With March Madness just around the corner and so many sports fans filling in the brackets, the BYU fans in my family are preparing to “rise and shout,” because their “Cougars are out!” Today I thought I might introduce you to the most true, blue, Cougar fan I know—my son.
Andrew began attending BYU football and basketball games when he was 7 years old. A dear friend of mine, an avid Cougar fan, took him to nearly every game of his childhood.
Until his mission to Uruguay Andrew had never missed one home game. But even there, he was as true-blue as he could be and still follow mission rules. On all game days he demonstrated his loyalty from afar by replacing his black dress sox with sporty BYU blue and white, and on his preparation days when his white shirt came off his BYU shirt went on!
Well, the seasons have come and gone round and round at a dizzying pace, and to his total dismay, Andrew is spending his first BYU sports season out of state. During his time away I have learned that you can take the boy out of the stadium, but no one will ever take the stadium out of the boy—not this boy!
One day I called him just to chat, on what for me was a miscellaneous Saturday afternoon. His wife Dasha answered the phone and told me he had been decorating for the game. “What game? Decorating? Really?” It was one thing for a fan to put up a Cougar flag in the middle of Utah Valley, but hundreds of miles away in an apartment complex filled with unidentified neighbors? I asked her to facetime me and show me just how crazy (I mean devoted) my son is. She handed the phone to Andrew, and he gave me the tour. Here is a glimpse:
Andrew is the real deal. He’s not just an “in-town fan”; an “I love being in the stadium with the crowd fan”; or an “I love hotdogs and nachos fan.” Although I’m sure those things are all true, that’s not the bottom line. Andrew’s a Cougar fan—true blue through and through.
I offered a motherly “go Cougars” and let him finish his preparations. As I set my phone back on the dresser I thought about the world we live in. Not very many of us are true to anything “at all times, in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9). When the general public is asked what they would do in this or that situation the answer is more often than not, “Well now, that just depends.” Situational morality seems to be to order of the day, and yet God’s order is to be steadfast, loyal, constant, consistent—true through and through.
In my mind’s eye I could see precious Elder Wirthlin standing serenely at the pulpit one spring morning, looking into my eyes, and perhaps your eyes too, and saying, “In quiet moments of personal reflecting and pondering, I have benefited from humbly asking myself the simple question, “Am I true?”
I want to be true—true to people God places in my path, to the stunning gospel principles that have changed my life and that continue to change me, to my covenants with God, to all I promised my Father and my Savior I would do here before I left There, and true to the One who sacrificed to make my return possible.
But being true no matter when, what, or where is not easy. You’ve got to get out of bed in the morning, pull on your blue and white sox (figuratively speaking of course), hang the banner on the wall and put the flag in the window. Andrew’s loyalty made me smile. It caused me to think of the moment in that heavenly stadium when we all shouted for joy and promised to be true.
It helped me realize that every time I ask myself the question, “Am I true?” and then “Rise and Shout” in my closet or in a crowd, heaven smiles!