Walk this way

Coach Harbaugh has made some changes to The Walk this year.
Coach Harbaugh has made some changes to The Walk this year. (Photograph by Kyle Terada)

Stanford is wacky for its walks.  In addition to the nontraditional Commencement processional, there is the more reflective  “Walk the Farm” event, led by history professors DAVID KENNEDY and RICHARD WHITE, and based on the Midwestern practice of walking the perimeter of one’s property to stay in touch with the land. There also is the Cardinal Walk, led by Provost JOHN ETCHEMENDY and designed to get us out of our desk chairs and into the spirit of health and wellness.

But there also is a tradition simply known by football aficionados as The Walk. A tradition at Stanford for decades, it’s the one where the football team and coaches make their way from the locker room at Arrillaga Family Sports Center, past the Chuck Taylor Grove, into the Gate 1 at the stadium, cheered on by fans and our not-exactly-traditional Band.  In the past, the coaches and players – fully suited in pads and helmets – began the walk 80 minutes before kickoff.  But starting with this Saturday’s home game against San Jose State, the team will take their walk two hours before kickoff donned in sweats instead of full gear.

Coach JIM HARBAUGH, who has enjoyed The Walk since the days when his father coached here, explained:  “We are making these updates to The Walk, in both time and dress, to allow our players to put on their pads, braces and uniforms in the Stanford Stadium locker room. Each player and each position group will now be able to conduct their most beneficial pre-game warmups and routines before putting on those pads.” Harbaugh  added that the updated tradition will also protect players from extra exposure to the sun and heat. Harbaugh says he does not expect the changes in The Walk to dampen the spirits of supporters during pre-game festivities. “Cardinal fans can now set their watches to join me and our players two hours before kickoff, each and every Saturday we proudly play at home in Stanford Stadium,” he said.

-Elaine Ray