My interest in BYU football has been pendular. It began with an upward swing when the family moved from Grand Junction to Provo/Edgemont the summer before 7th grade. I switched from listening on Saturday afternoons to the Notre Dame football radio broadcast (technology could not transmit the TV signal over the rockies from Denver), to listening to BYU football.
It did not take more than a couple of losing seasons to have the pendulum arc swing downward to a ‘loss expected’, and then downward further to ‘disinterest’. You can only have your heart broken so many times, somewhat like teenage dating (see Jeanette, Sandy, Kathryn). My college sports allegiance switched to BYU basketball, in part because Stan Watts was the coach and our Edgemont neighbor, and partly because his teams were consistent winners. During my four years at BYU, I cannot remember attending a single home football game, or ever missing a home basketball game (getting in line early, spreading a blanket, playing hearts/card game with friends).
The pendulum was pretty much stuck there for a long time, with a handful of memorable exceptions. There was the 1968 BYU-UTEP game with my dad (the only live college game we ever saw together), when we watched UTEP, what else, come from three scores behind to win 31-25; there was the 1970 BYU-Western Michigan game that Marilyn and I saw with our dear friends, the Longs, driving from Midland, MI to Kalamazoo (you guessed it, BYU lost 35-17); and, finally, there was driving from Redlands to San Diego to the 1983 Holiday Bowl game against Missouri when BYU scored in the last 23 seconds with QB Steve Young catching a pass from running back Eddie Stinnett (21-17).
Fast forward to the year 2008. My son, Brinn, and I decided to attend the Idaho high school football 5A championship game played at the ISU Mini-Dome in Pocatello, not because we knew anything about the teams/players, just because we thought it would be fun. Highland high school out of Pocatello, was playing Eagle, a suburb of Boise. What we noticed was that the Highland QB, #3, was also the punter, punt returner, extra point/field goal kicker, kicked off and played in the defensive backfield. An ESPN high school web site reported, “QB Taysom Hill was sensational with 17 carries for 114 yards and two TDs, and completed 14 of 19 passes for 188 yards and two other scores leading his team to a 28-7 win” (or, as we know now, just another day at the office). When Taysom began playing QB for BYU, the pendulum arc swung upward.
II. The October 3rd, Utah State – BYU Football Game
By the fall of 2014, my son-in-law, Daniel, had become a member of the Utah State football staff. He was able to acquire three things for my brother Kirk and I to attend the game: one Aggie side line pass, one general admittance ticket near the school band, and one Utah State coach’s polo shirt. Since Kirk and I have a knack for finding enviable seating once inside a game (i.e. once, at a Jazz-Rockets NBA playoff game, we successfully carried in two folding chairs found under the bleachers, past the ushers, setting them up at the end of a row court side). The challenge was for us to be together on the sidelines.
Top Game Memories:
– Kent wears the side line pass around his neck, Kirk wears the coach’s polo shirt, and we ‘game the system’, walking past the security guards like we belonged there; five people standing near-us during the game were asked to leave, but not the official looking Granat brothers.
– Growing up in Provo/Orem/Edgemont we thought we might bump into someone we knew; we did, it just happened to be Bishop Rushing from my daughter Kirse’s home ward in Vancouver, WA who I had sat next to five days earlier.
– Before the game started, Daniel escorted us to the elevator (which has a seismic button), and to the press box with two long rows (where, who knew, there is a buffet meal for the press and side line pass groupies). From there, we went to the top of Lavell Edwards Stadium. The view is spectacular if you do not suffer from vertigo; one is outside on a three foot catwalk with a minimal guardrail, that leads to the video/camera room with three enclosed sides.
- Family TV viewers saw us on the screen three times, sending text messages and pictures. They seemed surprised to see us on TV, but not surprised to see we had figured out a way to be on the sidelines together.
|(the Forrest Gump shot - I think this looks like they are photoshopped into football history -ed.|
-The up close sights of the game were remarkable: three lighted skydivers flying directly overhead; Taysom throwing a 53 yard pass, seemingly coming right to us, and then 4 plays later, hurdling a defensive back to score; the Aggies scoring three times directly in front of us; and, being near ESPN’s ‘pleasant on the eyes’ sideline reporter.
– Jim McMahon received BYU sports hall of fame honors at half time, having to first finish four classes for his degree (telling the crowd it was not easy at age 55). It was vintage McMahon, dark glasses, noting he and Coach Edwards “had their time together”, every Monday morning, having to report on his weekend activities after the game.
– If there is one thing we will never forget is the sound; not the loud, loud sound of the crowd, but the rumbling footsteps of large blocking offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs all converging at the same time, and at the same sideline spot, as the ball carrier. The ground shakes/the sound rumbles and reminds one of a stampede in a western movie on a short start and stop sequence.
– If you stand on your feet from about 7 pm until midnight (except for sitting during half time on some borrowed defensive linemen chairs), your body says, ‘you are old and not used to this, are you?’ while your head tells you, ‘I would do this again in a heartbeat’.
"The lights go down, and this woman with a voice like thunder, this woman, she summons all the animals of the jungle to appear and honor the birth of the new lion king. You know what? It was…it was….it was really something."
As most everyone knows, Taysom Hill, regrettably, was injured in the game, and is out for the rest of the season. With the injury, the pendulum has swung downward once again. But, when Taysom returns next fall for his senior season, the pendular interest will return. After that, the pressures from a divided football family, with Utah State and University of Utah grads, intensifies.