Opinion: Do real University of Utah football fans travel with the team?
This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.
PASADENA, Calif. — My radio partner — and the stadium voice of the University of Utah football team — Tim Hughes told me recently about a Utah fan who said to him: “Real fans travel with the team.”
I think he was giving Tim a hard time for not traveling to Las Vegas for the PAC-12 Championship game early this month. Tim will be in Pasadena for the Rose Bowl this coming Monday and will broadcast live from there Monday morning on KSL NewsRadio.
I’ve been thinking about that Utah fan’s comment — that “Real fans travel with the team.”
I don’t know how much of his comment was serious chastisement and how much was good-natured ribbing… but I know I wholeheartedly disagree with the premise.
What makes a real University of Utah football fan?
I believe I am as real a fan as any Utah fan, or any sports fan, even though I will not be going to the Rose Bowl. I graduated, twice, from the University of Utah. Back when I was a student, I couldn’t have cared less about football (although I was hired in 1985, when I was a model, to run out on the field at Rice Eccles during practice and give then-Head Coach Jim Fassel a kiss on the cheek for his birthday.)
I started tailgating and attending Utah games in 1991 in the Frank Dolce era. I loved going to games, even though I was guilty of taking law school books with me to study during timeouts. The Crimson Club advisory board even included me among its members for several years. During Red Rocks meets, the University of Utah women’s gymnastics team, you’d find me at the scorer’s table, doing the PA announcing.
The perspective of knowing football players
In the few years when I taught Media Law in the University of Utah’s communications department, I had several football players as students, including now-Defensive Coordinator Morgan Scalley. (He was a great student, by the way.) Having players in my classes gave me new insight into how deeply they take wins and losses to heart. After that experience, I began to feel happy for whichever team was victorious and sad for whoever lost, because I felt for those young men. Does that make me less of a fan?
Years later, life got in the way of attending sporting events in person. My Saturdays, and every other time in the week, became devoted to my family. Raising two young boys in my 40s, and three beautiful step-kids, took over my existence. It’s still all I do and love, when I’m not working.
“A Utah man sir, a Utah man am I!”
Now, I share my love of the Utes with my sons Cameron, Ethan and Aiden. They, their father and I scream along with the best of them while watching the games. We make chili. We eat nachos. We wear red and flash the U. We sing Utah Man.
Are we lesser fans because we don’t travel to the game? Of course not. We love our Utes. My son Cameron is also a Utah graduate. Will we ever be able to afford season tickets or flights, hotel and tickets to a Rose Bowl? I sure hope so. But I will be representing my Utes with all my might until then, from my home in West Jordan.
Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.
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