Let's talk about Venom.
No, not the crappy movies with Tom Hardy (though, this most recent Venom movie was pretty A-OK), but the actual Venom from the comic books. Don't worry, we'll keep this high level so you don't have to feel like you're getting too nerdy.
Venom is an alien life form. He's (I'm saying he, but he could be she or whatever other pronoun you decide to go by) a liquid life form who attaches itself to human life for survival. If he doesn't find a human host, he is just dead goo. If he finds a human host, he thrives and is one of the dopest heroes in the Marvel comic book series.
His first human host was Spiderman, all the way back in a 1984 release of 'The Amazing Spiderman #252.' His first full time comic book was in 1988, episode #300 of the same series.
Venom eventually attaches himself to Eddie Brock and the two become the Venom that you see in the movies. They are each other's hosts - Eddie for Venom's gooey survival and Venom for Eddie's forlay into saving lives.
Venom needs humans and, over time, humanity shows that they need Venom too. They help each other in a symbiotic relationship. In case you were sleeping in your 7th grade biology class, symbiotic relationships are where two organisms are co-dependent of one another for survival. The alien Venom and his human host. Or that one little tiny fish that hangs out on sharks and eats bacteria and bugs and crap off the shark so they both can survive.
Two parties with their own thought process, their own objectives, and their own ways of life that are intertwined to one-another for survival. What a beautiful relationship!
You, college football fan reading this article, are also part of a symbiotic relationship. You and college football players and coaches are tied together, co-dependent on one-another for survival.
A Preamble to Our Charge
No matter what happens in our symbiotic relationship with college football programs, there is one rule that should apply in any and all situations: Don't be a dick.
If you find yourself making death threats, YOU are the problem.
If you find yourself attacking another person, YOU are the problem.
If the general population sees the things you are saying and how you are treating other human beings and thinks to themselves, 'Wow, if that person was ever taken by a Hungarian gang of thugs, even Liam Neeson wouldn't bother picking up the phone when they called,' then YOU are the problem.
Don't be the problem. As we're going to discuss, that doesn't mean you have to keep your thoughts to yourselves and pretend that life is puppy dogs and rainbows, but it means that you shouldn't be a dick.
If you don't inherently understand where the line between 'Not Being A Dick' and "Being A Dick' is, then maybe you are not quite ready for a life on the internet - and certainly not ready for actual human interaction.
Don't be a dick. That is our preamble.
Stop me if you've heard me say this before: College football fans are the thermostat of the program.
Most of our readers are, probably, middle-aged dads who fit the stereotype of being Thermostat Stalin. The thermostat is pivotal to our happiness in our homes.
One day I was staying at a hotel with my dad, my grandpa, and a few of my uncles. We were getting ready for some sort of a hunting trip and we packed into one hotel room.
Let me tell you about Hansens and how we're shaped. I like to wear big shirts, so I choose to wear a 3XL. I am probably a 2XL, really, but who wants to walk that border line and risk going out in public with your under gut hanging out? So I wear a 3XL a little loose.
I am the smallest Hansen.
So when a bunch of Hansens climb into a two-queen Holiday Inn Express, we're testing the capacity limits of that room.
On this particular visit, one uncle was in the middle of me and my brother in law - the "skinny" ones of the family. We were trying to get some sleep and, obviously, we could not.
In the middle of the night, this particular uncle had decided that he had enough. He climbed out of the bed, announced he was done with this trip, grabbed his bag and drove home. It was too late in the night/early in the morning for any of the rest of us to try and stop him, so away he went while we groggily tried to go back to sleep.
About an hour later, we all woke up drenched in sweat.
As punishment for making him sleep in the middle of two "skinny" Hansens, this uncle turned the thermostat up to 90-degrees on his way out the door - a diabolical prank.
That is the power of the thermostat and that is the power of the college football fan.
If you want to be a fanbase who turns up the heat to 90-degrees all the time, you absolutely have that power. But, there are trade-offs. Some people don't like 90-degree heat (weird, as I'm writing this on December 20 with teen-temperatures outside).
One of the reasons - among many others - that Bronco Mendenhall left BYU was because of the expectations of the program and the fanbase. He was consistently winning eight or nine games a season, but fans were calling for his job. From Mendenhall's standpoint, he felt that, given the resources handed to him, he was actually overachieving as a head coach. Fans felt that the program was underachieving. The temperature that the fan-thermostat was set at proved to be hotter than Mendenhall liked, so he left.
There were other factors that played a role in Mendenhall's decision to go to Virginia, but there is no doubting that BYU fans placed a lot of pressure on him. That is their job. But, if the fans put too much pressure on a given person, that person could choose to leave and set the program back.
In the case of Mendenhall, his replacement is proving to live up to the standard of the fan thermostat with back-to-back double-digit win seasons.
A Thermostat Doesn't Actually Do Any Of The Work
Congratulations, college football fan, you're a thermostat! Let's talk about what rights you have!
You get to set the tone! Provide the bench mark! Request heat when things get a little cool!
Nothing else. That's it. That's all you do.
You don't make the heat. You aren't an air conditioner. You aren't the fan that blows the air around and you aren't the vents that control the output. After a temperature is set, you don't do anything. You just hang out and watch what all of the actual things that do work do. You can chirp if things get out of line, but you can't actually do anything.
It's the same as a football fan. Have your expectations and make them known. That is a wonderful manifestation of what you should be doing. That's your job.
But you don't do the work.
You don't game plan.
You don't practice.
You don't do anything.
You can donate money, you can yell and scream into the Twittershpere, and you can choose to buy gear or not buy gear, but you don't do anything.
You're a thermostat. That's all you are.
It's an important role! If you didn't exist, it would be chaos into nothing. But recognize what you do - it's nothing.
Everything Else In The BYU HVAC System Needs To Understand That Thermostats Matter
I don't know how many players or coaches read the Give 'Em Hell, Brigham newsletter, but I have a message for those that do: Without fans, a program dies. Without a thermostat to regulate temperature, central air is a stupid hurricane of cold wind in the house.
You need a thermostat.
You need fans.
A thermostat can be annoying. If you feel like it's a nuisance that the thermostat keeps saying, "Hey furnace! It's cold again! Please work!" Well, then maybe this isn't for you.
You need the thermostat. It has to happen. Without it, you cease to exist.
So, calling fans out who are upset with a very disappointing outcome against UAB is not the answer.
As long as fans are following the rules noted in our Preamble, they are doing their job. Don't get upset about it, use it as motivation if you have to. It can piss you off, but fans are doing what fans are supposed to do.
When things are going well, you deserve all the credit. There is no Heisman for the best fan (maybe there should be?) and there are no Fan All-America teams. Fans aren't getting NIL deals and fans aren't cashing huge paychecks for their performance as the thermostat.
The credit is all yours when things go well, and fans will happily cheer you on from afar.
When things aren't going well and the cheers go away, that doesn't mean that fans are the problem. That means that things aren't going well.
We Need Each Other Like Venom Needs Eddie
Without players, there is nothing to fan for. Without fans, there is nobody who cares what players and coaches do.
It's uncomfortable sometimes, but we each have a role in this college football world. Without both of us working together, we both die. There is no scenario where one of us survives and the other doesn't - we need each other.
So, it's time to recognize that. Neither of us are the problem, but both of us are the solution.
And, as always, don't be a dick.