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October 4, 2010

The Pros of Losing

Back-to-back blogs to commemorate back-to-back-to-back-to-back losses for BYU, a first in 17 years.

The Cougars are struggling. With identity issues. With inexperience. With stopping the run. Fact is there's not much the team is doing right at this point. Offensively the squad has failed to come together, a result of splitting practice time among key positions during fall camp. Toying with two players for one position has been as effective as dating two girls at the same time - it seemed like a good idea but now the Cougars have no play-maker at quarterback or tight end. On the defensive side, the team has lost five of their starters to injury, three of which were clear-cut team leaders (Rich, Fuga, Pendleton). Meanwhile, their one leader on offense is Luke Ashworth, and the only thing he's leading the Cougars in is dropped passes. He's not the only one who is having trouble satisfying the "receiving" part of wide receiver, however. Greg Wrubell wrote it best: "BYU QB Jake Heaps could sue his receiving corps for (the number of passes they've dropped)."

Most football manuals prefer the wide receiver use hands instead of elbows when completing a catch

As a whole, the team hasn't started off this poorly since 1973. Further losses may be on the horizon with powerhouses Wyoming and UNLV on the schedule, but the humiliation at Utah State may be the most painful moment of this season. If the temple is heaven on earth, last Friday Romney Stadium was hell's version of the same. Thankfully my family came to the game which prevented me from facing the full wrath of sitting in the student section. My family didn't prevent me from spending the weekend pondering the beating though. Perhaps it was the influence of General Conference, or some optimistic part of me that surfaced, but for whatever reason a few silver linings came to mind as comfort in the midst of these losses.

Thus I present the pros of losing.

The first pro that comes from supporting a losing team is the opportunity to prove your fanmanship. As a life-long BYU supporter I have often been called a "band wagon" fan, a term reserved for those who align themselves with winning teams only. By maintaining my support despite the Cougars horrific play, I can demonstrate my loyalty and prove my love for the team regardless of how good (or bad) they are. Following your team through the down times can become a badge of honor of sorts (see: Chicago Cub fans). This is a badge I will always wear with honor.

A second benefit of watching a horrible team is that it increases one's appreciation for the team's past players. This idea is of particular importance to me because I feel that BYU's most recent crop of dearly departed never got the appreciation they fully deserved. Max Hall and his many associates never received complete adoration because they failed to make it to the all-powerful BCS game. But now that Cougar fans have seen what their replacements can do, the feelings of gratitude should increase for these past players.

(Sidenote: I learned this lesson personally when the Red-headed lover departed for the lands of Argentina. Her replacements included untold hours of ESPN and Chuck. My appreciation certainly increased.)

The final benefit of failing miserably is that the bitterness of losing brings more meaning to future wins. Just as working makes vacations more meaningful, losses make future victories all the sweeter. That 83-year wait the Red Sox endured before winning the World Series? You think their championship meant a little more than the one the Yankees win every few years? And I haven't even mentioned the joy that comes from revenge victories. Together it all shows that losing enriches the value of later wins.


For BYU, these victories will come. Jake Heaps has looked great in reading his options and evading tacklers in the pocket. Through two starts he's shown better pocket presence and arm strength than John Beck or Max Hall did at similar points in their careers. Once he settles down his throws and his receivers learn to catch, Heaps will begin a lengthy crusade on the BYU record books. Such is my hope, my belief, my prediction.

Provo burns at present, but the fires will be extinguished.

To the BYU haters, enjoy it while it lasts.


  1. Listen, you trader! Utah State is YOUR team. YOUR school! The real benefit of them winning that game is that Utah State finally won one! Remember living in Old Farm? How often did we hear a roar from the stadium? Or a canon ball fire? Rarely if ever. Hansen... give it up for the Aggies. They needed that win. UTAH STATE hey AGGIES all the WAY! Go Aggies! Go Aggies! HEY HEY HEY!

  2. Cassie:

    I know I have no idea who you are, but I am willing to bet my next 10 years salary that I have known Spencer much longer than you have, and trust me, he is NO AGGIE. He has blead BYU Blue from the moment he entered this world.


    Why didn't you post this two days ago? Your wisdom could have rescued my weekend.

  3. Revenge victory in college sports? 1/4 to 1/3 of the team is switched out each year. Maybe they could land some avenge victories. Beating a team comprised of mostly people you've never lost to is hardly revenge for the players or the fans. Unless of course it's the fans you want to beat and not the actual team...

  4. My condolences. Although I am a Utes fan, I am first and foremost a Niners fan. I feel your pain.