Football Reason 

Missing the Utah-BYU rivalry—or at least sneaking in booze

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Of all years not to have BYU football season tickets, it had to be this year. I can't admit to being a BYU fan; I am not. Actually, I've been known more as an anti-BYU fan, though with old age, that sentiment has tempered a bit. Still, for two precious years—the best two years of my life, I might add—I was a season-ticket holder to BYU football. I never saw a single game.

Indeed, I've only seen one game ever in Provo's LaVell Edwards Stadium. And it was a doozy. A local club had chartered a bus to the afternoon game and, by the time we all boarded, everyone was fairly pie-eyed. That we would be stuck in traffic for an ungodly amount of time (a journey that will become a two-day passage once Draper fills with its 50-story-building campus after the Utah State Prison moves) was made tolerable by the mass quantities of booze aboard the bus, which dumped its drunken cargo near the stadium entrance. The icy stares and shouts of, "Go home, you alcoholics!" were both deserved and welcomed.

Sneaking booze into a game has never been easier. Thanks to BYU security not expecting anyone to dishonor the honor code, they weren't adept at spotting a vodka smuggler. Which made it all the more easy to simply show them the Jell-O shooters inside the stacks of Tupperware, and never mind that each sugary square held a full shot of tequila. Which only encouraged the flashing of body parts or the dismembering of BYU fans who had somehow bought tickets inside the Utah cheering section deep in the corner recesses of the north end zone—which turned out to be a blessing.

Because right there we watched as, only yards away, a male Utah cheerleader beat the snot out of a frustrated, manic BYU fan who couldn't bear that Utah was about to win the football game. Without discrediting the Utah cheerleader, I recall a short discussion during the even-shorter melee that any of several female Utah cheerleaders also could have kicked his BYU butt.

The BYU fan had taken umbrage at the waving of a giant Utah flag by said cheerleader, ran onto the field and tried to wrest it from him. No go. That legendary and heroic Ute cheerleader, who, according to bartender lore, went on to light the Olympic torch during the 2002 Winter Games, modestly boasts 37 confirmed Heimlich-maneuver saves, and was last seen on the banks of the Ebola River seeking the source—and potential cure—for the Ebola virus. The pummeled BYU kid later served an LDS mission. BYU banned big flags—which is like banning sodas but not sugar. Stupid.

In 2006 or so, the Utah ticket office just up and sold City Weekly's season tickets without so much as a la-de-dah, up yours, suckah. Twelve seats out the window. Yeah, we traded for them, but neither did we get cash from Utah Football for all those years they all but begged us to run their ads because they couldn't fill the stadium and couldn't afford to buy ads. As Utah alumni, we did. Whatever. It's over. Utah football needs City Weekly about the same as it needs a backup quarterback. They've got donors coming out of their Pac-12 pores these days anyway, right?

So, since no one wants to belong to a club where they're not welcome, I simply joined another club. When I learned that our Utah seats were no longer ours (two weeks before kickoff of the first game that season), I just picked up the phone, called the BYU ticket office and bought two season tickets. Do you know how cheap it is to go to a BYU football game? I do. So I did it again the following year, too. And I gave every ticket away to whoever asked for them. After all, despite being pissed off at the Utah ticket office, I remain a loyalist to Utah football in spirit, both emotionally and in glass containers. After a couple of years, I got tired of not going to BYU football games. I quit buying tickets. In no small measure, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall contributed to my ultimate disillusionment with BYU football. Only a young man can tolerate Bronco, which explains why there are no players on his team this year over the age of 26. I'm over Bronco.

I can't wait for the upcoming games for both schools this weekend. I've forgiven the Ute ticket office (until they stiff us during basketball season—but they're nicer now and we may be considered for comp tickets for women's basketball and men's baseball) so I'm rooting for Utah against Fresno State. (I would be remiss not to note that part of my forgiveness derives from the fact that, a couple years into my Utah boycott, Dr. Chris Hill, Utah's athletics director, called with a peace offering I could not accept. Thanks anyway, Doc.)

If you take away three long "miracle" passes in the past two games, BYU loses both games. But you can't take anything back, good or bad, and that 22-year-old freshman deserves all the glory he can sweep in right now—even if his glory derives from the Virgin Mary and a mini-prayer offered up by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, a Roman Catholic, a half-century ago. Anyway, I sincerely (half-assed) wish I'd been there last week against Boise State, just to feel that emotion. But, I must say, as I watched from home, that it appeared the referees missed a very important, game-changing call against BYU. Wasn't it "piling on" for BYU to have a White Out in Cougar stadium in the first place?

Go Utes. Go Bruins.

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