To the editor:
Intercollegiate athletics has many lessons to teach its participants, one of which is how to win with grace. Brigham Young, understandably unaccustomed to beating Utah, demonstrated in powerful terms March 7 they have no earthly idea how to perform that ritual.The cardinal rule of winning is that you don't show up your opponents - if you win, you've played better, but you shouldn't rub your opponents' noses in it.
And yet, there were our friends from down south, slamming home a dunk shot with 30 seconds left, taking a three-pointer with 4 seconds left, when our players were conceding they could run out the clock and then running around, waving their arms at the crowd and pointing fingers to the Ute bleachers.
Of course, there were the typical cretins in the Utah stands who threw stuff at the BYU players as they left the court, and there were a few BYU players who acted with a little bit of class. Gary Trost, I noticed, thought his time could be better spent congratulating Ute players instead of mocking Ute fans.
But on the other hand, one can hardly imagine a Rick Majerus-coached player taking a three-pointer when the other team is letting you run out the clock or running around pointing at the crowd.
Well, BYU proved two things conclusively: They had a better collection of 12 basketball players that night, but we have a better collection of 12 human beings.
But one truism of sports is that showing up your opponent is a remarkably effective memory enhancer. There will be a time when Utah beats BYU, and we won't taunt, and we won't slam dunks in conceded time, but after we take the time to congratulate our teammates and shake your hands, the fruit of victory will taste a little sweeter.
Salt Lake City