Particularly after I perused the Daily Chronicle mistakenly inserted in the Deseret News this week, I was reminded that rivalries have very few positive outcomes. Rivalries desensitize, dehumanize, and demean. Some fans take rivalries as license for hatred and prejudice; the opposing school becomes the faceless enemy with no redeeming value, unworthy of sympathy, compassion or concern. “Love thy neighbor” is null and void on the run-up to certain games.
Restraint is not a hallmark of rivalries. In fact, rivalries inspire behavior unchecked by self control, giving fans permission to perpetrate breathtakingly dumb pranks in the name of loyalty. Rivalry impairs judgment because it takes counsel from immaturity and a false sense of personal and institutional righteousness.
It’s too bad there aren’t any laws on the books that would let the sheriff to charge overzealous fans with multiple counts of gross stupidity because whether one wears red or blue on game day, stupid is as stupid does. Painting the school colors on one’s face or body does not prove one’s loyalty; it proves only that one has no dignity, self respect or wisdom.
And I’m fairly sure that pathetic issue of The Chronicle didn't have its desired impact. It was more of an embarrassment for the University of Utah than an insult to BYU, kind of like seeing Michael Moore in a speedo—you had to look away.
It may come as a surprise to some die-hards, but game stats and rah-rah team loyalty are not part of the entrance exam into heaven. Get over it.