Saturday, September 15, 2012

Today is the BYU vs U of U football game.  It is affectionately known as “The Holy War” for the fans involved.

I grew up smack dab in the heart of “Ute country”.  My home growing up was  a 15 minute drive to the U of U campus and was surrounded by the fans of the red school.  But I was raised in a home that cheered for the blue team (except when they bought season tickets to the U of U basketball games…we’ll forgive that little infraction).  BYU football was a huge thing in my home, our fall was planned around the games.  Often we (or my parents) traveled to one or two away games each season.  We almost always went to the “Holiday Bowl” in San Diego that BYU used to play in nearly annually.  We attended the 1984 National Championship bowl game and I’m pretty sure tears were shed.  It was  BIG OLD DEAL and a huge tradition in my family.  My brother went to BYU and married a Ute fan and we say they have a “mixed marriage”.  One year my sister-in-law baked a BYU cake for my Dad to “congratulate” him on the Cougars win and when he cut into it, it was a red velvet cake.  So funny!

I was a HUGE football fan from my tween years on.  I knew the game, I knew the statistics.  I had huge crushes on the players (Steve Young and Mark Bellini mostly). I loved going to the game and watching them on TV.  In fact one of the things my husband was attracted to was my love of football and BYU.

 In my high school (Go Oly!) we celebrated “rivalry week”.  Mr. James Felt, my history teacher was  HUMONGOUS Ute fan.  He even had a red Swedish knit suit he wore that week.  I walked into his class with  BYU sweatshirt on, and he told me I lost points on the assignment for the day.  If he could have legally done it, I am pretty sure he would have.  We also had Mr. Marc Lyons who played for BYU and who does the color commentary for BYU football, he taught Math and his classroom was directly across the parking lot from Mr. Felt’s.  Every year they would each decorate their windows in their respective colors and the rivalry was HUGE between them.  In fact they always had a bet going, if their team lost they had to sing the fight song of the opposing school over the loud speaker and dress in Ute or Cougar gear.

If you haven’t lived along the Wasatch front or attended BYU or the U, you probably think the rivalry is a little bit ridiculous.  It is, but it is a fun crazy.  The “Holy War” title isn’t that far from the truth.  There are a lot of people who go to and teach at the U that have problems with BYU’s standards and even LDS doctrine.  Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of LDS fans of the Utes, but there is a bit of an undercurrent of some religious contention in much of the rivalry.  I have been to many BYU/Utah games and there are always fights that break out, there is always name calling and it happens at both stadiums.  BYU fans are guilty of baiting Ute fans (sometimes worse) and vice versa (and BYU fans can’t even blame it on the liquor!).

So we are heading off to some friends to watch the game and cheer for the BLUE.  Go BYU, please make a better showing than last year!