College Dance Team Central

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Split Personality For Family In Utah-BYU Rivalry

Alpine's Mowers manage a split personality during BYU-Utah week
Daily Herald
By Beky Beaton

So what determines team loyalty when a family has a split personality?

For the Doug Mower clan of Alpine, the answer is easy - blood.
Blood relation, that is.

Doug and wife Jody are BYU alumni. Oldest children Mindy and Matt are BYU graduates, and Katie and Tyler are current BYU students. Katie is also a member of the Cougarettes.

So, it would be easy to assume that this is an enclave of avid BYU fans.

Not so fast.

Second son Clint is the fly in the ointment, so to speak. He just happens to be in his senior season as the deep snapper for the Ute football team.

"Even though most of my family went to BYU, I never really had a side growing up," Clint said. "Once I came up here, my whole family converted to being Utah fans. They totally support me."

The player added that he's received a surprising amount of encouragement from his friends and neighbors too, even though his family lives right in the middle of Cougar country.

"There are a lot of people in my parents' ward who follow my team and make comments to me when I'm home," Clint said. He also gets some of the younger residents asking shyly for autographs.

He called Katie a "closet" Ute fan, but she said she makes no effort to hide it.

"I was definitely a Ute fan before I got to BYU and I'm still a little red," she said. "I'll always cheer for my brother."

That loyalty didn't get in the way of her pursuing her own dreams, however.

"I always knew I wanted to try out for the Cougarettes dance team because they're really good," she explained. "They're one of the reasons I applied to BYU, and when I made the team, BYU seemed the logical choice. It has worked out very well for me."

Clint returns the support he gets with some of his own. When he can, he goes to BYU games to watch Katie dance.

The most recent opportunity was the San Diego State game. "Of course, I had a good excuse because we were going to play them next, and BYU after that," he said.

He still made a fuss in the stands until his sister's smile and wave showed that she had seen him. "It's fun," he said. "It works out really well."

Katie agreed.

"I suppose I should be a little bit more of an advocate for BYU," she said. "It might be a little different story if I was a boy and we were actually playing against each other."

Katie is a sophomore, but tomorrow's game presents a situation she hasn't faced before.

"It's funny," she said. "I was planning to go with my parents to the game and wear my red shirt with Mower on it, and then I found out they were sending the Cougarettes to the game as well.

"It will certainly be a little different to wear blue in Rice-Eccles," she added.

Despite her appearance for the Blue side, however, there's no question about who she wants to come out victorious in the game.

"I'd like to see my brother win," she said. "The girls on the (dance) team tease me about it, and I'm tempted to wear my red shirt to the practice the day before, but it's all in good fun. They understand its family, and you support your family."

For the parents, being there for both children has created a couple of interesting days, as well as spurring an expansion of their wardrobe to cover both the Blue and the Red.

BYU Homecoming weekend last year was one of those occasions. Doug and Jody watched Katie dance at halftime of the Air Force game dressed in blue, then drove to the airport and caught a flight to Las Vegas.

The arrived at UNLV dressed in red, just in time for the 8 p.m. kickoff.

The Mowers replicated the two-in-one-day feat again this year.

They watched Katie dance at halftime of the UCLA game, then changed clothes and drove up to Logan in time for the 6 p.m. Utah kickoff at USU.

It's a little easier when the schedules don't conflict, and of course, they attend during those events too.

Doug admits that he still likes BYU -- except when they play Utah. "We're rooting for the Utes on Saturday," he said.

"Clint's played on the team for three years and it's been a great experience," the father said. "We've gotten to know the parents, the other players and the coaches there, and we've had a great time. I'm definitely a Ute football fan."

Like his son, Doug has also been surprised at how many Ute fans have come out of the woodwork in the neighborhood, but that doesn't mean the Mowers escape any comment.

"A lot of our neighbors and ward members tease us," he said. "Last year on the morning of the (BYU-Utah) game, we found a big blue Y flag hung on our front porch."

So, did they burn it? Shred it? Throw it away?

Nope.

They found out who left it there, eventually. They kept it for about half a year, and then gave it back, intact.

That result well represents the kind of civility you have to have to survive in a family with ties to both sides.

• Beky Beaton can be reached at bbeaton@heraldextra.com.

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