a blast, and it's part of the reason that I love my beloved Bears so much. But on the other hand, it really fucked up some parts of me, and I think I'm still trying to recover from it.
In the dream, what I said to the person was this: "As an undergraduate, I never got to attend one of these things just as a normal *student*. I was always running hither and fro as part of Rally, and I never got to be just a plain student. And I was trying to enjoy this event as just a plain student, but people keep telling me I should be working with you guys, even though I'm only periphrially related to the Committee, and that it's not fair."
As I said, don't get me wrong. One of my proudest moments was doing carpet duty in the last game at Harmon, proudly standing there as Al Grigsby got his uniform number retired, and the following sleepover, which involved a game of barefoot basketball (and a badly sprained ankle). I loved the trips to the Farm to watch Big Game, and the one to see Cal-'Furd basketball at Maples, which gave me my first closeup view of the Axe. I loved campus guarding, the effort to keep Stanford folks from wrecking our campus (even if we did have some troubles stopping them at times), and I even enjoyed the tedious nature of setting up card stunts.
But at the same time that was going on, I didn't enjoy the obvious clique, that I wasn't a part of. I hardly ever went to parties, they seemed to me to be just a bunch of people getting drunk and I (a person who didn't drink) never really had much fun at them, except for making small talk with people. And because I didn't really participate in this scene (or the frat/sorority scene, which is where a lot of the members came from), when it came time to form the Executive Committee (the folks that run rally), I never was chosen to be part of the group, and it really made banquets bittersweet, and I spent most of the party afterwards on a couch watching people get drunk and party, and feeling so very disconnected from my peer group.
It doubly bothered me with something else that occured. I'm technically not supposed to talk about it, but Rally has a bit of an initiation, and it was one of the prouder moments of my association with the committee. I won't tell you what we did, except to note that I still have a flashlight and a bag with yellow paint splattered on them, which, if you're familiar with the Cal campus, you'll figure out what we had to do.
Anyway, supposedly, the members of ExComm had to be previously initiated, or so I thought. But at the end of my freshman year, when Popper (the new chair) did the decision of who was going to be on his ExComm...he a) didn't choose me, which made me angry (i'd poured my heart and my soul into the committee that year) and b) he chose a couple people who *hadn't* been initiated yet.
And I didn't realize that I still carry the scars of that rejection, and the one the following year, which, after I worked very hard to come up with the perfect application, and even drew some clever card stunts, was rejected from ExComm by Gina. And it was at that point that I really never did a lot with Rally again. Because I had worked very hard, and it wasn't noticed and wasn't rewarded, and it just felt like I wasn't important to the committee.
Luckily, I found the Open Computing Facility and probably made a bigger contribution to campus life than I could have with Rally, and I still have a couple very good friends I've made through the OCF -- Luns and spitgirl, so in the end it works out.
But for some reason, the rejection scars from Rally mean more in this darkest hour before the dawn.