this i believe

12:08 PM

So BYU. When you hear about it, you think about crazy Mormons, right?  Let's face it, that is definitely one of the first things an outsider is going to comment on.  But BYU's got more than that - excellent education, lots of great people to outweigh the crazies, a beautiful campus, and sports.  I always thought that BYU was the best university ever - with everything I'd ever ever want.  Being a big sports fan, it's always been equally important to me to have a team to root for and love (may or may not have been one of the deciding factors in NOT going to BYU-I).  One thing that I now firmly believe after my first semester at BYU is that by being a BYU sports fan, heart ache and devastation inevitably follow.

My parents have always been really uptight about BYU games.  They’re both BYU alum and love sports.  My dad always approached a game pessimistically, offering praise at only the most impeccable plays.  Literally.  He'll gripe and mutter that BYU has no chance and then when they eventually win he'll say, "oh that was just lucky, they probably won't go further."  I've now learned to just never talk to him before any important game.  My mom would hide in her room until it was over.  I thought both of them were absolutely ridiculous.  My mom always explained that they had had their heart broken so many times before that any important game was difficult to watch.  Only now do I fully understand what they were talking about.

At this point, if people's first comment about BYU is the Mormons, then their second comment will probably be about point guard Jimmer Fredette.  Haven't heard of him?  Well, he's kind of a big deal.  He led the nation in scoring with 28.8 points per game, carried the team to a regular-season championship, tournament final, and the NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen.  To the naked eye, these are all wonderful accomplishments for BYU.  To someone who went to every single home game, spent hours reading recaps and watching highlights online, and believed that this was the year for BYU to make it into the final four – it's all led to one big heartbreak.

Of course I remember Jimmer’s 52 points against New Mexico.   Of course I remember the two incredible wins against San Diego State.  But I still feel the pain of the following blow outs from New Mexico and their tournament-exiting game against Florida.  The higher you are, the harder you fall, and it’s still difficult for me remember that final game without getting teary-eyed.  I'm not even joking, it took me two days to even mention the game.  As my nephew put it the next day when my sister mentioned that they'd lost, "but how?"

Think about Danny Ainge, the Jimmer of the 80s.  They fell to Virginia in the Elite Eight, after a one-point elating win against Notre Dame.  Think about football – we’ve lost more bowl games than we’ve won and 1984 was so long ago for football’s one and only championship title, now it’s hard to remember that the Cougs are even capable of making it there.  Think about the Harvey Ungas and the Brandon Davies who further dampen our spirits.  It’s always been a consistent pattern of so close, but not good enough.

I believe that a true sports fan puts their all into watching a game.  I'm not talking about the obnoxious bandwagoners who love them when they're winning, comment more on that cute #4 and how it's great that Jimmer dribbles down the court so well, then drop off the planet and forget basketball or football even happened afterwards when it's over.  No guys, I'm talking about a true hard-core sports fan.  You stand in line for hours, you lose your voice, you wear the jerseys, you shout expletives you didn’t know yourself capable of saying, (yes, even in front of the TV) you crave that natural high, and for what?  BYU’s teams only return with sorrow and disappointment.

Is it worth it?  Eh, ask me again next year.  Either way I'll be there.

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