Fans should leave bad conduct on the sidelines

By By Jeffrey Jenkins

By Jeffrey Jenkins

This month is truly a month of rivalries. We recently witnessed the end of a highly-contested election between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain.

But the race for the presidency was only the beginning of red versus blue, especially as we look forward to Nov. 22, when the the University of Utah faces Brigham Young University in Rice-Eccles Stadium in the most anticipated game of the season for the two schools.

The rivalry between the U and BYU has a long history. The bitter rivalry was spawned in 1895, when both schools met for the first time in a baseball game. The game ended with a brawl that cleared both benches and left each school with an ardent desire to witness the other school’s athletic demise.

Over the years, this desire has led many students to participate in various acts of vandalism, both large and small.

In 2004, a group of U baseball players were charged with second-degree felonies after painting red U’s on BYU’s block Y on the side of mountain near campus. Also in 2004, a group of U students tore down the goal posts after a 55-21 win over BYU.

Since these destructive incidents, the schools have been able to maintain a more appropriate rival relationship. The result has allowed fans from both universities the enjoyment of supporting a team without the embarrassment that immature antics bring.

“We don’t expect any major incidents this year,” said Sgt. Arb Nordgran, a U Police Department administrator over special events and crime prevention. Nordgran said he has been impressed by the lack of major incidents in the last few years.

In order to continue the peaceful record of the past few years, both U Police and BYU Police will work this game together as they have done in the past, to ensure no fans get out of hand.

“There is a lot of camaraderie between the two police departments,” Nordgran said.

At the BYU campus, Lt. Arnold Lemmon said plastic is put over valuable statues and other monuments just in case.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy. All actions that violate a law will result in prosecution,” Lemmon said.

This year’s game will be one of the most exciting games in the history of the rivalry, and emotions are sure to be high. Just remember that as bitter as the rivalry is, it is still a game, and it will in no way alter the course of history or reduce your individual status.

What does reduce a person’s status is unsolicited acts of vandalism or violence in the name of team spirit. When a fun rivalry is debased by vandalism, violence or other inappropriate acts, it is an embarrassment for the community and the university involved. So this year, as all fans unite in support of the superior university, the U should try to keep the congenial track record of the past as we embarrass BYU in the present.

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Jeffrey Jenkins