I headed down to Massachusetts over the weekend to go to the BYU/UMass game, being played at Gillette Stadium (home of the Patriots). I’d been looking forward to going for quite some time, since the last time I’d been able to see the Cougars play live was back in 2014, four years ago.
This time, they had a bunch of activities surrounding the game, with a “tailgate” beforehand. It turned out to be inside, and it was jam packed with BYU fans. I heard they’d been planning on having 500 people show up, and around 1,600 came, instead. You could tell they weren’t prepped for so many. Lines were really long, but it was still fun to see Cosmo (the mascot), have free face painting, eat snacks, and hang out with a ton of likeminded fans.
The game itself started out really shaky, with BYU quickly going down by 10 points in a game they were heavily favored to win. Thankfully they turned things around, and things got much better after that.
But really, the coolest thing for me was the chance to have multiple run-ins with people I hadn’t seen in a long time. Old roommates, old friends from church, professors, family. It was like one big reunion show, with guest stars that weren’t announced ahead of time. And that’s just the people who we managed to somehow run into. I imagine there were many more people there who I knew, but I didn’t know they’d be attending.
That feeling (running into old friend after old friend and meeting up again after a long time away) is one thing I really look forward to in the afterlife. A lot of the concepts of the hereafter can be very foggy and hard to really picture in concrete terms, but this is one that’s so easy to picture. It’s a consolation when people pass away, thinking of the other people they’re now able to see again. (Yes, this presupposes you believe in an actual afterlife, but let’s keep this topic bright and cheery, shall we?)
I’m not sure how this would work for other fans of other teams. When Penn State plays a game out in California, do a slew of Penn State fans show up? There were thousands of BYU fans at that stadium. It definitely felt like a home crowd for BYU, based on the amount of noise we were able to churn out. I tend to think BYU sits at this strange intersection of sports and religion and alumni, but it could also be just because I’m familiar with it more than any other university. Ute fans who live on the east coast feel free to speak up to contradict me.
In any case, it was a fun time, and I was very happy we had a chance to go. (And win!) Go Cougars!
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