We all have special ties to our alma mater, but I'm glad mine is BYU.
BYU has gotten a lot of attention lately; between all the Jimmermania and Brandon Davies' shocking suspension from the basketball team for an Honor Code violation, it seems like everyone is talking about BYU, whether they have good things to say or not.
So, naturally, I have to put my two cents in.
The last few months has shown me just how many BYU haters there are out there. At first I just thought it was funny--San Diego State's habit of dressing up like missionaries (albeit sloppily dressed ones) when BYU comes to town is pretty entertaining for most of us who have a sense of humor. And, you know, we Mormons like attention, even if it's not always positive.
But I feel like I've had to defend myself a lot more lately. I work in the real world now (you know, Salt Lake), and while there are some loyal BYU fans across the valley, Ute fans still claim a majority of the population. It takes a lot of self-control to not lose my cool when individuals start bashing on BYU, even if it is playful.
And here is the part where I get to my point: I am proud that I have something to defend. In a world where immorality and crime is the norm, it is rather refreshing to know that at least some organizations will take a moral stand, even if it means heartache, disappointment, and lost opportunities.
And while most sports fans don't agree with BYU's Honor Code, most of the critics respect BYU for sticking to it despite tremendous adversity. However, more telling to me was the reaction of the students. Yes, there was some anger and probably *gasp* some colorful language, but the students for the most part stood by the school's decision. It's not just the university that upholds certain standards--the students believe in them too.
And I have to say that, even though they drove me crazy by my senior year of college, I love those "only at BYU" moments.
Anyone who knows anything about BYU should know what I'm talking about.
For example, on Saturday afternoon (sadly, during BYU's last home game of the year), I went to Vocal Point's anniversary concert. 75 men--from the scrawny, current members with a full head of hair to the balding and not-so-scrawny alumni members--entertained us for 2 hours with boy band songs, rehashed choreography, award-winning numbers, and lots and lots of good sound.
The most obvious "only at BYU" moment came when the MC announced that we would be hearing from the children of past Vocal Point members. 25 children, ranging in age from 3ish to late adolescence, flocked onto the stage. And then the MC said, "These kids represent about 7 Vocal Point members." Only at BYU. . . .
The best moment came at the very end of the concert, though. The entire crew crowded together on the stage to sing a couple of joint numbers and the final number was . . . "Nearer My God, to Thee." My sisters and I about had a heart attack when the song title popped up on the backdrop. Just imagine--75 men, men who can do amazing things with their voices, men who hold the priesthood, who served missions, who are fathers (and some who are still single and very much available)--came together to sing Vocal Point's most powerful arrangement of a truly inspiring hymn.
I almost exploded with happiness; the Carter sisters in the back corner of the balcony came dangerously close to floating away to heaven. Again, this type of thing only happens at BYU.
So, yeah, BYU is weird, at times ridiculously so. However, I would rather be known as the one school that doesn't allow caffeine and beards than as one of the many schools that lets kids get away with whatever they want. BYU is different, but at least it is consistently different.