Jay Meehan: The DNA of pigskin
September 5, 2017
I am quite aware as to how we siblings of the clan contracted the virus in question. Up and down the line, we all blame our father Bob, the patriarch. No passing the buck to another sports fan from the family tree, here. We are all USC football fans because of Bob.
If further proof is needed, a check of his medical records should suffice. Although his sports addictions became manifest in varied ways, the night he woke in a cold sweat with his beloved Trojans involved in a 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line trailing by a touchdown with time running out comes easily to mind.
At the time, when home-games came-a-calling, his weekends were spent as an usher in the LA Memorial Coliseum for the Trojans on Saturday and the Rams on Sunday. At night, his dream world became a film-room for replaying that day's emotional trauma.
His Doctor informed him in no uncertain terms that one of them had to go. Although he loved checking out the season-ticket holding starlets in his section, he, of course, opted to become Rams-free. No doubt Joan Collins and Natalie Wood and the others missed him madly.
I memorized lore of the Fighting Irish probably around the time I first contemplated sin – which is to say, relatively early. I could recite the names of Knute Rockne’s “Four Horsemen” backfield before I could those of “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,” whoever they played for.
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I was shocked, (SHOCKED!), when he first jumped on the USC bandwagon. Being of Irish-Catholic stock from the panhandle of Idaho, we were naturally dyed-in-the-wool Notre Dame fans (from, no doubt, the hardy Blackface Mountain sheep).
I memorized lore of the Fighting Irish probably around the time I first contemplated sin – which is to say, relatively early. I could recite the names of Knute Rockne's "Four Horsemen" backfield before I could those of "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John," whoever they played for.
Matter of fact, we all jumped ship, except for mom. She remained a Notre Dame fan until the end. She kept us in her prayers, however. We had that going for us. And they worked, Mom's prayers, that is. Unless they are locked in combat with USC, I'm totally rooting for Notre Dame, Utah, BYU, and even UCLA.
The "Utes" are the only one on that short list of secondary college pigskin passions that cause me to lose sleep, however. What with them being in the Southern Division of the Pac-12 Conference along with my Trojans and their habit of soundly thrashing my boys about the head and shoulders as often as not, they occupy my dream-world more than most.
That isn't to say that the Utes aren't my second-favorite college team, because they most definitely are — even more so than the University of Idaho Vandals ("Big I") and the Montana Grizzlies, the scallywag squads of my youth.
So here I sit, awash in the usual dread of being a sports fan, with yet another football season nuzzling up against Major League Baseball pennant races. I refuse to touch upon the fact that my Dodgers have lost 8-of-9. I'm not going there.
I might, however, revisit the fact that my sum total interest in the local Prep gridiron scene continues to languish in the wasteland of negative numbers when it comes to how the Park City Miners, Wasatch Wasps, and both South Summit and North Summit are making out. There was a time, however…
I recall back during those heady days prior to UHSAA upsetting the party cart with the "promotion" of Wasatch from 3A to 4A that, seemingly, forevermore, separated them schedule-wise from Park City.
Back then, everything revolved around "the game." Even timelines of a spectacular two-week jaunt through southern Utah would be predicated upon a kickoff at Dozier Field between the Miners and the Wasps.
It mattered not if I awoke on Boulder Tops or in the Henry Mountains or at Lake Powell, Hovenweep, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, Jacob's Lake, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, or Brianhead, each and every morning the ritual remained the same: making sure that day's drive didn't interfere with the "rivalry."
When the Miners met the Wasps in Hebertown with the tailgating erupting around the pool tables, beer kegs, jukebox, and wall-bound dead animal heads at "Tinks," well, then, all bets were off. Friends of the Park City High alumnae persuasion would show up with their own thirst and an admittedly often-brilliant stash of trash talk, and the frolic would ensue.
Those days are long gone, of course. With new towns, new teams, and new fans, it's just not the same. Anyone happen to know of a watering hole similar to "Tinks" up Hyrum way?
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.
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