Saturday, November 24, 2007

Class Or Crass, Continued

I was able to attend the BYU-Utah game today, and, wow--what another exciting finish. I'm to the point where I expect gut-wrenching games every year, and this was no exception. Perhaps I will just watch the last minute of every BYU-Utah game from now on to minimize the stress.

I observed a few things that slightly marred the day, though: One was Utah coach Kyle Whittingham not being man enough after the game to give Harvey Unga his proper due after Unga's stellar performance almost single-handedly won the game for BYU. Whittingham responded that Unga was "pretty good" when asked to comment on his play. He later half-heartedly said that Unga "really hurt us", but it seemed clear that Whittingham still could not bring himself to be fully complimentary of this great player that originally committed to play for him. Somehow I cannot see Bronco Mendenhall being anything less than completely commendatory of an opposing player, even if he had lost a recruiting battle for that player.

Why do I mention that? If any LDS Utah fans visit this site, I want to continue to hammer home the point that their school and coach probably do not represent them very well.

More disturbing than that was the twenty-something Utah fan standing on a street corner near the stadium before the game waving a sign that read "BYU sucks" on one side--OK, I admittedly don't expect better than that from many of those in red--but "Bronco likes little boys" on the other. Nice.

Unfortunately, though, I also saw a couple of college-age BYU fans wearing shirts that I had recently heard about. One said "U Suck", and the other--I have forgotten what it said--was no better.

I am concerned when I see BYU fans stooping to the level of many Utah fans, allowing for the likelihood that none will ever stoop so low as to approximate the depraved joke about our coach noted above. Not one BYU supporter should be derogatory of a rival. There is a minimum level of refinement, if you will, expected of Latter-day Saints, and, by extension, BYU fans. Does this mean we should all be model citizens? Well, yes it does.

We should frankly be cautious when dealing with colleagues who are Utah fans when we return to work. It is great to be victorious. We should be gracious in victory, regardless of how those colleagues may have been when the tables were turned. A broader perspective needs to be considered when dealing with human relationships. In the end, we should be representative of our faith at all times, including after the emotionally charged rivalry game.

As a minor postscript, behavior representative of a BYU fan should also include cleaning up our trash at the stadium when we leave. People seemed conscientious in that regard when I went to a game earlier in the season, but I didn't see many around me picking up after themselves today.

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