Jimmer is AMAZING! We spent the weekend watching Jimmer Fredette lead the BYU Cougars to a huge victory over Gonzaga university. I think it bugs my husband that I have just started watching Jimmer play, and I scream and jump like one of his most devoted fans. BYU is now in the sweet sixteen of the NCAA tournament. That hasn’t happened for thirty years.
But my husband and I were both pretty angry at BYU a few weeks ago. BYU has a strict honor code that all students agree to before attending the university. This code requires students to be chaste, use clean language, dress modestly, abstain from harmful substances, and be honest. All students sign an agreement to live by these standards.
BYU’s basketball players are no exception. One of BYU’s basketball players, Brandon Davies, was recently suspended from playing for the rest of the season because he broke the honor code. (He didn’t do anything illegal.) He’s a key inside player to BYU’s team. BYU was ranked #3 in the nation when Davies was suspended. The day after his suspension, they suffered a devastating loss. They would win another game only to lose again.
At first, my husband and I were upset with BYU. BYU has not been a serious contender in college basketball for years. Fredettte, the top ranked college player in the nation, is a senior, and he’s BYU’s best chance of making it to the NCAA finals. However, he’s not a huge guy, and he relied on the tall Brandon Davies to help him get inside.
We thought that BYU could delay their decision until after the tournament was over. We’re only talking about a few weeks, right? Holding off could give BYU a chance at the title. Suspending Davies would put BYU’s victory opportunities into a tailspin.
But we’ve both had a change of heart. We were surprised to see that BYU students supported the university’s decision to suspend Davies. We were doubly surprised to see that most news commentators especially from ESPN admired BYU’s decision to uphold their values. I realized that I had been wrong. What is the point of upholding your values only when it benefits you?
Staying firm when things get tough–now that means something. When BYU entered the NCAA tournament, nobody knew what to expect. We were thrilled to see them win their first victory over Wofford, but many expected Gonzaga to beat BYU. Not Fredette. He led BYU to a huge victory.
BYU’s integrity inspired me. I have not been a person that likes to take a stand. I just like to get along with everybody, but I felt that a dear family member was being unfairly judged by another person I love. Things were said that I felt were not only hurtful, but untrue. I decided to defend the person that was being unjustly treated. It was not an easy thing to do because I deeply respect the person I had to confront and that person has a lot of influence in the family. The discussion took longer than I wanted to, because feelings ran deep on both sides. However, I tried to remind this person of all the wonderful things the maligned person had done for the family. In the end, we didn’t completely agree, but she was moved. She told me she respected me for my deep loyalty to the family member I defended.
This is not something I would have done before. Creating waves has just never been my thing. But thinking about my values over the past few weeks, watching BYU hold fast, and decided that I need to live a more value driven life gave me the courage to take a stand. Thanks BYU and Jimmer for standing firm.