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I just finished up my first year teaching junior high school, and my love for the Utah Jazz has crossed over to the classroom. I found that talking about the Jazz was a great way to connect with students. It’s fun to have kids come to class after a big game and ask what I thought about a certain play. Every once in awhile, I had a student ask about why I love the Jazz so much. It’s kind of a difficult question to answer, but I can tell you how it all started.
We were in my grandparent’s living room, and a Jazz game was on TV. I was the only kid among a bunch of grown-ups. My mom was sitting on the couch, and my grandpa was next to her. My grandma was serving bowls of what was probably mint chocolate chip ice cream. And my dad was pacing back and forth. That’s what I remember most. My dad wringing his hands and pacing. I was young. I can’t imagine I was all that aware of the game. But I knew it was different—somehow important—because my dad didn’t sit down the entire time.
There are a few other memories like this, where the grown-ups watched a Jazz game in a way that was unlike the way they way watched other things on TV. All the grown-ups were interested in the Jazz game. No one was multitasking. No one was trying to change the channel. There were more snacks, more superstitions, and a whole lot more yelling involved. It was exciting.
If we’re being honest, I don’t remember a time before I was a fan of the Utah Jazz. I was born in 1995—I’m still a baby, I know—and some of my earliest memories revolve around the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals. Most of my favorite memories are tied to the Utah Jazz in one way or another.
Growing up, my dad and I would watch Jazz games together. I would ask questions—questions about rules, regulations, players, coaches, everything—and he would provide some sort answer. Sometimes, his answers were straightforward. Or in the form of links to videos or articles from across the internet. Often, his answers were anecdotal. He’s full of random, comical stories about people in the NBA. I honestly don’t know where he finds this stuff, but it’s my favorite part about watching basketball with him.
My younger brother and my husband now watch Jazz games with us, and it’s my favorite part of the week. It was great to watch our boys in the playoffs this year. Once again, I found myself in a room full of emotional grown-ups gathered around a basketball game. My dad doesn’t let things get to him the way he once did now that he’s older—I’m the one who paces nervously. But he understands why I didn’t feel like eating after Rudy Gobert went down 17 seconds into Game 1 against the Clippers. He still gets excited though. You should have seen him when Joe Johnson made his game winning shot. I can’t wait to see what our future holds. Things have changed since I was little, but man, it’s good to be a Jazz fan.
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