Thursday, November 20, 2008

That Time of Year, Again

My house the morning of the Rivalry Game in 1992. Now this wasn’t a hate crime. It was an affectionate prank pulled by friends. But it illustrates that the Westenskow house was alone in its Cougar support in our neighborhood.

Growing up, I was the only BYU fan in my grade at Roslyn Heights elementary school. The only one. As such I caught tons of crap whether BYU won or lost (it was the 80’s, they always won). In 1988, my friend Luke Geddes invited me to go to the BYU/Utah game at Rice Stadium. BYU had won that game 10 years in a row. I was in fifth grade at the time and I painted my face, and got all decked out. BYU got crushed. I mean they were destroyed by Scott Mitchell and the Utes. And I guess a decades worth of frustration needed to be released from those Ute fans because I was abused. By grown men.

“You see that! You see Covey get his ass kicked? BYU is a bunch of pussies! You SUUUUCCKKK!”

“Dude, I’m ten.”

The next Monday as I went into Mrs. Goodwin’s class, everyone stood, pointed their figures and laughed.

I know, I know. Boo friggin hoo. There are a ton of traumatic childhood stories that that involve actual abuse and damage that put this to shame. In fact there’s probably a ton of traumatic childhood stories where I am the jaggoff inflicting the trauma. Adam Hemmmart would be happy to tell you a couple. So this is nothing to cry about. But it did instill in me a resentment toward the obnoxious, asshole fringe of the Utah fan base.

It’s important to note that my resentment is very specific to that fringe, so don't get all butt hurt. My whole life most of my good friends have been Utah fans. We always got along, exchanging good natured jabs at each other. And there is no doubt that the Ute fans out there could tell similar stories about dick BYU fans giving them crap. Actually, BYU fans can sometimes really piss me off as I have previously posted. So it’s a complicated two way street.

I don’t intend to rehash this whole rivalry. It’s destructive, pointless and often very hateful. And I despise the term “Holy War”. I hate it.

Instead, I am going to document a strange occurrence. Since that game in 1988, the rivalry game has been 50/50. BYU has won ten games, Utah has won ten games. Taking 1997 and 1998 out of the equation (I was on my mission and didn’t watch them) I have attended eleven of the remaining eighteen games. Of those eleven games that I have attended, BYU has lost nine of them (88, 93,94,95,99,02,03,04,05). Of the seven games that I didn’t attend, BYU has won all of them (89,90,91,92,96,00,06).

Put simply, with the two exceptions of 01 and 07, every time I go to the stadium and watch the game, BYU loses. Every time I sit at home and swear at the TV, BYU wins. In 2006 I was offered tickets and refused them because of the undeniable historic fact my presence is a jinx to BYU’s success. If I went to that game, Harline would have dropped that ball (that really is an amazing photo). Last year I had to be dragged to The Ed by my buddy Steve to use my season tickets (I've had them since college). Even after the 4th and 17 conversion, I was still convinced that BYU would blow it due to my attendance. I'm not terribly superstitious but 2-9 is a pretty terrible track record.

There has never been more at stake for the rivalry game than this one. And I give BYU about a 50% shot of winning this thing. BYU has a ton of weaknesses that could easily be exploited (just watch that TCU monstrosity) and Utah always plays out of their mind in this game. But ultimately, I just don’t think Utah is that good. I’ve watched every game of theirs this year and as impressive as their season has been (and it has been a very impressive season) they are still a very beatable team that needs to be exposed. I just don’t know that BYU has the balls to pull it off.

But I’ll be doing my part. I’m staying the hell away from that soccer stadium they call Rice Eccles. I will be locked in a room by myself surrounded by lots things that I can smash against the wall. This damn game brings out the worst in me. Soon it will be over.

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