BYU student finds a home at Cougar football games

BYU football has had a packed season, playing teams all across the country and making trips to locations such as Oregon, Las Vegas and Florida.

While many BYU fans have seen these road games as a chance to watch from the comfort of their couch, Jasmine Limbong saw a challenge. She felt the call to go to every single football game in the 2022 season, no matter the location or travel involved.

Oftentimes, a sports enthusiast develops their passion from the influence of a parent. In Limbong’s case, however, her father immigrated from Indonesia and her mother doesn’t really care for sports.

“I’m the only one in my family that is consistently in love with sports, which is really weird,” Limbong said, laughing at her own statement. “I’m the one that started this huge football thing in my house.”

After trying out and not making it onto the cheer squad at Kuna High School in Kuna, Idaho, Limbong decided she wanted to become involved in sports at her school in another way. Out of pure desire to be a part of something bigger, a young freshman Limbong approached her high school head football coach.

“I think your program needs me,” Limbong recalls saying to Kuna’s coach. “I am super organized, your program is run by men and you need some organization.”

Limbong was not surprised when she immediately received a spot on the team and from then on was known as the “director of football.”

“I did everything except coach,” Limbong said. “I helped with the booster club, finances, website updates and uploading the stats and analysis of players. All these coaches became my best friends and all the teammates were brothers to me. I had 120 brothers that I could always rely on.”

All these coaches became my best friends and all the teammates were brothers to me. I had 120 brothers that I could always rely on.”

Limbong was dedicated to Kuna’s team and was proud of the knowledge that she acquired while working so closely with the coaches.

“I can think like a coach”, Limbong said proudly, stating that her knowledge of football went deeper than first downs and touchdowns.

Limbong is a first-generation sports enthusiast, and more importantly, a first-generation college student. She has had to deal with health problems while her family lived all the way back in Indonesia. Growing up, Limbong refused to be “one of those (church) members that went to BYU,” but after her mission, she felt very strongly that she needed to apply to BYU.

“Looking back at it, I could not be at a better school. Being a first-generation college student, you kind of have to pay for everything yourself and this university makes that possible,” Limbong said. “It’s been a really safe space for me to figure out my faith.”

After being so closely involved with her high school football team, Limbong knew she wanted to be involved with the BYU’s squad. However, she quickly realized that college football is much different and harder to get into, so she now attends the games as a fan and has fallen in love with it.

“Football is something that’s been safe for all these past years for me,” Limbong said. “It’s not just enjoying the game, I enjoy the environment and all it stands for.”

“Football is something that’s been safe for all these past years for me. It’s not just enjoying the game, I enjoy the environment and all it stands for.”

This deep connection to football has driven Limbong to create a goal of attending each football game this season, with the exception of the Oct. 22 affair against Liberty.

“Since I had that experience in high school of being so connected to the team, I know what a brotherhood of a football team feels like,” Limbong said. “I think I feel connected to the BYU football program and BYU in general because they are working towards an environment of love and learning.”

However, her goal has been much easier said than done. According to Limbong, the hardest part about going to every game is trying to find other fans who are as dedicated to go with her.

One of her friends, Ashlan Gruwell, went to a game with Limbong and has said she won’t go again, citing how intense she became during the game. Gruwell has known Limbong for three years, and after going to four football games together, she is no stranger to Limbong’s intensity and passion.

“She gets really into it and pretty much gets tunnel vision,” Gruwell said. “Her emotions are tied to the game, which can be good and bad.”

Ashlan Gruwell and Jasmine Limbong at the BYU football game against Arkansas. (Photo courtesy of Jasmine Limbong)

Despite their differences at football games, Gruwell is still good friends with Limbong and is supporting her attendance goal this year.

“Jasmine is so passionate about what she does that she almost doesn’t even need my support. She always gives 100% and she unapologetically does what she wants,” Gruwell said.

Limbong is aware of her own faults and understands why some of her friends aren’t as dedicated as she is. “I’ll admit, I am intense at games and sometimes it is not fun to be at games with me.”

Another few setbacks Limbong has encountered when attending away games is travel and finding tickets.

“I spent way too much money on tickets for the Vegas game. I went to the lottery for the ROC pass and 10 of my friends signed up for it, and only one of my friends even got a ticket,” Limbong said of BYU’s matchup with Notre Dame Oct. 8 in Las Vegas.

That one friend was Austin Blakemore, a BYU sophomore. Blakemore and Limbong have known each other for a little over a year, and once Blakemore got a ticket to the Notre Dame game, he and Limbong decided to travel together. However, the Cougars losing would not be the only letdown that weekend.

“We had been driving home for a while and the car started making noises that were not good,” Blakemore said. “The RPMs were going crazy and the car was slowing down even when Jasmine was flooring it.”

Jasmine Limbong and her friends on the way home from Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of Jasmine Limbong)

After experiencing the ups and downs of Las Vegas with Limbong, Blakemore echoed the same sentiments Gruwell expressed earlier.

“Jasmine is really passionate about what she does,” Blakemore said. “She puts a lot of dedication into our friendship and she is the biggest sports fan I know.”

Limbong also attended the game against Oregon on Sept. 17, which she said was the “worst experience” in regards to the atmosphere she found in the stadium, where Duck fans began an explicit chant directed at church members.

Limbong prefers to be a part of the ROC at home and away games. She loves how the students bring so much excitement and hype to each game, but she draws the line when it comes to unsportsmanlike conduct.

“Sometimes the ROC can say some pretty rude things. My program back home was based on sportsmanship and so is the BYU football program,” Limbong said. “They are very much about love and learning. We aren’t as intense as other student sections when it comes to taunting, but we can always do better.”

Despite the fire and passion that fuels Limbong’s love of football, one thing that she has vowed to never do is yell at referees.

“Imagine doing your job and having thousands of people tell you that you suck while you do it,” Limbong said. “I am so intense about football, but I would never chant ‘ref you suck’ because I know how terrible that would be to work through.”

Along with any dedication to BYU sports comes a love for Cosmo the Cougar, as BYU’s beloved mascot has a special place in Limbong’s heart.

“Any university that says they have a better mascot than Cosmo does not know what they are talking about,” Limbong said. “I consider Cosmo to be the best part of the ROC.”

Limbong’s connection to football, her school and the Cougars runs deep. Her love for the team, the environment and the game keep a smile on her face at each outing.

“To someone that doesn’t have a connection with sports, find something you are connected to as much as I am connected to sports. Find something you love that much that you can’t imagine life without it,” Limbong said. “Find something that you are that passionate about and makes you want to keep going in moments that you don’t. I have definitely have these moments and having something that I love gets me through those days.

“Heaven will have football because Jesus knows that I cannot survive without it.”

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