Vai's View: Even 'Mr. BYU' has soft spot for Utes


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  • BlueNtheFace Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    June 12, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    What's Vai selling now?? Hope he holds some of it back so that he doesn't completely sell out...

  • MESOUTE Karchaj, A.V.
    June 12, 2011 2:34 p.m.

    Mr. BYU is the only sane person in the whole rivalry. More great stuff from Vai.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    June 11, 2011 5:29 p.m.

    mountain man,

    So what is your point? Don't think any of his new rugby fans expect him to switch sides or even be neutral once it's on. Really? Do you?

    After a tough loss last year, I received plenty of conciliatory words during the long walk out of RES. I really wouldn't ask for more.

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    June 11, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    Via, I worked with your wife at the post office and I know she is not a u fan. She bleeds blue. Sad but true.
    As for rugby players, that is not a sport. It is a battle. Who would put themselves through such pain as to play that sport.
    I feel pain just watching rugby. Come on. We are a civilized society. Such human cruelty should not be tolerated.
    You can sugar coat how wonderful red and blue are.... But on game day... Do you feel the same or is your heart pulling for blue. Exactly my point. You can talk the talk of being multi colored person but game day you are only blue. It's the truth. In the end you can't walk the walk!

  • Laser Iowa City, IA
    June 11, 2011 4:02 p.m.

    It will be an interesting day to day Utah stars reach out to BYU teams. Then we'll have a story.

  • NewMexicoUte Albuquerque, NM
    June 11, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    I couldn't have written this article any better. Its too bad some of us can't take this article with humility and for what it is and get it all twisted. What good sportsmanship coming from a BYU alum. Way to go my Poly Brother, and be the example from a non-Mormon.

  • Anne26 West Jordan, UT
    June 11, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    @ In Stitches: I could echo your words, but from the other side of things. Hearing comments from hateful BYU fans over the years, sometimes from the pulpit at testimony meetings, has left me without respect for most BYU fans.

    That being said, my son and my son-in-law are both students down at BYU, and I appreciate the experience they are having there. Thankfully, as a family, we are able to each take pride in our schools, without hateful words exchanged. I like to think I have raised a new breed of BYU fan; one who will act much like Vai has if given the opportunity.

    Vai, you are a man of God first, before anything else, and it is something we should all strive for. Thank you for your example.

  • Chickenchaser Centralia, WA
    June 11, 2011 9:41 a.m.

    Vai, my hereo, and no disrespect intended. You are in excellent condition, therefore, in order to give you a taste of what it is like to have a profound respect for those with whom you work whether they be red or blue, change into black and white verticals, slip a whistle between your jaws and step onto the hardwoods or the gridiron. After all its exciting to step below two towering athletes smiling down at you just before the opening toss. Its kind of like love at first sight.

  • Truth csar Colorado Springs, CO
    June 11, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    We have more in common than not, and all have the eternal goal. It is great to see so many accentuate and build on the positive.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad Richland, WA
    June 11, 2011 7:35 a.m.

    Those of us with incipient paranoia need to remember to ignore the offenses perpetrated against us. 95% of the time the offense was unintended. And the other 5%? Nothing ticks them off more than to be ignored!

    Unfortunately, I'm far better at telling the answers than living them. Vai, you are a great role model and 95% of us appreciate it! And you so nailed it: 100% for the young men and women, whatever their color or colors.

  • JMT Springville, UT
    June 11, 2011 6:33 a.m.

    Great story. I played rugby at BYU, have a great deal of respect for the Ute rugby team. Funny that Mr Rowley is straining on his tippy toes for the picture.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    June 11, 2011 6:24 a.m.

    All that said (to which I wholeheartedly agree), I for one am happy that Kyle is the Utes' head coach and no longer Urban, who was a strong divisive factor while he was here in terms of true sportsmanship.

    Admitting the fact that Meyer was an excellent coach, his "the team down south" was a childish and immature approach to college sports rivalry and competition.

    Yea! I cheer, for Kyle and Bronco, as well as yea for Urban's departure six years ago.

  • In Stitches Provo, Utah
    June 11, 2011 2:02 a.m.

    Meyer did great things for the Ute football program, but not great things for the rivalry. Not because he elevated their play, but because he lowered the standard of respect shown to their brothers, the Cougars.

    Growing up in this state, I cheered for both teams. I went to BYU because academically it was a better fit for me and my chosen career path. Post-Urban-era Ute fans (and not all of them) have made me feel defensive about my school, have made personal attacks on my character because of my school and have rid me of any fondness I once had for their school.

    I can no longer cheer for a team represented by such awful and hate-filled bigots. It is not all of Ute fans. There are plenty of wonderful fans in their stadiums, but sadly it is enough of them.

  • I Still Can't Say It Holladay, UT
    June 11, 2011 12:03 a.m.

    Vai has a healthy perspective and a great attitude toward the rivalry -- and my respect for him has only increased after reading his column today.

    I do have to add though, I'm surprised the D-News would publish a positive perspective about the Utes given its tendency to try and demonize Utah whenever possible, such as that strange editorial a few weeks back. Hopefully Vai's maturity will rub off on some of the other sports writers at the paper.

    Thank you Vai.

  • Mountainman56 Alpine, UT
    June 10, 2011 10:39 p.m.

    Vai, say it ain't so - you've gone over to the dark side of the force! Ok, just kidding. This was a great gesture and I think he did the Cougars proud by showing support of a group of quality young men, even though they play for our rivals.

  • T-spoon West Jordan, UT
    June 10, 2011 10:16 p.m.

    Vai's articles are always well written. I'm always impressed. Good to see a comment board like this as well.

    Keep up the good work Vai!

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    June 10, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    JMH and Lifelong Republican:

    Kyle displays the same attitude toward the Y that Vai has for the U. On Meyer's interview of Kyle for ESPN, Kyle made a positive remark about BYU. Meyer asked, "You can say that name?" Kyle responded (proudly, I think), "It's my alma mater." Neither Kyle nor Bronco is as demonstrative a personality or as loquacious as Vai, so their mutual respect doesn't gush, but it's there.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    June 10, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    JMH makes a great point.

    I'd love to see Kyle Whittingham have the same attitude towards BYU that Vai has towards Utah.

    Respect for the team and the players coming from the coaches would go a LONG way.

  • Laser Iowa City, IA
    June 10, 2011 8:58 p.m.

    I think this should be the best rivalry in the nation, not because of bad blood but because both universities have a great insight to what matters most in life. Yes, I'm talking the eternal perspective...If we can get the pious segment of BYU fans and the self-righteous segment of U fans to chill...it could be a ton of fun.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    June 10, 2011 8:52 p.m.


  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    June 10, 2011 8:23 p.m.

    Great article....but don't let them pull you all the way over. Come the 3rd week of September and the real Vai will come back out of the closet.

  • JMH Clifton, VA
    June 10, 2011 7:38 p.m.


    I enjoyed the article and I can understand what you have said about Utah. What I would like to see is Kyle Whittingham give the same respect to his alma mater that you are able to provide to Utah. He has allowed himself to be sucked into the vortex that Urban Meyer created and seems to have a difficult time even saying "BYU". As a proud BYU graduate I can easily say "University of Utah" and have respect for them as a school and team. To anything less would be childish and to be honest, that is where i think Kyle has allowed himself to dwell.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    June 10, 2011 6:08 p.m.

    Thanks for the article Vai. As a rabid Ute living near Utah County, we also done BYU gear in case our neighbors have a free ticket every so often. No problems here either.

  • 4YNWYOMING Evanston, WY
    June 10, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    Not "the" Mr. BYU in my book and never was. I think that Vai is looking for work at BYU after he retires from his current job in Philly. He tends to elevate himself by dropping the names of those known by readers as if they are his "best" friends, or "I know more than you". This is not my opinion of him as a person as I think he is probably a good person and means well...however, he is not "the" face of BYU. Many of those who have attended BYU, who are doing great things in and out of business, who are making major and minor contributions to their communities, who serve others to the best of their abilities and capabilities, both male and female...they are the face of BYU throughtout the world. They are the Misters, Misses, Ma'am's, etc. of BYU.

  • maddog Hooper, UT
    June 10, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Your a class act Mr. Vai, a class act. Thanks for taking care of those good boys in Philly.

    A Ute fan.

  • byu rugby Crystal Lake, IL
    June 10, 2011 4:46 p.m.

    I played rugby with Vai's little brother Cappy and Rich Kafusi. The Polys are just great people unless, you are in their way on the rugby pitch. Vai, just remember while you are slumming with UofU that BYU is a better place to study and play rugby.

  • AllSeeingEye Salt Lake City, UT
    June 10, 2011 4:32 p.m.

    Hear, hear!

    Thanks to Vai for another great post and for being a wonderful ambassador!

    We wear both colors in our family and cheer for both teams. No hate here. I love that you put on a Utah shirt. The ties that bind those of us who share a cultural or religious heritage are, or should be, so much stronger than the our allegence to a particular school.

    The Rivalry (and we love it) would benefit from more and more people making clear the feelings Vai has shared!

  • dave31 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 10, 2011 4:29 p.m.

    Vai, you are one of those remarkable people who make the world a better place in which to live. Whenever I read one of your great articles, I am reminded how proud you make me that I am an "Honarary Tongan" of more than 20 years standing.

    Keep up the good work.

  • cougarjax Clinton, UT
    June 10, 2011 4:21 p.m.

    Love the article Vai. Thanks for all the great years of watching you play football. The Utes and Cougs have morphed into a sibling rivalry over the years. We fight each other, but don't anyone else mess with out brothers!! I like the Utes when they're not playing the Cougs. I would love to watch them own the PAC12. I want them to lose only to us next season.

  • Blue Chelan56 Chelan, WA
    June 10, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    I am with you Via. Great story! Last year, or the year before,I attended the U tah vs. Pitt.in Rice Echles. I have been "True Blue since 52" ,Married to a BYU Homecoming Queen.Played ball for BYU. I wore all the Red clothing offered by kidding Family members who are Ute Fans to the Max.( they just Knew I wouldn't do it) Had a great time and was not uncomfortable in the least. Over the years I have always followed the Utes when I am not absorbed with BYU GAMES.I agree with Wayne Rout,however,The reverse role playing is just not going to happen with my family In-laws. This is a Great Rivalry, but,some aspects of it has become very Toxic,sadly to say.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    June 10, 2011 3:09 p.m.

    Some things are better off not discussed. This is one of them. When I see Utah fans hosting BYU players and wearing blue I'll take this a little more seriusly. Until then, I am puzzled at the purpose of the story.

  • BlueSaint South Jordan, UT
    June 10, 2011 2:59 p.m.

    My only problem with Vai is He could have done all of that without putting on a Utah shirt. I mean, you can show some level of respect without donning your rivals colors. Maybe your vision is blurred just a little bit. Oh well, no big deal!

  • BYU DUDE Provo, UT
    June 10, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    Somehow I get the feeling Vai is double agent Maxwell Smart , played for BYU but secretly recruits for UTAH. Vai do you secretly work for Kaos. Has anyone seen agent Ninety-Nine up on the Ute campus. ?

    In all seriousness who are the big profile relatives Vai has recruited to BYU lately. ?

    I seriously question what Vai tells recruits, and the fact so many Utah fan's are here tells me Kaos has done a number on Vai.

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    June 10, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    As a Ute fan, there are very few BYU players I respect more (as a player and a person) than Vai. I enjoyed the article and enjoyed the fact that you hosted the U Rugby 7s team. I have become a big rugby 7s fan - the game is a blast to watch. Thanks for the sport promo!

    Go Utes

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    June 10, 2011 1:06 p.m.


    Thanks for doing your part to help make the Utah/BYU rivalry more civil. You always show great class and leadership in your column and I'm sure in everything you do by recognizing there are connections that bind us all together, no matter what school we attended or cheer for.

  • Tommy2Shoes Lehi, UT
    June 10, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    True blue and still I enjoy Utes success except when playing the Cougars. As a Utah resident I'm hopeful that good kids get a chance at a free education and glory on the field. Regardless of which school is chosen let's hope they represent the school well. Recent revelations about Ohio State, Auburn, USC, et. al. are not in the NCAAs best interest. Stay compliant.

  • showmeyatd's Pleasant View, Utah
    June 10, 2011 12:53 p.m.

    I wish I could meet Vai sometime. Hearing the way he talks makes you understand how much wisdom he has. The rivalry gets extremely ugly sometimes and a lot of times I'm in the middle of it. Occasionally it's nice to step back and enjoy what both teams have accomplished. Definitely both sides fans try to belittle what the other has accomplished. One thing both schools can agree on is that both teams will be getting much more exposure and money. It's going to be nice to get some hype and highlights on ESPN for both of our instate schools. Well I'll try and treat the Utes with more respect all though sometimes they know just the buttons to push. Go Cougs

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    June 10, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    I am a Ute all the way, but have enjoyed Vai and his writings for quite some time. I usually understand where Vai is coming from rather I agree with him or not. Some of this is his balanced perspective within his personal views. Much of it, is his polished writing ability that covers all bases for interpretation.

    If I could give Vai a constructive criticism (my POV), it would be to leave out his resume much of the time. That said, it is often justified by what Vai is writing about. Plus, even as a Ute, I do find his life accomplishments impressive. Maybe some need to be impressed in order for Vai to be the missionary he desires to be.

    Also @ In My Humble Opinion, I think I am aware of your reference point. Still what are you sweating over.

    All but two posts were refreshing today!

    @ Jonas, I don't know anything concerning Tevita Ofahengaue, but you should leave his name out of your postings relative to some "rumor mill" you dwell in. I am not saying that you shouldn't wonder about these issues at BYU, but please leave my Lucky Charms out of it.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 10, 2011 12:43 p.m.

    You helped recruit Sitaki to byu? Sounds like a recruiting violation....I kid, I kid.

  • AZ Blue & Red Gilbert, AZ
    June 10, 2011 12:31 p.m.

    Great article Vai. Was there with you in the stands at BYU.

    As a young man in the 70's I sort of lived at the U going to many U games, participating in all the kids summer camps on campus. Sneaking into the "new" under construction underground sports complex as well as riding my bike to the U on the mountain and playing many rounds of golf with my late father on the golf course. I worked at the U hospital for several years and went to East High School just down the street. I even got my mission call after attending the BYU Utah game in SLC Nov of 76. Yet I wanted to go to BYU.

    I am true Blue but Red at heart for all but a few games during the year. I do not like to see the hate I see on posts. I refuse to read them. Vai, thanks for your comments. Hope many take this attitude to heart.

    As for my Ute buddies, I am still waiting for all the Pizza's you owe me from the Football games during our tenure in college. Including 1976. It's about time.

  • Jonas Denver, Colorado
    June 10, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Do what you want, Vai, you don't have to answer to us for your personal feelings.

    One question, though, which you are well-situated to answer: It appears that there is a vocal minority of ex-BYU players who are poly, who have decided that BYU did them wrong and they were offended. Their response, seemingly, is to decide that they hate BYU now, and that they are going to be Utah supporters from now on.

    The most recent example, via the rumor mill, is Tevita Ofahengaue.

    How does this happen, and what do you think about it?

    When I try to imagine it out of a sports context, it seems ludicrous. For example, I applied for a position with Kellogg's, but was rejected. Should I now declare my undying hatred of Kellogg and my new-found love for General Mills? "My family only eats "Lucky Charms" from now on!

    Should I decide that I hate the US because they audited me, and declare my undying for for Iran?

    Seems ridiculous, but yet every couple of years, it seems, there are rumors of another BYU player who has gone over to the "dark side".

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    June 10, 2011 12:03 p.m.

    Just keep those Poly players coming to BYU.

  • MT UTE Missoula, MT
    June 10, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    Great article Vai. Enjoyed it immensely. Keep up the good work and go Utes!

  • fresnogirl Fresno, CA
    June 10, 2011 11:58 a.m.

    Great article, Vai. I bet those young men had a blast!

  • 2020 Herriman, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    I'm a Utah fan that used to always cheer for BYU and Utah, except when they played each other. Sports radio and the internet have ruined that. I'm hoping that no longer being in the same conference will eventually allow me to cheer for both schools again.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    Keep breaking the walls down Vai.

    I think President Uchtdorf made it plenty clear that we are all on the same team and anyone who is not following his words might as well start smoking, drinking, and looking at Pornography. It's either all true or none of it and you can't pick and choose.

    There is no room for the silly hate and insults that the fans with fragile ego's display. Thanks for continuing to lead the way by putting your actions in front of your mouth.

    I love the rivalry. It is fun to play each other when we share the same media market and get information on both schools from the local papers. Both teams really are doing great and fun to watch. Let's enjoy this season and have watching our local athletes compete no matter what school they play for.

    The fans that can't see past their own team color are limiting themselves to their own

  • Carson Provo, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:44 a.m.

    Great Article. Dick Harmon could take a lesson from Vai!

  • In My Humble Opinion South Jordan, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    All that said, Vai, you could have still embraced the Utes while wearing Cougar gear, even at Rice Eccles! It would've been a great example that friendship with your rival is not disloyal to your alma mater!

  • In My Humble Opinion South Jordan, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    One of the great myths, nay, lies, is that competitors must hate each other. In my life I have never competed against anyone more passionately than against my brothers, nephews, and cousins, whom I love.

    Perhaps that "hate" lie filters into sports because historically sports, fitness, manhood, and unfortunately war, have been oft times interconnected. Soldiers returned from war and drill sergeants became coaches, or coaches emulated their drill sergeant and both the good and bad of war preparations permeated sports, particularly the physical, demanding sport of football.

    Whatever the reason, hate between rivals gets in the way of fun, friendly, but still-intense rivalry that could build comaraderie and closeness, but instead increases distance.

    Ironically, the hate and distance more often occurs between immature fans than between actual participants who learn to respect each other through the competition because the understand the mutual commitment, sacrifice and effort it takes to strive for excellence and to produce great competition.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Your a great example to all Vai. Happy to read another of your blogs.

  • provofan PROVO, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Good article with some great points about friendship and sportsmanship despite cheering or playing for separate teams. I agree with Vai that we should respect the neighboring rival; however, I cant get myself to submit to wearing a rivals tee shirt or hat, even for a friend. You are a better man than me Vai!

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:27 a.m.

    These comment boards are often the worst representation of the rivalry. My friends, coworkers and neighbors are a mixed bag of BYU and Utah fans, and we have fun following the teams and talking sports. In our family and many others, the kids split up and attend the different schools - some even attend both (one for undergrad and one for grad work).

    We "regular" folks enjoy a good rivalry game as much as anyone. Since we vastly outnumber the crazies who scream hatred and profanities, let's do more to set the example for the next generation of Y an U fans.

  • 1984 for life Salt Lake City, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:26 a.m.

    Great guy and a great example of how all BYU/Utah fans should behave.

  • Magna Ute Fan Magna, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    Great article. Thanks Vai. You are an awesome example of true sportsmanship. I hope people on both sides of the Utah - BYU rivalry will follow your example.

    Keep up the great work.

  • goatesnotes Kamas, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    What's up with Vai? So adult in his split loyalties. He sees the blue and red world exactly the way I do.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    June 10, 2011 11:13 a.m.

    Great perspective from one who can really see things as they are and ought to be.

  • Utes21 Salt Lake City, ut
    June 10, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    As always Vai your articles are well written and well thought out. I am Ute fan all the way but when it comes down to it sports is just sports. I like the fact that these young men are being responsible and doing there best to live the gospel while working hard in school. I also have a deep respect for those who arent members of the church on these sports teams and how they live there lives repectively. Doesnt matter what university you play for, all that matters is who you are as a person. This is more important than how many points they can score anyday.