Choosing sides in rivalry a lifelong battle

By Chris Kamrani, Asst. Sports Editor

I have moved back and forth from California to Utah more times than a Jerry Sloan’s in-game cuss count.

When I first made my way to the Beehive State, I had no clue of the animosity between “the team from the north” and “the team from the south.”

It made no sense. To my recollection, the Civil War had ended almost 150 years ago. I was confounded.

My schoolmates quickly became my best of friends. Juice boxes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were shared.

Then came game week.

Lunchtime snacks were no longer exchanged with the “other” kids.

It was a complete and total separation of everything that once seemed perfect in “Leave it to Beaver” land.

BYU fans sported their ocean blue, while Utah’s faithful donned the crimson red.

Equality and civility were afterthoughts that would not be addressed for another five days.

I vividly recall sales pitches from both sides.

Ute fans would play to my out-of-town nature and bag the naïve views of Cougar fans, while BYU followers would serenade me with tales of championships, implausible victories and LaVell Edwards.

The jumbled thoughts in my head bounced from side to side like a pinball.

I am not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so there was an obvious road block preventing me from snaking my way through to Provo and donning a BYU cap or shirt.

As for the Utes, I recall hearing about guys such as Keith Van Horn and Andre Miller as well as the cumbersome sweater of Rick Majerus. However, basketball was irrelevant.

Growing up in Berkeley, Calif., I was a natural California Golden Bears fan.

There was no particular reason I shouldn’t fall into the trap of picking a side of the blue-red rivalry.

Perhaps it was the fact that California only had three seasons of above .500 football in the first 16 years of my existence. For whatever reason, I suddenly felt forced to choose a side.

It was like going through my parents’ divorce all over again.

If I proceeded to “not care” and not choose a side, I would have been an outcast. Even worse, I might have been a Utah State fan. It certainly would have been the end of my already-drowning social status as the new kid.

So, the years came and went. Games were decided, and I continued to say I was “neutral” and that I kinda, sorta cheered for both teams.

I was despised by many and applauded by a select few.

The literal separation of church and state rang throughout my thought process. Each year I saw California squander and perish, the thoughts resurfaced to make a choice.

Many of my close friends had parents who went to BYU. It was in their blood. As for me, I just needed something to push me to one side or the other.

I suppose all the push I needed was not taking “no” for an answer.

After forcing my way through education8212;or the college application system, rather8212;I was a student at the U.

The Utah County sales pitch was suddenly obsolete. The long-awaited contemplation in my mind clicked. I was no longer sleepwalking through deliberation.

I was, and still am, a Golden Bear at heart. It’s just the fact that I am now a Ute. And thanks to the likes of Austin Collie, I suddenly had a reason to loathe everything I had once considered.

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Chris Kamrani

Tyler Cobb

The rivalry between Utah and BYU has a lasting affect on people no matter what part of the state they live in or how long they have lived in the state.