As someone who’s not really into sports (beyond wanting the Cubs to win and the Yankees to lose), rivalries are more-or-less lost on me. Even though my parents are on opposite sides of the Alabama-Auburn one, I never really caught the passion for it. At best, I’d been vaguely aware of their existence. That all changed when we moved to Utah and smack-dab into what I can only identify as one of the most rancorous relationships between two groups I’ve seen that didn’t involve some form of ethnic cleansing.
It’s easy to see why it’s so nasty. The BYU-University of Utah rivalry is used as a stand-in for political, religious, and cultural differences by almost all involved. It’s not even isolated to conservative, Republican members of the LDS church versus liberal, Democratic atheists either; I’ve seen plenty of church members use the rivalry as a proxy in the battle over church culture. I hate everything about it, and it makes me like almost everyone involved at least a little less.
And really, why shouldn’t it? This year alone gives me reason to hate both teams’ fans. Utah fans mocked BYU (and my faith) with a tasteless “baptism” video. BYU fans threw trash on the refs to show their displeasure with the calls. I could probably write an entire lengthy book on the shenanigans that make both dishonorable at best. How silly do you have to be to act as if a football game is going to settle any kind of deep-seated differences?
Let’s just settle this right now: you’re both classless jerks, but you’re too focused on how the other guy is being a jerk to recognize your own jerkiness. I, for one, am glad to be getting at least a three year break from this ridiculous display of proxy culture war. Unfortunately, I’m sure no more than maybe a handful of you will use that time to reflect on how deplorable your middle-school actions have become over a worthless and meaningless sports game. You “adults” need to grow up already.