Since our home is within spitting distance of Rice-Eccles Stadium, we've grown used to the silliness surrounding the U vs. BYU grudge match.
On even-numbered years*, our neighborhood traditionally plays host to the most rabid
assortment of random football zealots imaginable. (On odd-numbered
years, it's the good folks living near Edwards Stadium in Provo who have
that pleasure.) Not that there's anything wrong with that. Even though we don't typically fork out the big bucks for tickets to the game, it's sort of exciting to be near the action. Today, from our very own front porch, we watched the BYU Marching Band perform their walk of shame from their bus to the stadium, as our drunken neighbors booed and shouted obscenities.
Now, our family bleeds red, as all normal humans do. We're all huge Utah fans. Not only that, we harbor a burning resentment against Brigham Young University. Every time the Cougars win a game -- it doesn't matter against whom -- we die a little inside.
So, as the BYU Marching Band trudged defiantly past the house in single file, I offered up a little sotto voce "boo" of my own, even as several cognitively dissonant facts entered my consciousness:
1. They looked splendid in their blue-and-white uniforms.
2. As one who played a 20-pound baritone saxophone in my own high school marching band, I know what a thankless task it is.
3. A band geek gets no respect. All the accolades and funds go to the football team.
4. Unlike the football team, the BYU Marching Band never did us any harm. And, in fact, they were incredibly well-behaved in the face of our neighbors' rude heckling. Personally, I'd have been tempted to cross the street and empty a spit-valve into that drunken lout's lap. Instead, to their credit, the band geeks filed past with quiet dignity, without shouting back even so much as "Flip you!" or "Gosh dang you to heck!"**
Still, there I was, booing the BYU Marching Band under my breath, which in some way was supposed to be an expression of support for the U, my alma mater. It was simply bad sportsmanship, and that's all there was to it. I'm not proud of that. Fortunately, my mistake was more than drowned out by the loud and boorish behavior of our neighbors. So, BYU fans, if you have to egg a house, please egg theirs. I've repented of my sin.
However, the most bizarre event so far was when we received an anonymous tract on our doorstep from some pamphleteer. Titled "Brigham Young University: To Win or Lose?" it arrived with the word "RACISM!" handwritten in all caps on the front, and was evidently intended to stir up anti-Coug fervor by appealing to our religious convictions and anti-discriminatory beliefs.
Honestly, as soon as I saw the phrase "God forewarned how to identify deceivers. See: Matt. 7:15; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 11:4-5; 11:13-15; and Col. 2:4" I realized that not only does the pamphleteer need help with commas and semicolons, but that I actually don't give a damn what wisdom may be contained in those Bible references. They may be gems indeed, with all kinds of damning arguments against President Young and the early LDS Church. And, yes, the U vs. BYU match has often been described as a "holy war" -- but seriously, pamphleteer: IT'S JUST A FOOTBALL GAME. It's not a referendum on the theological validity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That was the 1980 Holiday Bowl. (And P.S.: Your side lost!)
Anyway, I had wadded up the pamphlet and tossed it into the recycling bin, but then it started bugging me enough to make me blog. So, I fished it out again, which is why these scans are of such poor quality. Enjoy the belligerence:
* Of course, all that is about to come to an end: Now that the Utes are in the Pac-12, they're much too busy to attend to minor details like us fans and our favorite traditional grudge match against BYU.
** I'm pretty sure that, over the past 30 years, Latter-day Saint youth have likely evolved snappier epithets than oldies such as "Flip you!" and "Gosh dang you to heck." It's just that I've been out of the loop for that long, so I have no idea what the cool Mormon kids are saying these days.