Two nights ago the Utah Jazz celebrated their fans, as is custom for their last home game of the season. There were pre-game speeches, autographs, and at the end of the game, long after the final buzzer, players were treating the fans to everything from token keepsakes to their own shoes. It is an amazing experience where the Jazz go over and above what is necessary to show some love to the people who cheer them on all season long.
I think tonight, the actual last game of the season, should be Utah Jazz team appreciation night. I know that I have a lot to be thankful for. I just love the Jazz, and came into my love of the Jazz in a very odd way. Some of you know the story so I'm not going to go into the details -- but as an international fan it was hard to follow the team, but I still found it so rewarding. I used to do my homework to an international feed of CNN headline news back in high school with the chance that I could see the score update every 15 and 45 minutes on the hour. Since that time and now I have more access to the team than any time before in my life.
I've been lucky to make contacts with people who work for the Jazz, people who report on the Jazz, and even had two phone calls with the current CEO of the Jazz -- Greg Miller.
More than that, I've gotten in contact with so many Jazz fans from all over the world, something the teenaged me never would have believed possible. It's true, I had never even known another Jazz fan my entire life. Today I get to write for a large audience (and thank you for bearing with me, I don't know how to write. It's obvious.), and have near-instant communication with Jazz fans and it's so cool!
Few things in my life have been as rewarding as my Jazz fandom. And I think I've taken that for granted over the last year where I've had personal ups and downs -- my solace at times was this place. And I loved writing about this team, a team I started writing about decades ago, every day.
In the history of the franchise this season was a downer. But it was never a chore for me, sharing my love of the team with others who felt the same way made this a season to remember.
And as a Jazz fan who has been very critical of the direction of the franchise lately I have to come clean and say that being critical isn't indicative of not being in love anymore. It's probably my method of expressing a desire to return to greatness more than anything else. I've seen the Jazz rise to contender status. My first coach was Frank Layden. I've seen now three coaches in my Jazz life. And no one knows what tomorrow holds for the team.
But for tonight, really, tonight should be all about Utah Jazz team appreciation night.
Few things have made me happier in my life than the Utah Jazz. And one or two or three bad seasons isn't going to change that.