Cougar fans, it’s time to step up

It’s a good thing we beat Boise State on Friday; let’s just say the Broncos aren’t my favorite. Also, I was not looking forward to my social media blowing up from fans calling for the players’ heads.

What happened to our “loyal, strong and true” Cougar fans? I’ve found myself disappointed in our fan base for years. Sure we come out in huge numbers in Provo and across the country. We get loud. We praise our athletes and coaches on a job well done.

Heaven forbid we lose a game though.

Some of the biggest fair-weather fans I know are BYU “fans.” They leave early and cry out for players to be benched after a bad performance. And I’m not talking about just about football either. We abrasively demand perfection from every BYU sports team and are punitive in the way we talk about a team and its coaches after a loss.

The women’s soccer team dominated the last few years, and we packed South Field to standing room only game after game. This season they’ve let a few opportunities slip through their hands in the last minutes of a few games. The upward-of 5,000 in attendance has dropped to around 2,000.

Really, BYU?

Our women’s volleyball team dominated last season, losing only three regular-season matches. However, we didn’t truly pack the Smith Fieldhouse until the team hosted the the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. Where was your support during the entire regular season? Only coming out for the post season when the team is in the national spotlight is not enough.

Are we the fans who only come out when winning is certain? Nothing is certain in sports. One bad bounce of a ball, one bad call from a ref, one slip of an athlete’s foot can change the momentum of any game at any time.

Why is it “my Cougars” and “we” when BYU is winning, but “the team” and “they” when BYU is losing?

I consider myself a pretty good fan. I often lose my voice cheering on my Cougars. I attend every sporting event I can. Being out of town is basically the only reason I’m not at a football or soccer game, and missing a basketball game is rare.

Yes, I get frustrated at players for making unnecessary mistakes — un-sportsmanlike penalties, false starts, dropping a pass while unguarded that hits them in the hands, shanking a ball over the cross bar because they didn’t settle the ball, missing both free throws. Yes, I get frustrated when coaches don’t change the game plan when it clearly isn’t working.

But it doesn’t give us the right to call for their dismissal that week and then, after winning the next game, jump back on board with the team, hailing their athletic prowess and strategy. Our teams deserve and benefit from our support at every game.

Stick by your team. Our teams have always stuck by us. I don’t think I have ever heard a negative comment made by an athlete about their fans in my time at BYU.

Stop telling an athlete or coach to pull it together if you need to pull it together as a fan first.

Kelly Haight

Kelly Haight graduated in December 2013 with a BA in communications; her emphasis was journalism. She also got a minor in editing. She was the Opinion Editor during her last semester at BYU. Previously she had been the Sports Desk editor, the Campus Desk editor and a beat reporter on the Sports Desk.

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