Utah fans everywhere, worship at college football team church


Pasadena, Calif. • Walk up and down Colorado Blvd., Lake Avenue, Green Street, Los Robles Avenue, East Delmar Blvd., Orange Grove Blvd., Walnut Street, Fair Oaks Avenue, Union Street, all around Old Town, and from Vroman’s Bookstore past Wrigley Mansion to Bistro 45 and back to Rusnak Maserati, and what do you see?

Red. You see red, that’s what. Bits and flakes here, pockets there.

Dark red, not bright red. Well, okay, there’s also some magenta.

All of that might be a slight exaggeration, I mean, crimson isn’t everywhere. But after the showers on Wednesday and Thursday here, it’s sunny Friday and so are the Utah fans.

They have come to the city of roses and they are making noise and pride. They seem to be all over Southern California, from Bel-Air to Santa Monica to the grounds around the ancient bowl in Arroyo Seco.

Even in the face of a pandemic – Let’s hope this game is actually played – Utah football has brought its party members, by land and by air, many of whom have descended from the snowy mountains.

Someone guesses there will be 60,000 of them available on Saturday.

In the sequel run, spoke to a family on Thursday, even in the still dripping rain. They are from Phoenix, but have relatives in Blanding. Ute fans. Spoke to a father and son in a restaurant just off the parade route. Ute fans. Talk to four people entering an elevator at a hotel with a pile of six-pack beer. Ute fans. Talk to a woman who plans to have a rose painting permanently glued onto an untold number of body parts at a tattoo parlor. Ute fans. Talk to a little woman buying Utah gear at a pop-up souvenir shop. Not a Ute fan.

“No,” she said. “I just think this is a nice shirt.”

Even saw a happy middle-aged couple wearing a shirt and cap. Um… BYU fans.

We may not yet know how strong the Utes will face Ohio State on Saturday, even if the Buckeyes opt out, prepare now for the NFL draft, but what if those Utes show up Just like their fans and their band- wagoners, pretty sweatshirts and all, they’ll be fine.

And whatever Ohio State attendees or absentees show off on the field, not a single Utah player will care. That’s the Buckeyes deal, their problem, not Utah’s.

There’s something about the Rose Bowl and its mystery, its history, its charm that attracts people, especially fans from far away, cold places, eager to support. Teams don’t often go to the iconic, classic stadium. Meaning, this isn’t just another Shamrock Meats Bowl.

Not entirely sure about the Buckeyes and their followers, though they usually go in large groups, even if their draft-eligible players don’t. It’s easy to guess they would be here in no time – unless some combination of COVID and eager Ute fans pulled them out.

Ohio State is one of the teams that has long been with Granddaddy, decades ago. Who doesn’t remember as a kid, looking out the window at the snow falling on the ground, freezing temperatures, the ice hanging from the roof, tune in on January 1 to see the Buckeyes take on USC under the rays of the sun. the warmth of the sun and over the vast expanses of green grass, and feel more than a little jealous?

Hey, mom and dad, why are we living in this frozen hellhole when we could live… there?

Well, I ended up living there. More on that later.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham and Ohio State coach Ryan Day at a press conference at the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, December 31, 2021 .

I still have a pair of shoes from an unknown Ohio State player, a tight finish, about 50 years ago at the Rose Bowl game, given to me by a friend who knows where he got them, but… I kept them because of the lawn they ran on.

The Rose Bowl is one of college football’s sacred sites, where legends form, and ghosts still roam, where the echoes of Keith Jackson’s voice can still be heard. Utah has played in that building a number of times before, which is the UCLA Bruins’ regular season home ground. But on New Year’s Day, the old battle ax transforms from anything ordinary into a sort of holy place.

This is the place to continue a tradition that, according to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, began on a different venue in 1902 during the competition after the first season of the college game — between Michigan and Stanford, a game Michigan participated in. , won 49-0. It was horrible that football was later replaced by chariot races.

Football returned in 1916, usually between a team from the West Coast against a team from the East or Midwest, eventually becoming an annual competition between the now Pac-12 and Big Ten teams. . The Rose Bowl itself was built in 1922 and has since become a National Historic Landmark, a landmark of tackle and touch, win and lose, green grass and blue skies.

It’s a football sanctuary.

Think about what happened here, who coached here, who played here, and then think more. It’s not just about football.

Kyle Whittingham will train Saturday on the same sideline, in the same space and game where Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes and John McKay and Knute Rockne and Howard Jones have coached. And the Utes will bounce on the same ground where the Four Horsemen ran, where Archie Griffin and Anthony Davis hit the ball, where Warren Moon and Gary Beban and Jim Plunkett threw it and Don Hutson and Lynn Swann caught it.

Other things happened in the building as well. Everything from the Super Bowl to Olympic events to the World Cup soccer final to Brandi Chastain’s famous take-off when the US women’s team beat the world, to massive dance festivals to concerts. concerts from Metallica to U2.

It’s not just a place where college football is played. That’s where, a title the Utahns can appreciate. This is this place!

There is a personal connection to Pasadena, living there for a decade, the city where my wife, Lisa, was born and raised, where my three daughters were born and started school, where I made friends and witness two parades of Roses and Roses. Bowls, especially after admiring it from the East Coast as a young person more than half a century ago, emphasizes how much it means to me.

I’ve played Brookside Golf – Numbers 1 and 2 – the tracks many Ute fans will park for the game – over a hundred times, I’ve hit the golf ball into the bowl from the tee, where there’s a sign says, “Please don’t hit the golf ball in the Rose Bowl,” making it all the more meaningful. I covered a wide variety of events in and around the building, from football to rugby to Olympic competitions. Lisa’s high school graduation, along with a few other Pasadena high schools, was at the Rose Bowl.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Utah Utes pose for a group photo at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Thursday, December 30, 2021.

I took my father, a big sports fan who had been gone for 20 years, there, back for four decades to watch the fireworks on one occasion and for a game on another. Happy celebration.

The bowl is a big dame, for me and for so many others.

Maybe it will be or become that for Utah fans too, as the Utes centered against the Buckeyes there.

And for those fans, after they’ve gone through the most famous parade on the planet, a six-mile spectacle in which cheerleaders and their bands will march, a celebration of fall. draws millions of people on TV and millions more to the streets of Pasadena (you can get a close-up of the floats in the hours and days after the parade, when they’re parked for additional observations, if you have one). such tendencies), it’s time for them to converge, to soak up tradition, history, the brilliance of the sun, and to worship on the college football duomo altar.

It’s a place where anyone lucky enough to cross the field can lean over and hit the ground, just to say they made it. Hopefully no golf balls will fly that day.

Enjoying a win wouldn’t be bad either. Utah fans everywhere, worship at college football team church

Beth Allcock

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