Here in Utah, we've got the whole BYU-Utah rivalry thing going on and we're quite proud of it.
It's a unique rivalry, we all know that. It's been around for a while now, although not nearly as long as some other college rivalries. Still, it's ours and if I'm not mistaken, it's become a little more heated over the past decade or so.
I've said it before and I'll say it once more, I'm concerned about the so-called Holy War (even typing those words makes me feel a little queasy). I'm not only worried about what it's become, I worry about where it might end up.
Heaven forbid (and, yes, I really mean that) it ever gets to the point of the Kentucky-Louisville feud.
The Wildcats and Cardinals met Saturday at the Final Four and it was indeed a spectacle. Passionate folks on both sides expressed themselves with painted-faces, colorful handmade signs and thousands of dollars in goods and merchandise.
They reveled in their team and, win or lose, hopefully, they enjoyed themselves.
That part of college rivalries, I like.
Unfortunately, these things also get ugly.
How ugly, you ask?
Well, did anybody see the news story out of Georgetown, Ky. last week? The story about the two guys, one 68 and the other 71, who got into a fistfight at a local dialysis clinic?
No kidding, it really happened.
Here's how it went down: While still hooked up to a dialysis machine, Ed Wilson, a 68-year-old Kentucky fan, shot an obscene hand gesture at Charles Taylor, a 71-year-old Louisville fan.
And just like that, it was on.
Taylor marched over and slugged Wilson in the face. Before long, police were called in to calm things down.
Now, I know some of you are laughing right now and I suppose it is somewhat laughable. But let's not confuse "delightfully funny" with "sad and pathetic funny."
Forgive me if it seems I'm climbing on a high horse here, but seriously, two retirement-age guys getting into a fight at a dialysis center is pathetically sad. Sadder still, is that they were fighting over a college sports rivalry.
Look, I know we all do dumb things, especially when we're young and impetuous. But these guys have a combined 139 year of experience between them (I was going to call it "wisdom" but just couldn't bring myself to use the word).
Just a guess here, but I'll bet neither of these men actually attended either institution, nor did they ever actually play ball there. Instead, I'm guessing they're both just big fans, one wearing his red Louisville stuff and the other decked out in his blue Kentucky gear.
I'm guessing each man really identifies with his chosen team, so much so that wearing that red or blue has become a critical part of his own identity.
I'll bet ol' Ed really believes he bleeds Kentucky blue and ol' Charlie is Louisville red to his very core.
If I'm wrong, I'm sorry. But that still doesn't change the stupidity of two old guys slugging it out ... at a dialysis center. In the sports world, we celebrate being fans and we really do love our teams. And in the media, we love to tell stories about that deep passion because we think it's charming.
But there's a thin line between being passionate and being nuttier than a jar of Jif.
By all means, root for your team and if that means disliking your rival team, do what you have to do. But, please, don't for a second think it's a life-and-death situation.
Things like open-heart surgery, chemotherapy and dialysis can be a life-and-death situations. But Kentucky-Louisville ... or BYU-Utah? Nope, sorry. Not even close.
Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He also covers the Utah Jazz and the NBA. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247