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Rubbing the Nose and Only the Nose

Across the Cal Berkeley campus visitors can find an incredible number of bear statues. Some are large in size, some come in pairs and others are tucked away where only alumni know how to find them. One such statue is that near the Alumni House. This bear is also quite close to where the Cal Band gets ready on game day.

This is THE bear. It's the bear that holds all the power. The power to determine if the football team and the band will do well that day. Of course the football team's performance is a bit out of the control of the band, but their own performance is not.

That is why the band has rubbed the bear's nose for good luck on themselves and the team for as long as anyone can remember. Here's how the tradition goes:

All members must be in full uniform when they touch the bear. That includes hats and gloves. Only gloved hands can rub the nose. The members line up in single file and all have their own unique way in rubbing the bear's nose. Some scratch, some pat, some barely touch, but they all must. Once the band has all rubbed the nose they are ready to head off to the stadium.

Here's an inside look at the tradition:


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