Jason Barlow BS'05 has been a U fan since childhood and is passing along his enthusiasm for the University of Utah to his children. A founding member of The MUSS, he treasures the camaraderie and tight-knit family of sports fans that have become his lifelong friends.
The University of Utah has had a significant impact on each stage of my life, as a
sports fan, as a student, and as an alum. My earliest sports memory was attending
a 1985 Runnin' Utes game with my dad where Manny Hendrix beat Wyoming by hitting a
shot from the corner at the buzzer. I'm not sure I've ever seen my dad more excited—he
jumped out of his seat and threw his cup of popcorn high in the air. Other highlights
of my youth included watching Chris Yergensen's 1993 kick sail through the uprights
at Cougar Stadium with my dad and older brother; Kevin Dyson's miracle catch to beat
Arizona in the 1994 Freedom Bowl (also with my dad and brother); and clandestinely
listening to the radio on my LDS mission in Miami, Florida, as the Runnin' Utes beat
Arizona and North Carolina on their way to the Final Four in 1998.
When it came time to choose where to attend college, the choice was clear—both of my parents and four of my five older siblings are U alumni. My freshman year I had the great privilege of having Ted Wilson as a professor. He encouraged me to apply for a White House internship through the Hinckley Institute of Politics the following fall. That internship was one of the true highlights of my life, as I was able to intern in Vice President Al Gore's West Wing office during the 2000 presidential election. I spent that election night first at the Mayflower Hotel, then on a couch in the West Wing (the Metro had closed and I couldn't afford a cab back to my apartment in Arlington), watching the results come in. I was able to experience that election and post-election legal battle firsthand. This experience set my course for the rest of my studies at the U and my initial career pursuits after college.
Another highlight of my years at the U was working with the legendary John Fackler
of the Alumni Association, Kim Raap of the Athletics Department, and my now longtime
friends Jamie Thorup, Scott Hammer, Dan Olson, and countless other fellow students
to establish The MUSS. For all of us, this was a labor of love. We all worked tirelessly
to sell administration and students on the vision we had to build a great student
sports experience, and I feel great pride in seeing students continue to enjoy being
part of The MUSS.
Now as an alumnus and father of three living in Chicago, the University of Utah is still making a positive impact on my life. A handful of my closest friends from my days at the U and I get together annually for a Utah football road game weekend. We've been doing this for close to a decade, and we've enjoyed watching the Utes in the Big House, the Coliseum and the Rose Bowl, to name a few. This season we will be venturing to Tucson—it could be a hot one. These trips are one of the highlights of my year. How can you beat a weekend spent with college football and lifelong friends? And it is at the U where I made and strengthen these lifelong friendships.
At home, my three children are also fans of the U. Each Saturday morning in the fall,
we hang our U flag in front of our house together. Last year I returned to Salt Lake
with my oldest son, William (then 6), to attend his first Utah football game—an early
season battle against rival BYU. It was magical to be at the game with him as well
as my brother and sister, and to see his enthusiasm for the Utes and his thrill in
the last-minute victory.
The University of Utah has left an indelible mark on my life for the better, and I look forward to continuing to be a part of the U family going forward.