Moments after the San Diego State men’s basketball team’s second loss of the season to BYU on Saturday, I got a text from a number I didn’t recognize. It read simply, “Yea BYU! Not once, but twice!” I was already furious and that text sent me into a full on rage, so I responded by telling the anonymous texter that they should go straight to hell, while also contemplating what other names to call this person. After discovering the identity of the texter, I was even more upset. This person has no affiliation to BYU – they nor their spouse attended BYU, likewise not one of their four kids attended BYU – yet here was this lifelong San Diegan rubbing it in my face that BYU beat SDSU again. Sadly, this scene for me after
BYU–SDSU games is the rule, not the exception.
Such is the life of an Aztec fan who also happens to be a faithful, practicing Mormon.
Every time the two teams play, I am subject to smug remarks made by BYU “fans” whose only connection to the school is their religion. But just because many Mormons cheer for BYU despite their lack of any apparent affiliation to the school, I feel it’s in poor taste to discriminate against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon church, rather than just showing our disdain for their teams and their fans.
In writing this, I would ask that we as Aztec fans try to delineate between Mormons and BYU fans. I know that this may not be easy; losing at home to BYU just leaves a sour taste in the mouth and it’s easy to direct that anger toward the church we most closely associate with the school. While it’s true that most BYU fans are Mormon, not all Mormons are BYU fans. I am a Mormon, I was a missionary, but I am not, and never will be, a BYU fan. I despise them actually, same as all true SDSU fans do. But my anger, animosity, dislike, hatred – whatever you want to call it — is geared toward the BYU teams and its fans, not their religion. I would ask all of you to do the same. It’s part of the fun of sports to have teams, players and opposing fan bases that we dislike, and there is so much to dislike about BYU even with religion out of the equation.
I think my brother, an SDSU alumnus, summed it up best in response to the same snide text message that I received, simply answering back, “BYU: good teams, the worst fans.” Truly, I don’t believe there is a group of more terribly annoying and unknowledgeable fans in the country. They jump on the bandwagon when the team is good, they know little to nothing about the players and coaches, they know absolutely nothing about the rest of the conference, and yet they are the quickest to make smug comments and try to get under the skin of true Aztec fans such as myself, fans who have been going to games for years and have always supported the team despite its record.
Again, I can’t stress enough how much I dislike the entire BYU sports ensemble. And, most of all, its fans. Yes, this is coming from a devout Mormon. They don’t make themselves too difficult to loathe: from the replay- booth fiasco in football, to Jimmer Fredette and his lame rapper brother, to “Friar” Hartsock killing us behind the arc, to the fact that they’re leaving the Mountain West Conference. Let’s be anti-BYU for all of those reasons and more, instead of being anti-Mormon.
Before this game, head coach Steve Fisher asked “The Show” to keep it classy, and to stay away from doing anything that would disrespect a religion. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I would like to thank “The Show” for heeding Fisher’s advice and being funny, witty and creative without being offensive.
Here’s to hoping that BYU fans — those who make their snobbish comments, those who have no affiliation to the school and those who text true fans to add insult to injury for no apparent reason – will someday maybe learn a lesson from “The Show” and have a little class themselves.
—Alexander Higgins is a journalism junior.
—The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Daily Aztec.