FIRST & SECOND GENERATIONS
Fanhood is often a generational affair. In my family it starts with my Grandpa Greenhalgh. He would take my dad and uncles to BYU football games in the old Cougar Stadium. One time, in the mid-'60's, Grandpa took Dad and a couple of his brothers to the game, but was disappointed at the box office when he found out the tickets were $4 each; too much for his humble budget so they turned around and went back home to Midvale. From that point on, games were often "watched" by listening to Paul James descriptive play calling on the radio. In 1981 they were at the BYU-Utah game, after which Dad remembers watching LaVell Edwards mount a front-end loader and take a chunk out of the field for the groundbreaking on the "new" Cougar Stadium. In the '80's Grandpa lost his eyesight, but once again, courtesy of Paul James and now Greg Wrubell, he hasn't missed "watching" a game since.
As a kid, Dad took me to BYU games. In fact, the only season in my memory that I missed going to at least one game was while I was in western Siberia on an LDS mission. I loved dinosaurs as a kid and when I found out that BYU's own Dino Jim had stored hundreds of fossils under the east side of the stadium, Dad took me over there and lifted me up above his shoulders so that I could look over the wall and see them. After BYU won the '97 Cotton Bowl, we found out the team would be arriving at SLC airport that night. Dad (and Mom too be fair) packed me, my siblings, and a few friends in the van, and took us to the airport to greet the team. We were part of the mob and got dozens of autographs. For me, the only player that I remember meeting was also a father, James Dye. I was so excited to ask for his autograph, but when I did, he had a stroller with a crying child (Trey Dye I'm guessing, see Trey talk about following in his Father's steps at BYU here) and said he was sorry, but he just needed to get home. Even as a 13-year old, I respected a man who was taking care of his family, even if it was at the expense of me getting a highly coveted autograph.
Now, as a father myself, I too take my daughters to the games. They each went to a game before turning one. They may not last the whole game, but I probably didn't either at that age. They love to clap and cheer for touchdowns. My three-year old even does the first-down sign with the rest of us. I teach them the players' names (Polynesian names are especially fun coming out of the mouth of a little kid), Hartsock was my daughter's favorite player at 18 months. Of course I want the Cougars to win, but at the end of the game the experience is more about my family. It's not just the game; it's hot dogs and Cougar Tails, high fives and "oh no's." BYU sports, and football especially, is something that has brought my family together, and closer, for generations.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What are your favorite BYU memories with your dad, or as a dad? Let us know in the comments below. We look forward to your Father's Day Tribute!