This Saturday marks the catastrophically-important and time-stopping date of the annual BYU/Utah football game.
I have something to admit that may anger the people of the world.
I don't care that much about football.
I'll go a step further, although this declaration is not timely: I HATE the Superbowl. With a hot and fiery passion. In past years, I have purposefully planned flights during the Superbowl so I wouldn't have to be around when everyone else wastes a perfectly good Sunday in a dark cave staring at a TV so they can find out which of two teams that represent basically nothing at all is better at coordination and following rules on that day.

I like playing football with friends. And I enjoy a college game every now and then. But I cannot comprehend the level of excitement for it of those around me. PEOPLE GET ANGRY ABOUT IT. I don't understand how people can care enough about this that they actually get angry about it.
In Utah, when BYU and Utah face off in their annual football game, the whole state shuts the HELL down for about a week. And if you don't vehemently express blind and unwavering fanatical loyalty to one of the teams, EVERYONE is your enemy. So in order to have a people, those of us who would like to side with team apathy choose a school to express interest in if ever cornered. In past years I also prepared a rote memorization list of three or four logical reasons I chose the allegiance that I did, but as I've aged, I've discovered that nobody cares about the reasons. There are two football teams and you are supposed to be willing to sacrifice your first born for one of them while viewing the other as the ultimate epitome of evil for absolutely no reason at all.

And, look. I went to BYU. For eleventy years, give or take. I'm proud of my alma mater. I like when it succeeds. AT THINGS THAT ACTUALLY MATTER.
When I find out its accounting program is ranked number one in the nation, I silently beam in pride.
When my law school classmates secure highly competitive and prestigious clerkships, I'm even more proud to tell people that I was educated at an institution that churned out such impressive individuals.
If Paul Simon visited BYU, I would paint my whole house blue and drink cougar blood.
But football? It's fun to play. It's fun to watch, I guess. But why is our (BYU) success (or SEVERE lack thereof) in it so freaking defining of a gigantic institution that actually has impressive statistics to flaunt? Statistics that equate to preparations for a stable livelihood and, from a cultural-religious standpoint, perhaps even evidence that practicing what we preach produces a desirable quality of life.
But whenever I tell anyone, anywhere, that I attended BYU, they immediately comment on the school's football program. That, plus they often add some offensive joke about my religion that I'm supposed to smile at and "not take so seriously."
I know it's fun. I know team rivalries bring excitement to communities. Heck, I'll even admit that I'm looking forward to the game. But in the state of Utah, the BYU/Utah rivalry extended beyond the very outer bounds of rationality so long ago that comparatively it seems like I have absolutely no interest in it at all.
The extreme fanaticism of the whole thing is as sensible to me as is the fight over Team Edward and Team What's-His-Name. And, in fact, this week as I've heard everyone around me every minute of every day yell, post, and argue about how their chosen team is charged from GOD HIMSELF to humiliate the fans and players of the other team, I immediately imagine that they are actually just arguing over Team Edward and Team What's-His-Name. Jacob?
I really wish I knew how to look stuff up on the Internets.
~It Just Gets Stranger