I cried at church on Sunday.
Well, I almost did. I saw a fellow Y fan in a Cougar tie and I about lost it in front of a whole roomful of guys. I noticed that several of them on the brink of tears as well. We gave each other space and took turns looking at the wall.
No one said a word about the game.
Losing is something that few of us Cougar fans have become accustom to. That’s the problem with getting so emotionally involved in football. I cheer my guts out, which is incredibly satisfying when the outcome is positive, but when we lose it takes me days to recover.
Yeah, I know. It's just a game.
I’m not the kind that is prone to pouting — not for very long anyway. I see a Ute fan pass me in the next lane over and I don’t have to fight the urge to beat him to the light or run him off the road. They won a hard-fought game and I respect that.
I don’t begrudge the University of Utah of its accomplishment.
I don't make excuses either or use little placating statements like, “There is more than the score,” or “I‘m just in it to have fun,” nor would I think things like, “It was a moral victory," or “You can’t win them all."
I want to win them all. And I’ll have fun when my team wins. I admit that losing a big one hurts like a hammer to the head. Ain't it great!
Being emotionally invested in your football team has its benefits. Honestly, I have a blast even in a loss. I love the hype and the face painting. I love feeling the energy of 64,000 fans in the stadium and the noise they make when something goes their way. I get a kick out of booing the national commentators who can't say a decent thing about my team.
I love the nerve/death wish of the visiting team's fans stashed in the corner, trying to be as loud as possible. And, I love the camaraderie of seeing someone in Cougar blue, regardless of the shade. We up our thumbs and give a little nod of acknowledgement.
"S’up. Go Cougs."
I’m not about to change teams. I’m blue to the core. My “Bronco for President” sign is not coming down just because we lost a game. I won't be hanging my head either, regardless of a tear or two and nor do I expect Utah fans to subtly keep their distance.
A Ute fan at my wife’s work drug a little stuffed Cougar on a leash around with her in the office all day Monday and I can’t blame her. She loves her team as much as I love mine and her team won. I can take a little gloating.
Frankly, I plan on a little gloating myself — a little rising and shouting in three years when the two teams play again. Untill then, I will remember that my favorite team beat the Longhorns and that Boise State is coming up and Wisconsin as well. If that doesn't do the trick, the Irish await in South Bend.
That thought makes me as excited as ... well, a true blue, dyed-in-the-wool Cougar fan.
When my daughter asks me why the blue lights are still on and the BYU flag continues to flap in the front yard, I will tell her flat out: Win or lose, I am as loyal today to my team as I was last Saturday afternoon.
I still love my Cougars.
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