Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lessons from My Nephew's First College Football Game

Quick note: This was written last year, but I just recently found it and since it is college football season, I thought I would put it on the blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. - Dad (John)

My nephew taught me an important lesson this weekend. Well, to clarify, he reminded of me of a lesson I already knew but had forgotten a long time ago. 

Stevie and I had tickets to see the Utes play on Saturday, but due to a poorly timed fever, Stevie had to stay home with a sick Duchess on instead. Deciding not to let the tickets go to waste, I had the privilege of taking my nephew to his first Utah Football game.

The second I picked him up from his aunt's house the questions began.

“Why are we wearing red?”
“Because Utah wears red.”

“What color is the other team?”
“I’m not sure.”

“Are we the good guys and they’re the bad guys?”
“Yes. Kind of. Well I guess they’re not bad, but we want beat them.”

"So who is the bad guys?"
"BYU is the bad guys." (BYU are our rivals.)
"Oh yeah. My dad says BYU sucks."
"Suck isn't a very nice word."

We got to our tailgate and my nephew immediately made friends with the kids from the neighboring tailgate spots. They played what appeared to be a mix of football, freeze tag, and hide-and-go-seek. Later, during the walk to the stadium the questions continued.

“Uncle John, Can I sit with those kids?”
“No probably not, the stadium is really big and they’re probably not sitting by us”

“Uncle John, Is the stadium really big?”
“Yes, it’s very, very big.”

“Uncle John… how big?”
“One million billion big.”

“Oh. Wow.”

At the game my nephew came to life. He wanted to know everything about the game: rules, player’s names, when he could be loud. He liked being loud the most. On every defensive third down, everyone in Rice-Eccles Stadium screams as loud as they can to try and disrupt the visiting team. Being able to scream as loud as he can blew my nephew's mind!

“Uncle John, Can we be loud now?”

“Uncle John, Can we be loud now?”

“Uncle John, Can we be loud now?”


The game went down hill in the third quarter. Utah started turning over the ball. Some calls didn't go our way. The other team scored. A lot. Still, every time I wanted to curse at our team, or scream at the refs, or hang my head and get angry, there was my nephew screaming.


And suddenly it all clicked. Suddenly I was walking into the Metrodome for the first time with my Grandpa to watch a Minnesota Twins game. Suddenly I was watching the Salt Lake Trappers play some unknown, Pioneer League team at Dirk's Field. I was clapping at a Timberwolves Game at the Target Center. I was standing in the south end zone of the old Rice Stadium stomping and jumping and screaming “Utah! Utah! Utah! AHHHH”

Honestly, I couldn't tell you a single, final score from any of those games from my childhood. 

Utah lost Saturday’s game. We exited the stadium with a horde of grumbling fans. I kept my nephew on my shoulders so I wouldn't lose him in the crowd. He was singing his own version of the Utah fight song.

“U-tah U-tah Dah ta dah ta dah”

“Uncle John, Did we win?”
“No buddy, we didn't win.”

“But that’s ok right?”
“Did you have fun?”
“Then that’s ok.”

“Uncle John, can I come to every Utah Game?”
“Probably not every one, but I’ll see what I can do.”

“Uncle John, does BYU really suck?”
“Suck is not a very nice word buddy… but yes, BYU sucks.”

1 comment:

  1. This is great. My son was following the Phillies to the last day of the season with the same passion as the beginning of the season despite the fact that they had been eliminated and were suffering from a terrible season. His enthusiasm was amamzing.
    I love how your nephew was happy to be able to be loud.
    Nice piece.