The phrase “it runs skin deep” has an entirely different connotation for BYU students when it comes to school spirit, especially when their skin is dyed blue.
Thousands of BYU students will flock to Helaman fields Wednesday of homecoming week to catch the true Cougar spirit as they enjoy music, dancing and soaking in blue foam. The event starts at 4 p.m. and is free for BYU students with their student ID card.
The homecoming tradition started years ago when a group of BYU students started playing mud football in Helaman fields. The grounds crew raised concerns about maintaining the field, so the students found the alternative of blue foam. Now the event has evolved from a game of mud football to a massive event involving a slipping slide, music, dancing and a lot of blue.
Nery Rolan, the event lead from Mesa, Ariz., said True Blue Football is the greatest event put on by BYUSA.
“This is the best event at BYU in terms of BYUSA,” Rolan said. “It’s mainly because it’s a huge event. The numbers are expected from one to two thousand people. It’s just mad chaos, as people are there to have fun.”
Heidi Jorgenson, a junior from O’Fallon, Ill., studying dance performance, remembers her first experience with True Blue Football.
“We waited in a really long line, and it was really cold and rainy that day,” Jorgenson said. “I vividly remember while in line seeing people come back, and they were just soaked in blue, and (I) was really, really excited to be one of them. We got up there, put our stuff down and then dove right in.”
Abraham Kim, a junior from Sandy studying biology, said his favorite part of True Blue Football is having fun with so many people.
“It’s such a weird idea,” Kim said. “It was so fun. So many people come, and so many crazy things happen in the foam, you just have fun with your friends.”
Although the event provides unique fun for students, Rolan hopes students will realize a bigger purpose to coming: catching the BYU spirit.
“What I hope students will recognize is that when you come to these homecoming activities, that is when the spirit of BYU comes,” he said. “I feel that you can go to school and you can do your homework and you can take tests, and you can like your teachers, but the real spirit happens when you go to events like this. Without that, I feel that students can never grasp that spirit.”
[media-credit name=”Courtesy of BYUSA” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Josh Helding, a junior from Chicago, Ill., and the marketing coordinator for the event, said True Blue Football is one of the best activities students can attend to foster the BYU spirit and make new friends.
“It doesn’t just present the opportunity, it almost forces you to meet people,” Helding said. “If you’re sliding down a huge slipping slide with foam and you’re going to fall off, you’re going to need to hold onto somebody’s hand, and you’re going to grab whoever’s hand is there. It doesn’t matter whether or not you know the person.”
Helding shared that his wife considers True Blue Football as academically changing in her experience at BYU.
“She felt a stronger connection to the university,” Helding said. “Any activity like this where you have that much fun, you feel a closer connection to the university you go to, the people you went with, the people you meet there.”
What originated as a group of BYU students playing mud football is now a timeless, foam-filled homecoming tradition that creates lasting memories.
“What I remember most was walking back to my apartment and not being able to feel anything,” Jorgenson said. “I couldn’t feel my arms. I couldn’t feel my legs because I was so cold, but it was worth it.”