I have probably written that sports aren't even the closest thing to being the most important subject each of us deal with a dozen times in columns in this newspaper over the years. Certainly there are a lot of subjects that are more timely, more serious and more applicable to the average person.
But just like the arts, movies or other types of entertainment, there are times when sports achievement moves us to the point that we get tears in our eyes and our hearts swell with joy.
However, this fall has been an exception in that area for me. On Saturday night I watched television along with most of the other Utah alumni in this state to see if the Utes football team really could go undefeated, and more importantly, batter down the dungeon door the BCS created years ago to keep teams from what they consider "second level" conferences from playing in the most important and lucrative bowl games.
I was nervous because so often over the years either Utah or BYU have knocked each other out of contention for one thing or another, particularly in football. But the Utes took it and as I watched thousands of people rushed onto the field I remembered my time in that stadium as a kid and then as a student at the school. After the remodel of the venue for the Olympics, about the only thing I recognize anymore is the old Einar Nielson Fieldhouse still sticking out above the north bleacher seats, but that place still brings out fond memories.
I attended my first live football game there as a nine year old with a friend whose dad covered sports for the Salt Lake Tribune for years. On that day in the early 1960's, Utah beat Utah State. I went back for other games over the years too.
Then in 1970 as a freshman at the school, I watched as Utah beat BYU, my first live view of the famed rivalry. Little did I know, as long as I went to school there. Utah would not beat BYU again. The next year LaVell Edwards took over as BYU's coach and Utah didn't seem to be able to muster much of a team for years.
I seldom get tears of joy or sadness over a sporting event. Sometimes I am very happy, other times I am disgusted, but tears don't come. I reserve those for life moving experiences or grief. Extreme joy came when Utah made the final four in 1998, and the Jazz made the finals in 1997 and 1998. Disgust came from the loss of the Utah Stars in the mid 1970's, and when the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls in the finals two years in a row. But two times this fall I had tears.
One was when the Carbon girls volleyball team finally won the state championship a few weeks ago. The school and the team deserved it and after years of frustration on that same court at UVSC, they had the victory over Morgan they needed. I had covered that tournament three of the last four years and it was tremendous.
The other tears came on Saturday night. Sure it had to do with the win, but it also had to do with the tradition that I had seen first hand in that stadium as a student and how frustrated we all were for so many years. It also had to do with old friends that sat with me during those games in the 1960's and 70's, some of which I haven't seen for years, and others that, well let's say I will never see again in this world because they are no longer with us. It was highly emotional for me many reasons, most of which are more complex than I can explain.
It wasn't a banishment of "the curse of the bambino" type thing for Ute fans, but it came close to that.