BERKELEY -- Sitting on the stairs in Sproul Plaza as a Cal undergrad, Ahmad Anderson said "it didn't take but a moment" to pen the three short sentences that become the enduring Cal chant, "Bear Territory."
Every Cal fan is familiar with the cheer: "You know it. You tell the story. Tell the whole damn world this is Bear Territory."
Anderson wrote it 30 years ago, meaning it shares a birthday of sorts with The Play, which Cal pulled off a month later in the 1982 Big Game against Stanford.
A senior defensive back and Big Game team captain in '82, Anderson said on road trips to Florida, Georgia and Michigan he was struck by the zeal fans had for protecting their home field.
"They really had ownership and pride," Anderson said. "We had a lot of pride. I thought needed to reclaim that ownership."
He wrote the cheer initially to share with defensive back mates Richard Rodgers and John Sullivan. "This is our territory," Anderson said of the feeling in the secondary. "We were very strong about that, almost obnoxious about being defensive backs."
The Cal band was on hand at the end of practice on Thursdays and became Anderson's first audience besides his teammates. When he presented the cheer at a bonfire rally the night before the UCLA game, a tradition was born.
"They went nuts," he said of the crowd reaction.
A former UC Rally Committee officer confirmed it was Anderson who created "Bear Territory."
Anderson, who will lead the cheer at a Big Game rally Friday night at Edwards Stadium, remains fiercely proud of his Cal roots. He and some of his '82 teammates will gather for a reunion this weekend.
"That time in my life is like none other," Anderson said.
A graduate of St. Mary's High in Berkeley, he initially was a walk-on to the football team, later earning a scholarship. As a senior, he was voted the team's most inspirational player.
Now 52, he is vice president of human resources at Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay.
The oldest of Anderson's three children, Brandon, broke ranks to do his undergrad work at Stanford.
But through his four years, Brandon Anderson never attended a Stanford football game, always trekking back across the bay to go to Cal games. Back to "Bear Territory."