I would like to speak candidly about the subject.
In the year 1998, the Utah Jazz reached the NBA Finals, only to lose to the Bulls for a second straight year, despite having home court advantage and two future hall of famers. This was devestating on my family. My brothers cried. My mom refused to ever let herself become a fan ever again. My dad can no longer watch the Jazz if they get down by more than 10 points. I was only 12 at the time, so I was affected much less than my older siblings, but still heartbroken. The pain lasts even to this day.
In the year 20o5, BYU went on the road on a snowy evening to Boise St., to play on the famed smurf turf. Boise St. rarely loses there, if ever. BYU drove down to the 30 yard line, in the snow, and had a chance at the end of the game to win it on a field goal by Matt Payne, one of our greatest kickers. He missed. I walked out of my dorm room, speaking to no one, threw open the balcony door, and screamed. For a long time, I screamed. I HATED the Broncos.
More recently, in 2008, the Utah Jazz defeated the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, a year after making it to the conference finals. Next up: the Lakers. This would be the first of three straight years of playing (and losing to) LA in the playoffs. This was our best fight. We won games 3 and 4 to even the series at 2-2. In game 5, the Refs clearly whistled in a way that Staples' crowd was pleased (let us not forget Odom's waltz down the middle of the lane, dunk, and somehow an and-one called on boozer). We lost by only a few points, then lost by 3 points in game 6. I was devestated. After game 5, I left the apartment to walk around Provo by myself for a while. In 2009, we lost again to LA, this time in 5 games. IN 2010, despite some good play against Denver and competitive games in Games 1 and 3, we were swept by Kobe and Co. To say I hate the Lakers is an understatement.
Many of you may have been wondering how I took to hear Pres. Uchtdorf's comments. Here's the way I see it. Sports, to me, is one of only a few remaining forms of entertainment that can still be considered "good." It has not (at least, for the most part) been defiled by Hollywood, corruption, and "sex to sell." However, I admit that you can go overboard. Screaming off the top of the dorms? Overboard. Crying after a jazz loss? Overboard. Pride is a dangerous issue when it comes to sports.
The two dangers I see sports posing to our humility is this:
1 - The pride you have for your team becomes so intense that you do not only hate the players on an opposing team, you hate their personal lives, their families, and their fans. Max Hall can comment on this. I can no longer be hostile towards Lakers fans (except for Jack Nicholson, perhaps). I still believe I can dislike the team, but not everything about it.
2 - The real danger, I believe, is what Pres. Uchtdorf said about allowing the pride you have in your team to spill over into other aspects of your life. For example, my little brother once was telling me a story about a girl he met Freshman year. She was a babe, she loved sports, and she really liked him. I asked him, dumbfounded, what the hold up was. He responded, "Dan, she's a Lakers Fan!" I admit, half of me boiled with unbridled rage. I wanted to tear her limb from limb, and I didn't even know her! But the other, sane half of me reprimanded my little brother for allowing his passion for the Jazz to boil into his dating. THIS is the danger. Sports pride can turn into real hatred for others we know.
I guess that was where his talk hit home. I can no longer allow my pride to spill over into other aspects of my life. Yes, I will still watch nearly every Jazz game, root passionately for them, and extremely dislike the Lakers. But hopefully my new approach to the games will allow me to treat Lakers fans (unfathomable as it may seem) with less hostility. They are, after all, people.