Editor’s Note: This is part two of this weeks Thursday’s With Raider. Normally I offer some witty retort to what my friend offered but I thought this was so good it was worthy of standing alone. Although I must say that although he is a Raiders fan, he’s also a Giants fan and has enjoyed a couple of World Series so don’t feel too bad for him.
You could also title this one: “where Raider does his best Tony Robbins impression”.
Monday afternoon, I was seriously considering writing this week’s piece during the Raider game against that one team you like. However, I think I owe it to the faithful readers of your wonderful website to write something that might actually comprise things such as complete sentences with both a subject and verb, minimal profanity, and things that might actually approach rational thoughts. Just once, I’d love to know what it must be like to say “boy, it seems like I’m slummin’ with this Mercedes E-Class, I think a Rolls Royce Phantom would work better for my situation”. Which I can only imagine is similar to saying “you know, this Tebow kid might be able to do the Lord’s work and what not, but we have $90 million we don’t plan on using, so let’s get Peyton Manning”. That must be nice.
(Also, I’m sure you’d probably want the extended wheel base if you go with a Phantom. No point in holding back when you have enough cash on hand to buy a Rolls).
Anyway, I’m going to make the executive decision to recap the last Holy War for a while in two parts: what happened on the field and what happened off of it. Because as most military scholars will tell you, propaganda is a BFD in most conflicts.
Watching the Ute defense by and large compel BYU to abandon the run and make Taysom Hill beat them, I thought “whoa, is this now a game and a team where we are expected to win?” Yes, the Utes have been underdogs going into the past three Holy Wars, but in terms of what we really get out of playing and beating them, is it worth it? Imagine the embarrassment that would have occurred if Eric Rowe’s relatively tame taunting penalty had costed us the game.
(As an aside, did you notice that it seemed as though BYU’s “Fast & Hard” offensive strategery was starting to become not as fast and not as hard as the game went along or was I just sleep deprived?)
I also must point out how much Travis Wilson is becoming a Ute standout before our very eyes. Our buddy Dan Sorenson, one of the two brains behind the Utezone website, made a comment during the Utah State game about how college football these days is directly tied to how good of a quarterback you have. Wilson had his moments of folly against Oregon State, but the way Sean Mannion was playing and how much the Utes were physically dominated at various points of that game, he gave the Utes a chance to win. Well, I think the same thing could be said for the BYU game. After the offense couldn’t get going for a good quarter or so and Kyle Van Noy put in work, this is a game that could have been a disaster and I’m writing a completely different email right now. Put it this way: Jon Hays probably isn’t keeping us in the game against Oregon State or beating BYU. We might have beaten BYU in 2001 if someone not named Lance Rice is the QB. I sort of doubt even a healthy Jordan Wynn would have given the Utes one victory with a shot at winning a Pac-12 opener.
Now for the disinformation campaign that lasted a whole fortnight leading up to the game. By complete accident, I posted two different tweets where I basically call out both fan bases and their own groupthink. Here is my admonition to Ute fans:
"Utes: If the only reason you’re a fan is b/c you hate LDS, do us all a favor and go spend your Sat’s doing something else"
"Cougs: You don’t have exclusive rights to righteousness just b/c you went to or are a fan of the Y."
Forgive me for poppin’ my collar here, but I like to think I make a pretty good first point, although I guess I should have phrased it differently. If you only care about the Utes because you enjoy beating BYU because you have some axe to grind against the LDS Church, frankly you’re wasting your time as well as everyone else’s. Though I think this isn’t as prominent as it used to be, it’s one of those annoying things about Ute fans that I’d like to finish off once and for all.
So, about that second tweet, maybe I’m just stating the obvious. Maybe by saying to BYU fans that “oh, by the way, you don’t have a Get Out of Hell Free card just because you attended a BYU campus” is akin to saying “the oceans will not turn into Five Hour Energy in our lifetimes”? But what stands out at you with those tweets? The first one–chiding Ute fans–was retweeted and favorited 18 times, mostly by BYU fans. Second one, concerning our Zoob pals? One favorite.
After all that occurred, I couldn’t help but wonder. Why would a fan base choose to look at how mean and nasty Ute fans are toward their sacred obligations without looking at their own puffed up sense of pride? But I think it’s also a question that is perhaps much larger and more universally applied than the juxtaposition of Ute fans and Cougar fans.
Introspection sucks. It’s bluntly honest, it’s a worthwhile thing to do at times, but it still sucks. Take me for example. I figure that I have spent a very significant portion of my adult life being mad at the world, especially if that world consisted of Zoobs, Bronco fans, Dodger fans, some kid who made fun of me for having a large Adam’s apple, and a guy in a 2011 Toyota Rectangle or Scion or whatever kind of car that is that cut me off on the corner of 600 S and West Temple the other day. In the process, I have been less than kind to a lot of people, virtually as well as in person.
But since I hit my 30s (read: “got old”), I have thought “wait a minute, what if my biggest problem in life is me? What if I just need to get out of my own way? Or possibly know how short of a fuse I have and look for ways to control that? I could even stop drinking!” (That last one seems unusual for a Ute fan to do in the eyes of our erstwhile rival, but the best thing about being sober for one year is the chance to be sober for two years). Believe me, the hardest thing I’ve done in my life is tell myself the truth by saying “this is pretty much my own damn fault”.
This is my own piece of unsolicited advice to not just BYU fans, but both sides of this thing. We blame the other guy, to put it simply, because it’s easier to do. Quite honestly, the University of Utah is not the Y’s biggest problem. Not by a long shot. It might behoove all parties involved to take this roughly two year break to look at their own respective schools as well as themselves more frankly than they typically do. It might not be fun, it might not feel good immediately, but it is definitely worth it. Look at it this way: if I can stop drinking, anything is possible.
And let’s face it: nobody wants this again.