The best time of the year is upon us! The weather has turned to tolerable; not too hot not too cold. Leaves are changing. Kids are back in school. Hunting season has arrived. Finally the Ute college football season is here and the college football season in full swing; giving us an excuse to tailgate, spend quality time with friends and family, go to games, escape from the daily grind of life, and last but not least trash talk our most hated teams.
In a recent conversation with my father, who will undoubtedly after reading this regret being the initial inspiration for this, we were discussing the Ute football season and how the expectations were so high and that there were also many BYU fans wanting the Utes to do well this season. This of course made no sense to me as I personally love to see the team down south do poorly as possible all the time and would never root for them to do well. Why in the world would a BYU fan think this way? It can’t be out of the goodness of their heart. I had an epiphany: deep in their soul BYU fans are truly UTE fans. They just don’t know any better. Why else would they settle for a life of liking a mediocre team at best and suffer through all of this agony knowing that all this agony will not have an upside in the end.
Spending many great years as both a student and football player at the University of Utah many would never believe that I grew up a child a BYU fan. I distinctly remember rooting for Ty Detmer and Robbie Bosco. I wouldn’t wear red. I don’t know how many times I listened to the song Ute Busters. I wanted to play football at BYU. I liked BYU because my parents did and I was conditioned to do so. Now this wasn’t their fault. It wasn’t my fault. Truly no one is at fault. We were all just poor victims of conditioning. I didn’t know any better. This conditioning as many are aware goes deep. It crosses boundaries that include much more than football. This conditioning encompasses more than just football and pierces the heart of those that are around it bringing into question their worthiness to go to heaven or even be part of a family. Am I OK if I have sex before marriage, Am I ok if I drink, Am I ok if I use profanity, Am I ok if I go down to Starbucks and get my favorite latte, (Hell am I ok to even go to Starbucks and get a muffin in the fear that I may be seen and its perceived that I’m getting coffee.). Am I ok if I don’t like BYU? The BYU identity has been conditioned into them around religion and the Mormon religion in particular. (I’m sorry Latter Day Saints). If these “social norms” aren’t followed guilt and shame can torment a persons life. So I feel bad for these poor lost souls. Sometimes ridden with guilt/shame over the most ridiculous stories. Rooting for BYU gives the cougar fan a chance to temporarily forget about all of these stories and just worry about who they will likely lose to this week. Meanwhile unknowingly they are stuck in a story themselves rooting for a team they are conditioned to love and root for while in their souls they bleed Ute red.
I get it; some of you are saying I wasn’t conditioned to be a BYU fan I’ve always liked them. I’m sure there is some Eskimo in far Northern Alaska that is a BYU fan that says this exact same thing. But look a little closer and you will see that for years all he had as a child and growing up was some rabbit ears antenna that on good days would get the BYU channel and they were able to watch BYU football reruns. The only visitors they would get was a semi monthly visit from the Mormon missionaries that would drop off another copy of the Book of Mormon and bring them a can of Postum. Un-benounced to the Eskimo or the missionaries is one of the missionaries is secretly gay unable to share their secret because of the possible ramifications from his/her community and just wants to be loved and accepted for who they are. Helping continue a cycle to the next generation of lost conditioned Cougar fans with the soul of a Ute. There is hope however even a poorly conditioned and trained dog can be retrained and taught. These lost souls of course are not animals but they are to the core Ute warriors waiting for the right pair of glasses to get better vision. So fellow fans as these souls begin to understand their true nature welcome them with loving arms and love and kindness. Trust me the view is much better through the lens of a Ute.