Monday, November 17, 2008

A Thing I Wrote

Every year, the Chronicle puts together a Rivalry Guide for the BYU-Utah football game. It get's printed as an insert in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, and this is what I wrote for it. It was titled:

Licorice, rivalry games cement fanship

The first time I knew I was a University of Utah fan was when a tiny plastic U football made its way into my possession. I was a U fan because I had a U football. That made an awful lot of sense, because if I had been a fan of Brigham Young University, I would have had a BYU football…duh.

Later, a friend got me a job as a licorice vendor at U football games. I would march up and down the aisles of Rice-Eccles Stadium screaming my arsenal of sales pitches, which consisted of, “Licorice, get your licorice!” and “Licorice!” This is a really good marketing scheme on the part of licorice distributors. I imagine if I sat anywhere for several hours near an 11-year-old yelling, “Poison! Get some poison!” I would buy the entire supply as long as he would go away.

During the games, I would carefully avoid the student section. College students aren’t very interested in licorice, but what the U student section lacks in patronage, it makes up for by hurling a variety of beer jokes at 11-year-old licorice vendors.

U Student: Do you have any beer?!

Craig: No, I sell licorice. I’m 11.

U Student: Oh beer jokes…beer jokes are funny.

Ironically, the employment that forever ruined my relationship with licorice solidified my loyalty to the U. You can’t really know a school until you have sold licorice in its honor. I had the opportunity to see many U games and spent a good amount of time pausing my licorice peddling to watch the action. I suspect that is why I didn’t climb the corporate ladder of the licorice-peddling trade. However, claiming you are a licorice vendor is a really great way to get the equivalent of a free home game season pass, as long as you are willing to purchase several $30 crates of Red Vines boxes.

What I did learn from frequenting U home games was that almost every BYU vs. U football game is decided by a field goal. This was in stark contrast to everything ’80s cinema had taught me as a child, which was that the result of a game is determined by which team possesses the football-kicking mule. I also learned that the better team generally wins, regardless of how many motivated, talentless kids from the ghetto the other team has on hand, despite years of evidence to the contrary in almost every sport. And of course, I learned that the U was superior because...well...because I sold licorice for them.

This year’s game is destined to be the biggest rivalry game Utah has played in years. There is bound to be tons of excited fans for both teams crowding into Rice-Eccles Stadium on game day. We should all remember two things as we enter the stands.

First, it is only a game. And if your team loses this game, your life will almost certainly end in misery.

Second, buy loads of licorice. No doubt it is a gross, tough, plastic-like candy that will make you wish you were dead while you chew endlessly away at its disgusting, waxy core. But hopefully the karma you earn by awarding $1 to $3 to that licorice vendor is enough to push your team over the top.

Plus, every dollar you give to a licorice vendor is a dollar in support of the video game industry. Whatever it takes to produce a future U fan is worth it.


Bridger W. said...

What I find truly ironic about all of this is that licorice is often sold in a red hue. Am I the only person who noticed this?

Melissa said...

I'm so proud to know you right now, Craig. This is going to tickle the hearts of millions.

Stephanie Rose said...

If I were there I was going to be at the game I would most certainly make a beer joke and eat licorice. Instead you have convinced me to just eat some licorice as I sit on my couch and watch the game. Thank you.