It began, as so many things seemed to during my high school years, in the car, windows rolled down, rocking Van Halen over the stereo as loud as possible. And it wasn't just any Van Halen ... no, it was Van Halen gone soft: Could This Be Magic?
My dad had somehow gotten me four tickets — about the tenth row of the lower bowl, if I remember right — and decided to just give them to me, to take a bunch of friends. And so four fifths of my legendary church ball team, all about 16 years old then, headed down to the Delta Center, jamming and singing out "Better Save the Women and Children first!"
The game was, of course, against the Spurs. These were the Rodman days, and one of my friends had decided he hated the Jazz but it would be worth it to see Rodman in all his multi-colored hair glory. Looking back, it was probably dumb to invite him. Maybe I should have actually followed my teenage impulses and gotten, you know, a date or something.
But I was a kind of dorky dude, and the idea of actually asking a girl out was just terrifying, so I took my friends (including Rodman-lover).
And what a night to bring him. The Jazz won in double overtime. So it was close, tense, and thrilling. Emotions were high, and of course my Rodman-loving buddy decided to be a prick and pick fights with everyone surrounding us. I'm pretty sure he watched to find who was drinking a little much and then targeted them.
Yelling ensued. Profanity filled the air. Rows were jumped at sundry times in the fourth quarter and overtimes, and calls to fight in the parking lot were brazenly called out. Security got involved. And my buddy came up with the infamous fighting words:
"If you hit me, I'll sue you for so much money you won't be able to buy UNDERWEAR!!!!!!!"
As for the game, Rodman was a prick. The Admiral was great. But Stock and Malone kicked butt (31-11-6 for Malone, 31-3-14 for Stockton). And the Jazz sent the home crowd away with yet another win.
Those were the good years, of course. The Jazz always won at home. It was something you could count on.
And during the game, while my buddy was picking fights with men, women, kids, and grandpas, I wanted to just tell him to shut the hell up. But I never spoke up back then. I'd like to hear if Anne R. Key felt the same.
What an idiot.
But hey ... we were a bunch of 16-year-olds out at the game with no parents. We were probably all idiots.
That's likely what everyone on 3rd West thought as we cruised back along 3rd West, windows down, Van Halen's Could this be Magic on repeat and blasting as loud as possible.
Out for a night at the game.
We played music too loud. We stomped around the Delta Center like we owned the place. We cheered. We jeered. We got into a fight.