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Even from across the pond, in the wee morning hours, enthusiasm for Cougars is alive and well

In Scotland, Tony Seymour stays up all night for a peek into what BYU football is doing during its undefeated streak.

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Long snapper Austin Riggs and defensive end Tyler Batty became the first BYU student-athletes to sign NIL deals in July.

BYU defensive back Morgan Pyper (10), BYU defensive back Hayden Livingston (28) and BYU long snapper Austin Riggs (84) carry the flags out as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In the wee morning hours, in the Scottish Highlands some 80 miles from Glasgow, Tony Seymour turns on his internet radio link and listens to now No. 8-ranked BYU win games.

It may seem like a small and minor technological trick, but for Seymour, it plugs him into his beloved Cougars, injects him with energy and excitement. It is a feast of entertainment to just keep up.

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BYU football fan Tony Seymour roots for his beloved Cougars from afar in the Scottish Highlands.

Courtesy Tony Seymour

Seymour, you see, has skin in the game. Or at least used to.

He is a former Cosmo from 1963 to 1964 and was captain of BYU’s freshman football team in 1958 when he played in four games and got kicked out of two of them for administering shimmers and flippers. He was recruited by Tally Stevens after parlaying offers from Cal, Stanford and Utah into an offer.

“I married an amazing lady with a ballet school in the Scottish Highlands five years ago before realizing that all of the BYU games would be kicking off at 2 or 3 in the morning —with most ESPN coverage scheduled for late starts,” said Seymour. 

“So even though I could subscribe to ESPN coverage, I have settled in listening to an hour or two of the pre-game show and have been amazed at how exciting existing games have been just listening over the radio, and then reveling in the postgame show knowing that having been tuned in from 1 to 6 or 7 a.m.  is going to exact a toll the following day.

“This season has been spectacular, even glorious. So grateful for the coaching staff doing the job that they’ve done, even including the dance lessons on the sideline. It just keeps coming — even listening is a beautiful thing knowing that I can extend the high with YouTube highlights or even the entire game later in the morning. 

“The 8- and 10-yard carries by Tyler (Allgeier) and Lopini (Katoa) are almost as spectacular as the passing game. The offensive line, the wide receivers and their acrobatics, Isaac Rex and his success following in the footsteps of his father. It all adds to BYU’s brand and perception nationally — with major sportswriters and NFL players lavishing well-deserved praise.”

Seymour is one of a myriad of fans scattered across the globe partaking of BYU football through the wonders of technology. He lives on a farm in a countryside scattered with 400- and 500-year-old castles in every direction. COVID-19 restrictions are minimum except when he ventures to town 20 miles away to the Tesco store in Oban.

He calls BYU football and basketball “unbelievably therapeutic and uplifting in a land where soccer is king, complete with centuries of competition that included bands, rough matches, bagpipes and even throwing rocks and telephone poles as part of the gala.

“I just turned 80 in September and hear that that’s a legitimate retirement age, but still have a few things to finish,” said Seymour. He is currently working with partners in acquiring the Prestwick Airport to repurpose the facility. He is also helping the government of Angola to preserve valuable diamond reserves and has a project in using hyperbaric oxygen to reverse chronic traumatic encephalopathy for football players and others with brain injuries.

“My wife is Gillian. We have 13 children with three adopted from Guatemala — seven in the U.S., five in Scotland and one in Germany.”

Seymour comes from pioneer stock, his distant relatives sailing across the Atlantic and making the 1,200-mile trek over land to Utah, settling in Logan in a Norwegian community of the day.

“My grandfather 40 generations ago was Harald Hardrada, shot through the throat with an arrow on Stamford Bridge invading England with 9,000 other Vikings — Sept. 25, 1066.  They were slaughtered. If you have a minute, Google him. Not quite Matt Haarms’ height but as tall as Richard Harward — we’re told,” he said.

And that’s a fragment of the background of this fan, who helped form the Cougar Club in the ’60s but is now enjoying his team from afar.

Interesting how sports makes the world a very small place.