In the wake of the Boise State versus Idaho State football game the past weekend, a lot of people noticed an Idaho State alum at the game, Stacy Dragila. Another thing they noticed was at the beginning of the game, she was sporting a bright orange shirt. Except this orange shirt didn’t have a Bengal on it, where the Bengal was supposed to be was substituted for a Boise State Bronco. Idaho State didn’t put up much of a fight but that’s beside the point. Adriana and I were at Wingers in Mountain Home watching the game. Everyone in the restaurant was for Boise State, but we cheered any time ISU did something good. We didn’t care what people thought, we just knew that we had to stick up for our team.
When I was younger my father always told me to stick with a team. Once you pick that team, you root for them, win or lose. There was a period where I was having a hard time figuring out what NFL team I liked. It was the Dolphins, the Raiders, the Buccaneers, the Titans, mainly because of players. Tim Brown for the Raiders, John Lynch for the Buc’s, Eddie George for the Titans and O.J. McDuffie for the Dolphins. Eventually I picked the team that I never watched play in a super bowl, the Dolphins. The other three made it to the big game and only one was a champion, the Buccaneers. Once I stuck with the Dolphins, I’ve been a faithful fan.
I’ve been through some rough years as a sports fan. I’ve only remembered the Dolphins making the playoffs a couple times, and never won a game from my memory. The NBA Boston Celtics were a laughing stock for the longest time before they won a championship and were a force for half a decade. The MLB Boston Red Sox always seemed to let me down until they finally won it all right before I went into high school. All of those teams struggling mightily for most of my life, but I still call them my teams.
Two athletes that have come and gone from Idaho State University that don’t seem to want to reminisce on it are Stacey Dragila and Jared Allen. Both great athletes at their respective sports, both worshipped by Bengals, present and past. Jared Allen always cracked jokes on primetime games saying he was from, “ISU… I Screwed Up” or “University of Culinary Arts”. People were always amused by it but I never got the humor. He came back to Holt Arena a year or two ago and received a standing ovation. All these people standing up for a person that doesn’t want to be remembered as a Bengal.
Stacy Dragila has a road named after her on campus that travels right by Holt Arena. Idaho State bends over backwards for people that don’t want to endorse their own school. Call it overreacting, but if I had a say at ISU, I would rename the road to an athlete that actually is proud to wear the stripes. Or someone that has made an impact outside of sports. Martin Luther King Drive is a road that goes right through the heart of campus. A man that stood up to much more wicked opposers. Those are the type of people the streets should be named after.
After Adriana married me, she realized she had to start paying more attention to sports. She fell in love with an NBA team that was fast paced and was exciting to watch. As much as I advertised the Celtics, she eventually decided the Golden State Warriors were her team. It was early in the season last year, so I wouldn’t call it bandwagoning. She became a fan just before they started loading passengers on the wagon. I gave her the same advice my dad gave me.
“If you pick this team, you have to back them up and be there for them… win or lose.”
Luckily for Adriana, it only took half a year to be a fan of a champion team. From what I saw, she seemed to really become a true fan. She still has some learning involving the game but she is educating herself quickly.
Pride in sports teams is something rare from my childhood. Watching friends switch teams once their original team starts to falter. One friend became a Patriots fan, but I can guarantee he can’t name another player on the team from their first super bowl outside of Tom Brady, Adam Vinitieri or Tedy Bruschi.
I’m excited about the Power of Pride movement here in American Falls. Hailey Lusk has done a great job putting that together. One thing American Falls has been beaten at since I was young is school spirit. I hope we as a community fix it so when my kids go through American Falls, they can be proud to be a Beaver as well as the rest of the city.
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