Fair weather fan | ParkRecord.com

Fair weather fan

By Jay Meehan
Park Record columnist

The bad guys are coming to town and, if karma maintains any validity at all, they’re going to get their heads handed to them on a silver platter. That’s right, the dark side, the evil empire, those with neither portfolio nor bonafides, will soon be showing up en masse to challenge the relatively new kids on the block.

Now, how else could this longtime USC Trojan football fan even begin to explain to himself how dismal the current standing of his team has become without playing the “karma” card? It’s obviously more than just lack of mental acuity, although there is certainly a quantifiable amount of that.

One could most probably attempt to load all the recent failures within the program upon the Yak-like back of the overused-modifier “pathetic.” But, from all appearances, it goes much deeper. In fact, we might very well be talking about systemic breakdowns that occurred well before O.J. Simpson’s initial attempt to pass for “black.”

It’s gotten so bad that I’m even considering not taking part in one of my most sacred bi-annual (or is it biennial?) rituals. That, of course, being the stroll down Park City’s Main Street immediately behind the Trojan Pep Band and Cheer Squad on the afternoon preceding their game at Rice-Eccles Stadium against the University of Utah.

Not that I’m an alumnus or anything. But over the years I’ve ridden that on-and-off track rollercoaster as much as most. Putting on my game face each week and donning the team’s official colors (Pantone 201C and Pantone 123C) is transformative. The same goes for Cardinal and Gold if that’s all you have laying around.

As a Trojan fan, I’ve lived through more than a few defeats at the hands of the Utes and, I must admit, they go down much easier than those brought on by UCLA. And Notre Dame, for that matter. But, that being said, try as I might, so far there has been no inclination on my part to actually root for Utah against USC.

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This year, however, there are noticeable steps being taken in that direction. That of possibly boycotting the Trojan Pep Rally on Park City’s Main Street, for instance. I could always use the excuse of failure to recover from “jet lag,” I suppose. I will be disembarking from a “red-eye” out of Lihue that very morning.

Not that I would employee the flimsy excuse of mis-managing the fistfull of free-cocktail-coupons that were shoved my way prior to exiting Utah by air a month earlier. I’d never stoop to that. I just might stumble into it, however.

This most distasteful subject first raised its head the other night amid a family gathering on the windward side of Kauai. Following an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Stanford and during my somewhat over-the-top verbal abusing of all matters Trojan, I brought up my possible absence from the Park City pep rally.

Calls of “fair weather fan” began to echo throughout the Garden Isle. That might be an exaggeration but they certainly completed more than a few laps inside my skull. My self-esteem began to plummet. Loyalty futures were down on the commodities markets. Sloth and melancholy assumed their normal positions at the head of the class.

Wait a minute! Now it’s about me? The Mike Garrett-Lane Kiffen-Pat Haden-Clay Helton-Lynn Swann debacle is now being laid at the feet of the Portly Gray Dude? Somehow, if he were to take tomorrow afternoon off to rest his weary bones, his character — or more rightly, the absence thereof — would be called into question? Say it ain’t so!

Although it appears rather evident that the Utes are lickin’ their chops at the opportunity to welcome the Trojans into their lair, USC has calmly responded by replacing their starting senior QB Max Browne with freshman signal caller Sam Darnold. Scuttlebutt also has it that their lead cheerleader has been benched in favor of her younger sister.

Actually, if I were to pass on the pep rally, I would miss the verbal abuse I always receive from my friends of the “Ute” persuasion. Seldom being reticent in the “flipping off” of us Trojan fans, Ute fans are a tough lot. Fashioned from true grit and hard bark and a bit of that ol’ Main Street libation, they’ve been known to hold their own in most any scuffle.

I’m sure, to them anyway, we’re “soft.” And with the Utes being undefeated at 3-0 and the Trojans limping badly at 1-2, there’s probably something to that. It appears to be setting up perfectly for the home team. The fans will be screaming for blood as they always do against Troy, and there’s not a whole lot on the USC side of the ledger.

Myself, I’m looking for fair weather and maybe a bit of grog.

Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.