I ventured down to LES with a good friend and wasn’t sure what to expect seeing that I’d never been to that stadium. We went to a tailgate not far from LES and ran into a fairly large mix of both BYU and Utah fans. We joined a small tailgate sporting our red UF.N shirts and had a pretty good time talking to other fans. Most everyone knew about UF.N and quite a few knew that we had updated our site, which was neat.
We made our way over to the Stadium and almost immediately I noticed that no one seemed to care that I was wearing red and everyone was very friendly. We sat in a BYU section and made small talk with the Cougar Fans around us, who were very nice and even took a genuine interest in us. It was not at all what I expected. Of course, I was disappointed in the outcome of the game, but on my way out I managed to shake the hands of as many BYU fans as I could and congratulated them on a nice victory.
I had a good experience. I feel my friend and I represented Utefans quite well and we made the best of a disappointing situation. BYU clearly deserved to win that game and for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel sad that we had lost. I just didn’t have that familiar gut-wrenching feeling that at different points in my life would have followed me for a few days or even longer. I was happy for BYU and impressed with their fans.
I spoke with Jordan Wynn last week and he mentioned that the fans “blew the rivalry out of proportion”. It made more sense after my experience tonight. I will say that generally, the kind of people who obsess over this rivalry on message boards represent such a small fraction of their fan base that they can be quite misleading. I reflected on my personal experience with this rivalry and came to realize that a lot of the behavior I’ve seen at RES has been far less impressive than what I observed tonight. The sacrament tray with whiskey shots in it came to mind…
I am a Ute Fan through and through, I always have been and always will be, but tonight changed my entire outlook on this “rivalry” of ours. I don’t care for the vitriol I see online and won’t be condoning it anymore. As both schools are now part of P5 conferences I think things are inevitably going to change and hopefully change for the better. This message board world I am so well acquainted with didn’t at all represent the graciousness I encountered this evening.
I should add, I think the group we have on this board now is fantastic and I am always happy to post and share thoughts and ideas here. Unfortunately, for a period of time Utefans was not exactly a fun or inviting place to be. It was such a tragic decline from a once-proud gathering place for the most ardent Ute fans. We were the original Utah site but our reputation was severely damaged for reasons many (if not most) of you are already aware of.
I hope Utefans can return to its former glory and possibly even exceed that. I hope as members we can set the best example for our fellow fans. I also hope that when BYU fans come to RES we can give them the kind of experience I had tonight.