Sunday, February 27, 2011

Aggie Sports

With a 3 point jump shot hitting nothing but net by Brad Brown and a subsequent block by the same player the clock hit 0:00 the last Aggie sports event that I will ever attend ended. Wait, who the hell is Brad Brown? *shrug* Apparently he has chemistry with my friends or something.

It seems like just a few months ago I headed off to Romney Stadium to attend my very first Aggie sporting event. I was pretty excited. I put on all of my gameday gear and walked across the street to our football stadium to get my seat. I watched as my team got down 7-0, then they tied it up at 7-7 and then the score was 17-7. The problem is that I had just moved to Logan from Salt Lake(ish) to begin my Sophomore year as an Aggie. I was wearing red and being a stupid Sophomore I thought "my team" was still the team I grew up liking, the Utes from the University of Utah. Anyway I had better things to do than watch sports, I left after the first quarter and went to hang out with my friends from Bountiful who had come up that night to see me. We got dinner and played Starcraft. Later that night I saw "my team" had won 58-10.

Two weeks later another big game was happening at Romney Stadium. BYU was coming to visit. Being a U of U fan I had always hated BYU, so I bought a Utah State shirt basically just to show that I wasn't supporting BYU. Utah State was coming off of a 2-10 season and was off to a stellar 0-2 start so far so I expected another 58-10 like result. At halftime the score was 34-0 for BYU, I wasn't too disappointed really, I was just there to be with my new friends. All the obnoxious BYU fans had dispersed their uncreative stolen blue color through our blue which Utah State has been using since the 1800's and had began copying the chants that all of the USU students were doing, but I didn't much care. I had no loyalty to either team. It just reassured me that the U of U was far superior to BYU and that they had the most annoying fans in the country.

Then something happened. This sophomore QB came in and scrambled around making all these huge BYU defensive players miss and he threw an off balanced pass to the corner of the end zone which was caught with one hand by some dude who didn't look like he belonged in a football jersey. The stadium erupted as if they'd just won the game. I clapped, but I was a little weirded out as to why everyone was so happy that we were only losing by 27 now. The game completely changed though, over the next 15 minutes it was almost as if they guys wearing blue were the better team. The white ones were still playing their starters, but they weren't moving the ball and USU was getting first downs. Then the skinny new QB got hit by someone twice his size and shrugged it off. He dodged two more players and began running. Making three more players miss before he was forced out of bounds after gaining 20 yards. I was so excited! A few plays later Utah State scored again. They were only down by 20 with ... oh shit, 4 minutes left. For four minutes though I was so excited to be an Aggie fan. We lost the game 34-14, but as I left I noticed that all the Utah State fans were laughing in the faces of the nationally top-10 ranked Cougar fans and taunting them about their 20 point win. Well that's stupid, but I liked these people. As football season went on we won 3 games at home and I was there for them.

People kept telling me basketball season was a whole kind of different event though. I didn't really care, watching Utah State beat teams like Idaho and NMSU in football was fun for me. Besides, USU had just lost their greatest player ever to graduation the year before. I wasn't really a huge fan of college basketball anyway. When I went to Weber State during my Freshman year I watched Weber State beat Utah State the year before and that was cool, but whatever.

I missed the first few basketball games because of work, but finally there was one I could go to. It happened to be against Weber State. I had come around to feeling like an Aggie so I wore my Weber State sweatshirt and my Utah State t-shirt. I had a few people make fun of my sweatshirt on the way to the game, but it was black so I don't think many realized it was WSU apparel. Before tipoff I took it off so I could wear blue with everyone else and sang the Scotsman and the school song with everyone too. Inside I didn't really care who won. That was until tipoff when I realized just how much fun college basketball could be.

The crowd was insane. They were loud, annoying, rude, crude, funny and everyone was in sync. It was so exciting! After a few minutes I joined in telling the Weber State players that they sucked. It was halftime and I was pissed that the game I had originally not cared about the outcome in had my Aggies down by 5. The second half was like a whole new story though. They had to come shoot the ball against the hoop where Utah State's student section is. They couldn't make anything and USU ended up winning by 10. A few days later the Utes came to play. There was no question on what color I was wearing this time, Aggie Blue. When Utah State's sophomore forward tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer to put the Aggies on top 66-64 I was ecstatic.

Over the next three years there were a lot of great (and some bad) memories in Aggie sports.

During my Sophomore year there was the time I showed up late to the Nevada game, after bombing a test, Nevada was up by a few points, but as soon as I found standing room Utah State went on a tear and the Spectrum was louder than I had ever thought possible. Over the semester we kept arriving earlier and earlier for each game, until finally we were standing out in the cold for hours waiting to just get inside so we could sit for another hour. Another time my mom came with me to a basketball game and just about had the time of her life. There was the time 4 of us sat around a customer at Chili's who had a smart phone, for about 20 minutes, to get updates as USU came back from a 13 point deficit to beat NMSU on a 15 footer by a then sophomore guard. I recall the first time I rudely pointed out who the winning team and losing team were, as if there really was any question about it.

As a Junior there was the time I finally quit hiding my eyes when Louisiana Tech dropped a pass that should have been a touchdown and with it dropped their comeback hopes. The time I went to a game in Ogden to see the Aggies beat Weber State on their home court by 6. The time BYU came back to Logan for the first time in 5 years to start off with a 10-2 lead only to later have us chanting, "Up by 20" at them. The only time I ever walked home from The Spectrum to see a white A over Old Main as St. Mary's beat us by 5. Once I came to Logan over Christmas break for a basketball game to find that I had no one to go with, I reluctantly ended up going alone, and met a girl who changed my life - if only for a moment. I remember the first hockey game I went to where we beat Boise State 10-3. There was the time when Utah State was losing the WAC tournament championship and I was so pissed all I could do was turn the TV off and make out with the girl I was with that night to forget about it.

In my senior year, I recall driving to Jackson for a geology trip we sat in shock listening to Al "the hysterical" Lewis give the play by play as Utah State played BYU in football and touchdown after touchdown was scored until the score was 32-3, advantage Aggies. Another basketball game against Weber State in which we were down by double digits only to rally back in true Spectrum fashion to win by double digits. Along with my friend, I began to become someone people noticed in the Spectrum as we got on TV every game with our silly signs. I went on a date a few weeks ago with someone I had just about nothing in common with, so instead of caring my roommate and I checked our phones every 10 minutes for score updates as the Aggies took on St. Mary's again, this time in San Francisco. They rallied back from a 12 point deficit to win by 10 and end the 19 game home win streak of the team that did the same to us the year prior.

Tonight it all came to an end. I didn't have the greatest seat. Section K, Row 11 (how appropriate), seat 13. I saw all sorts of people I had gone to games with over the past and saw various ex-flings like Amanda, Marlee and Trisha. I was there with James, my sidekick through 3 years of Aggie sports. I was there with other friends of mine Miles and Ryan. There was the typical random cute girl I had invited to feel like I had friends of the opposite gender sitting next to me. I got to see the Seniors who I had seen in every basketball game that I had been to receive framed jerseys. When Idaho came to shoot free throws and I was so excited to see what another Senior, Wild Bill, had planned for his last game I was surprised as the entire front row was wearing costumes that Bill had worn throughout the past 3 years while he stood there in just his regular gameday clothes. I got various texts and calls about my sign which read,
          W  U  Y
Proud to have been an Aggie
I suppose I was on TV again. We avenged a loss to win a 4th straight WAC title, we all rushed the court and jumped around as I saw the nets get cut down for my 3rd straight time. Maybe I wasn't part of the team, but as I am finishing my degree this year, I couldn't help but feel like I was personally part of the greatest class in Utah State history.

When all the Seniors began leaving the game one by one and that unheard of Freshman named Brad Brown hit a 3 pointer and blocked a shot it felt so appropriate. My time in Logan is almost done. I'm grateful for that, but wow it was a fun ride. There is still two away games, the WAC tournament and the NCAA tournament (not to mention two months of classes), but my last game, as a student, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum is over.

After the court rushing, my friends and I left. We went and got dinner and played Starcraft. In some ways not much has really changed, but as cheesy as this sounds, in other ways Aggie sports have changed my life. I've had some of the greatest times of my life at Aggie games, had conversations with people I didn't know about nothing but Aggie sports, I own no less than 7 Aggie shirts, I've written an entire blog about the fun of university sports and you just read it. I've been depressed and unwilling to even leave my apartment and dragged myself to a basketball game only to leave feeling happy and like I had 10,269 best friends, most of them just didn't know my name.

I guess pretty soon it's going to be time to move on in life and try to become something important. Maybe graduate school, maybe a career, maybe I'll go bohemian and burn all my worldly possessions, but a part of me will always be a Utah State Aggie.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. I see myself in a lot of it. Thanks, Brandon