Letter to the editor: I'm appalled and embarrassed by the fair-weather fans at BYU

By S.J. Anderson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 26 2012 2:05 p.m. MST

Editor's note: This letter was written partially in response to "BYU's Mendenhall needs to serve his offense the D's Kool-Aid — and maybe change some of the servers," by Dick Harmon

To the editor of the Deseret News,

I am not one to write letters to the editor. In fact, this is the first time I have written to a news organization expressing my opinion on any subject. However, when I was suddenly awakened early Christmas morning, not by reindeer's hooves, but by feelings of dismay and disappointment, I was compelled to write. I am appalled and embarrassed by the fair-weather fans at BYU!

Some perspective might be helpful to the reader. I am a lifelong fan of BYU and BYU sports and for many years have held season tickets to football and basketball games. My wife and I attended BYU and both our parents attended and graduated from BYU as well. My father was also a professor at BYU, and spent his personal and professional life devoted to BYU's avowed principles and standards. Following family tradition, my oldest daughter now attends BYU. In short, I’m a Cougar from head to toe.

I grew up playing football (quarterback) and basketball (point guard) for Orem High, and I attended every BYU football and basketball game possible (hundreds). When I couldn’t attend, I listened intently to Paul James call the games on KSL radio — no one was better than James. At the home games before the stadium expansion, I remember playing football at halftime with other kids behind the bleachers in the north end zone; I would envision myself as Pete Van Valkenburg or Gary Sheide. In my driveway shooting hoops, I dreamed of being Danny Ainge; I even wore the No. 22 on my high school basketball jersey. I loved sports and I loved BYU. Despite having opportunities to play junior college ball, I chose to attend BYU after completing an LDS mission.

So it is with my life's perspective that I am disappointed to acknowledge that many fans have become spoiled and, in some instances, turned rotten. At times, while attending games, it takes every ounce of control I can muster to not expose the stupidity of some fans to everyone sitting within the sound of my voice.

I do not claim to be an expert in football or basketball, but at least I played both games and have coached at the high school level. The comments that come from some fans are absurd, and reveal their lack of knowledge of the sport and — more painfully — their lack of true support for a team they supposedly sustain! Over the years I have heard our players and coaches berated and harshly criticized by self-proclaimed experts and BYU fans who say they "bleed blue." With every critical comment, these so-called fans expose their own incompetence and lack of Christianity. I am sick of it; I am troubled by it.

Over the years, I've heard calls for even coach LaVell Edwards to be fired when things weren’t going perfectly. Now it's coach Bronco Mendenhall, coach Brandon Doman or coach Mark Weber who need to go? We need a scapegoat to punish for our "horrible" 8-5 season, which ended in a bowl game victory. What an awful year! It must be the coaching. After all, theses very coaches have spoiled us with how many 10-game seasons? (BYU has had five 10-game seasons and six bowl victories since 2006.) We now expect to win 10 or more games every year and to be consistently ranked in the top 20.

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