SPOKANE, Wash. — The word “dedicated” seems to be somewhat of an understatement for one Cougar fan who is determined to be BYU’s No. 1 supporter.
BYU alum Presten Norton, West Jordan, has literally traveled thousands of miles to support Cougar athletics.
Most recently the Daily Universe caught up with him at the BYU men’s basketball game at Gonzaga University. He had flown into Spokane six hours before the game on standby tickets, something he often get’s through his mom’s airline job. As usual, he was decked from head to toe in BYU gear including a white BYU jacket, white baseball cap and even white and blue and shoes.
[easyembed field=”Photogallery”]”It started with a friend wanting to go to a road game,” Norton, who grew up in St. George, said. “It was a basketball game against the University of Arizona in Tucson, and from there it just expanded.”
The reason Norton loves traveling to away games so often is he loves to meet new people and experience the different atmospheres.
“The best thing is definitely getting to see new venues, new games and experience new adventures,” Norton said. “You go to a city you have never been to, and learn new traditions with the opportunities to see new schools and meet new people.”
Because Norton flies standby for most away games, he has gone to great lengths to secure his spot among Cougar fans. He admits he tries to keep his traveling arrangements within 200 miles to find a flight, but sometimes that is just not possible, and ends up traveling quite a bit farther.
He describes one of his greatest memories as hitchhiking from Tallahassee to Atlanta after a Florida State game to make it home.
“We tried to get a flight but had to wait two days,” Norton said. “So off we go, a 600-mile drive [his friend] and his rice import business, we had quite the experience and ended up making it home two days later.”
One of Norton’s greatest tailgating experience while at Washington, where he was actually able to tailgate on a yacht right next to the stadium, he described as “ultimate tailgating.”
Norton graduated from BYU in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. He attended a year at Gonzaga’s law school. He now works as a financial analyst in Salt Lake City.
Norton has been traveling since 2006 and has rarely missed a football or basketball game. One of the greatest things Norton has experienced is the atmosphere while attending rival games on the road.
“It starts at the airport or the hotel and it’s crazy,” Norton said. “You go to places like UNLV or ‘The Pit’ [at New Mexico] and you’re already hated. The few of us that are at the game making noise are easy to spot, and it gets pretty intense.”
Norton paraphrased wise words from coach [Dave] Rose when he explained there is no greater sound than going into a hostile crowd, or crazy environment, and hearing it go dead silent when the clock strikes zero.
Usually for basketball games, Norton is seated behind the team bench, or near it. Norton jokes that many of his friends have sent him screen shots of him not looking too happy, or yelling at an official over a questionable call.
“Presten literally is the perfect Cougar fan,” said Clint Martinson, a junior from Houston. “Honestly I would love to do that! What is greater than being able to fly around to all of the football and basketball games.”
To catch more of Norton’s exciting travels with the Cougars visit his blog at cougartrips.blogspot.com.