PROVO — I wandered around BYU campus this morning after football media interviews looking for something I always loved to see as a student.
Plastic shrink wrap.
That may sound strange, but it was a small indicator that rivalry week was upon us when every statue on campus — big or small — was wrapped in protective plastic wrap, the same kind you use at home to wrap up moms left overs.
My freshman year at BYU I thought the plastic wrap itself was a prank by some very committed Utah pranksters but was told that the wrap prevented tampering, spray painting and defiling the little metal people dotting the campus.
But this year, no shrink wrap.
“I don’t think they need it,” one staffer told me. “Most people have moved past that kind of thing.”
BYU coach Kalani Sitake and his staff have been acting very laid back this week, as is the tone most of the time with the new staff. Make no mistake, however, there is a calculated message.
“We respect those guys (Utah),” multiple players said.
“There’s nothing nasty about the rivalry this year,” others have said.
“Nothing to see here,” seems to be the indicator. “Pay no attention to the terrible select few fans behind the red and or blue curtain.”
The new, softer, gentler rivalry is welcomed by many and should be embraced by all. As long as the players are fiery and the play is competitive, the extra-nasty fan interaction has no place in the future of the game.
Of course, friendly trash talk with your annoying neighbor is still strongly encouraged. Emphasis on the word friendly.
Just save the plastic wrap for the leftovers.