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Jul 16, 2019
CougaRR4L Contributor
I'm as Utah hating as any Utah living BYU fan can be but in defense of
those Utah fans who are decent individuals I'll just share a quick thought.

Most of the Utah fans I know are pretty solid, decent and educated individuals. My ward has a boat load of them and I love them all, as misguided as they may be. Ill admit that some of them have overly inflated and wholly inaccurate ideas about their team but I'm sure fans of teams all over the country are guilty of that. We may even have a few such individuals here! Now that is one side of the fan base so let me describe the other.

In February I was asked by a client to drop off the tools of an ex employee who they had fired for cause and did not want back on the premises. I have interacted with him before in passing and he is one of those individuals you can just tell goes straight from work to the bar and drinks himself silly every night. I followed my gps to a small ratty group of run down apartments literally right next to Southern Exposure (a stripe joint) on Center St in Salt Lake. The moment I stepped out of my car it reeked of alcohol, cigarettes and body odor. It was disgusting. I honestly felt physically dirty just being there. I knocked on his door got out of there 2 or 3 minutes later, didn't touch anything and still smelled like cigarettes for the rest of the day. Last time I can remember being around such moral and physical poverty was in the mission field and the smells took me back to many of those sad circumstances. Sad that such places exist in downtown Salt Lake City.

Why share that story? Because every door and window of those nasty apartments were decked out with Utah and PAC 12 decals. I thought about it the rest of my drive in context of the poverty I remember in some of my mission areas. That group of fans gives Utah a bad reputation and for good reason. They get drunk and stay drunk, have shocking vocabularies, look like they don't know how to spell hygiene and likely don't hesitate to share inappropriate, racist (etc) thoughts indiscriminately with the world. No question they come off as pathetic and offensive and when you run into one of them they will confirm the most hostile suspicions about that fan base. The jokes make themselves.

In defense of the Utah fans who are solid individuals these others individuals make them look and sound nasty. In defense of the nasty Utah fans, who else are they going to cheer for? Doesn't matter that they never attended that university and probably know nothing about it. In most states these fans would be divided somewhat equally among different opposing teams but not in Utah. BYU literally has an honor code against living their way of life so how many BYU fans will you find in those shocking circumstances? Most of these individuals likely have never been taught to live different from their current vices and lifestyles. Their football fandom can only naturally fall to Utah because they would not be comfortable as BYU fans and we wouldn't let them be comfortable. I don't say this in pride or jest, but I honestly pity this group. They live devoid of hope.

That doesn't mean the jokes won't and shouldn't continue. This is a rivalry. It also doesn't mean we can't be frustrated with the rest of their fan base when they don't confront their own about things no decent human being should say or do. I'm just trying to remind everyone that Utah draws from a much much broader fan base and represent more groups who are on the societal fringes.

With all that said I will say it drives me crazy when upstanding Utah fans in the first group refuse to acknowledge that there is a higher portion of the second group among their fans than in most fan bases (particularly BYUs) for all the reasons I mention above. It is silly to pretend BYU fans are making up fan horror stories when all Utah fans have to do it look around their own fans base to see these uneducated and offensive fans. Just the level of alcohol alone increases those odds. You are much more likely to spit on an opposing fan and yell obscenities in their face if you spend much of your life inebriated.
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Jul 16, 7:26pm

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