Every school has its own traditions and icons unique to the school, many of which revolve around sporting events. One U icon that has been around for almost two decades is a person Salt Lake City natives like to call the “Crazy Lady.”
The Crazy Lady can be seen from all over Rice-Eccles Stadium. At the end of the third quarter at every home game, you can hear the voices of the MUSS start chanting, “Crazy Lady! Crazy Lady!” Minutes later, the Utah Marching Band plays a tailored song made to complement a dance that she will do for entertainment purposes, as the entire stadium tries to imitate.
As well-known as she is for Utah football, does anyone really know who the Crazy Lady is?
Her name is Terri Jackson, and she is an alumna of the U. She graduated in 1976 with a master’s degree in audiology during a time she references as “the dark ages.” She was the first of her family to get a degree.
Getting the degree meant a great deal to Jackson, especially since she was putting herself through school. This usually meant more time in the study hall than in the stands. It wasn’t until after she married her husband, Scott, in the early 1980s that she began to attend football games regularly. To this day, she continues to cheer on her team.
“We have been season ticket holders for Utah football ever since,” Jackson said. “I am just so young at heart that I forget how frickin’ old I am. But I love my age, I love where I am, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
During the late ’80s and early ’90s, the Utes began a tradition with another fan they named “Bubbles,” who danced to Otis Redding’s “I Can’t Turn You Loose” between the third and fourth quarters. There is no relation between Jackson and Bubbles, and the two have never met, but Jackson was one of many cheering her on.
In the mid ’90s, Bubbles decided it was time for her to retire from doing her dance. Wanting the tradition to continue, the band director at the time invited fans to dance while they played “The Blue Brothers” theme song. Of course, Jackson became a regular and was dubbed the “Crazy Lady,” continuing the tradition of the dancing woman at football games.
Despite being more known during this day and age, Jackson wants to ensure that the credit belongs to Bubbles as the one who started the tradition. However, the fact of the matter is that Jackson has become part of a tradition at her beloved alma mater that still stuns her to this day.
“I get teary-eyed,” Jackson said. “I am a die-hard Ute fan. I am, my husband is, therefore my kids are, and now my grandkids are. That is something I absolutely adore, and I get the bonus of being the Crazy Lady. I love the adoration, and I love dancing and seeing the MUSS dancing.”
Becoming a part of a tradition has given her a solid grasp on continuing tradition. With talks of altering tradition lately with the Utah Man fight song, Jackson has no fear of sharing where she stands when it comes to amending something that has been around even before she was in school.
“I think tradition evolves, but I don’t think you can force it,” Jackson said. “I don’t think you can say, ‘We are changing it. Therefore, it is not a tradition [anymore].’ I love ‘I am a Utah man, sir, and I live across the green.’ When [the song was created], the people had no intent to offend anyone … I think people put things in a magnifying glass way too much. Tradition is an entity in and of itself. I don’t understand why people need to dissect it so much.”
While a prominent figure on game days, Jackson likes to consider herself much more than just the Crazy Lady. She prides herself most for being a grandmother. With five grandchildren, Jackson is in constant contact with her family. To help combine her roles of Crazy Lady and grandmother, Jackson decided to make sure she would include attending events as part of that family togetherness.
“The family that plays together stays together,” Jackson said. “Which includes us being together all of the time. Which includes Utah as far as football, basketball, gymnastics and all of the other sports that we go to.”
Regardless of what changes may be made in the near or distant future, it can be safely said that for now that the Crazy Lady will still be seen at football games. Jackson will always attend games. From the first time she watched Utah beat BYU to the 2005 Sugar Bowl victory to present day and beyond, people can expect to see the Crazy Lady putting smiles on Utah fans’ faces all over Rice-Eccles Stadium.