My brother Nate is 16 months younger than I am. Most of our childhood we were great playmates. But there was constantly an underlying competition going on between us.
I was a smart kid. I learned to read quickly when I went to school.
Nate learned to read the same time I did. Only more quickly and better. I can still remember when I was five and I tried desperately to convince my grandfather that Nate had only memorized There's a Nightmare in My Closet. He couldn't really read. After all, he had made my mom read it to him a hundred billion times. To prove me wrong, my grandpa pulled Nate onto his lap and had him read from The Book of Mormon. Nate did and I was defeated.
I hated when I struggled to sound out a word and he'd look over my shoulder and tell me what it was.
When I was in third grade and Nate was in first grade, my teacher (my very favorite teacher ever!) started a computer club for third, fourth and fifth graders and my brother Nate. My third grade teacher, whom I adored, loved my brother. Every time my brother stopped by his classroom my teacher would let him take a sucker from the birthday tree. At the end of the year when it was time for the summer birthdays (mine is in August) to get a sucker, they were gone.
When I was ten, all the fifth graders got to travel to Provo to see the Ramses II exhibit at BYU. All the fifth graders and my brother. He was in third grade. Fair? I think not.
During family scripture reading we'd battle to see who would read the longest verses.
A game of HORSE on the basketball court could be especially intensive.
We got in a fist fight once (that I can remember). We were just playing catch with a baseball in the back yard and the next minute we were slugging it out. I ended up sitting on top of him and holding down his arms so he couldn't hit me any more until another brother ran for a parent. I can't remember exactly how old we were, but I know we were grounded and had to miss the Young Women/Young Men activity that night.
The funny thing is, that even though we were constantly competing with each other, we were usually pretty good friends.
Nate grew up to be successful business owner. He married an awesome wife and has four beautiful and remarkably well behaved children (I give all the credit for that to his wife). We don't compete so much any more.
Except for one thing. Nate is a die-hard University of Utah fan. I mean DIE-HARD. He has a UofU bumper sticker on his truck. He and all his kids have UofU shirts and hats and jackets and socks and they attend games all the time. And he doesn't just cheer against BYU when they're playing against the U. He ALWAYS cheers against BYU. Perhaps cheering for the U is Nate's one act of rebellion.
Because we were raised on BYU sports from the time we were born and we listened to the games on the radio with my grandpa and dad. (OK, I'm old and I lived in the boonies and most of the games weren't televised then--so there.) Utah Dad and I attended and graduated from the Y. The blood flowing through my veins in true blue.
Needless to say, Nate and I don't watch the games together any more. Years ago, we tried because we like excuses to get together. It didn't work. Someone always went home mad.
So, I was surprised when Nate called me early last week to find out what we were doing on Thursday.
What did he think we were doing on Thursday? Of course we would be watching the BYU/Florida game. We planned to watch it at home online like we had watched all the other basketball games during March Madness and the NCAA tournament.
He invited us to his house to watch the game. Since he has a 42" HDTV, cable and the kids always like getting together with their cousins, we accepted.
We ate bratwurst and potato salad and we ALL cheered for BYU. Nate cheered loudest. And we all mourned at the final outcome.
And so I say . . . a big THANK YOU to Jimmer.
Thanks for the show this year.
Thanks for letting us watch you score 52 points against New Mexico and break Ainge's record.
Thanks for taking BYU to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 30 years.
And especially thanks for bringing BYU and Uof U fans together -- even if only for a moment.