As if there hasn’t been enough distressing news lately, I’ve just read in The Daily Utah Chronicle that the Crazy Lady may have danced her last jig. That’s right, that nutty blonde who does the big bouncy at University of Utah football games right below the Utah marching band in the south end zone may be finished. She’s not retiring; she’s being shoved off her stage. And you can guess why. She—like her predecessor, Bubbles, who began the tradition—dances her tail off between the third and fourth quarter of Ute home games. It’s not so decorous, apparently, and doesn’t quite fit the tightly scripted Jumbotron ass-kiss-fest tributes to Ute sponsors that occur during game lulls.
No one really gives a rat’s ass about somebody being handed a game ball or a big cardboard check or a trophy; nobody’s paying attention to the announcer; and nobody except the family of said recipient is even watching the Jumbotron. The Jumbotron should be used only for what God invented it for—running controversial replays so that everyone can boo the refs in unison, close-up shots of crowd hotties and zeroing in on Crazy Lady for a brief few seconds so that normal people can have the chance to say, “I’m glad I got up today, because yesterday I thought I was the craziest person alive.”
I don’t know if she’s nutty, and I doubt she is, but, according to the story, she likes her Crazy Lady moniker. Crazy. Nutty. Whatever. I like her. And to that end, I hope she’s more Donna Summer than Crazy Lady and saves one more—no, a thousand more—dances for Ute fans everywhere.
Here’s who a Ute fan is: Anyone sitting in Rice-Eccles Stadium, minus the caviar crowd up in the Ute skybox seats on the west side (reporters who have to sit up there excluded). I’ve sat up there myself for a game. Once. You can take whatever passes for uplifting game energy from all those people in all those boxes, put it into a helium balloon the size of a bus, give the balloon a 2,000-foot-altitude head start, and the balloon would hit the ground before the MUSS finishes the second verse of “Utah Man.” Those folks are boring. Deflating. They seem to spend most of the time looking out over the Salt Lake Valley from the west windows or wandering around noshing instead of watching the games below on the field to their east.
And, indeed, the operative word is “watching.” They most certainly are not “participating,” at least not in any football-valid sense. They watch. When the east side goes “U” and the west side goes “TAH,” it can be safely said they don’t add a decibel to the chorus. When they get their hot dog, it comes perfectly groomed—they have no idea that Joe Fan down below them has learned to pack extra napkins because it’s not unusual for the ketchup and mustard dispensers to spit up their innards all over Joe Fan’s newly purchased Ute sweater.
When a fan—especially one on the east side—misses part of a game, it’s not because he was exchanging business cards with his broker up in Salon A; it’s because he got caught in the hellacious restroom lines, and being civil, he waited the 30 minutes to pee into a urinal instead of upon himself. Down in that game-day hell, the food lines stretch one way, the restroom lines the opposite, and in between, thousands of confused fans navigate north to south through the pinball gantlet of humanity. Those are real Ute fans, the men and women who pay for seats, Crimson Club honors and forgettable $5 hamburgers, but who spend a good part of any game day wading in piss, and the other part figuring out a strategy for exactly timing that bathroom run to minimize game-time loss. It’s not unusual to enter the concourse at halftime and not get back to your highly valued seat until midway through the third quarter.
Which is why it’s a total slap in the face of Ute fans for the Utah football administration to even consider dispensing with Crazy Lady. After the third quarter is when she’s needed the most. If not for her, half the stadium would have little to distract them from the anger of missing huge segments of a game thanks to poor plumbing and poor stadium design. Can’t the mustard dispensers be near the hotdog seller? The folks up in the skyboxes, the ones who can only see Crazy Lady, and can barely make out the sound of the Ute band, can only look on in wonder at the mayhem below—at what, to them with their tidy restrooms and all, must seem so very unbecoming. And those kids—those 5,000 or so U students who you couldn’t get to a ballgame 10 years ago without an offer of free beer—the MUSS, who jump up and down along with Crazy Lady? Well, they must be nuts, too.
Well, they’re not nuts. And Crazy Lady has value that stretches beyond introducing a new generation to the Blues Brothers. Look at last week’s game against Colorado. We should have beat them into the red dirt their state is named for. Our Utes came out asleep on their cleats, falling far behind the visiting team But then Crazy Lady did her wacky dance and, voila, the Utes came to life, shutting down Colorado for the rest of the game! We damn near pulled off a win in the final 15 minutes.
Up in the west-side boxes, all one could hear was a yawn, and see another business card passed that could one day mean more donor money, more TV time for another day. Up there, that’s what passes for tradition.