This is a short little poll that really helps me more than anyone else. But I wanted to know when did you all start to fall in love with the Utah Jazz? I distinctly remember that I was already in love with the NBA (and had made the choice that the NBA was my #1 sports diversion) for a few seasons before I picked the Jazz. Other people, no doubt, have only loved the Jazz all of their lives.
Some get into the sport when they are young. Others get into it in high school, but have to take time off during college / early work years / religious missions. I've met a few later in life sports fans too. It's all very interesting to me. And I think that it is important to know when you really caught Jazz fever.
What the team does in their first five seasons of your intense fandom helps develop a baseline for performance and expectation. This is the frame of reference every season after that / period of Jazz history will be judge against. For example, my first first coach was Frank Layden. That says something. For others their first coach was Tom Nissalke. Obviously those who had endured Nissalke (a great coach in the ABA, and beyond) would have had different developmental experiences than I did, with Frank at the helm (for example, he was Coach of the Year and Exec of the Year in the same season while being larger than life itself). The vast majority of Jazz fans who visit this site, I gather, had Jerry Sloan as their first coach -- and grew up watching John Stockton and Karl Malone every day.
Sadly, some people who are 100% Jazz fans have seen only the last decade of the franchise history under the microscope. Just as the Jazz of someone who followed the team from the New Orleans days isn't the same Jazz team of the Nissalke era, the Nissalke era Jazz aren't the Layden era team. And so forth.
When I look at the most intense period of my Jazzphilia I figured out that "my version" of "my Jazz team" was vastly different than one of a 20 year old (or younger) kid's idea of the very same Jazz. I got to see Mark Eaton dominate the best team of All-Time (the Showtime Lakers). Some Jazz fans reading this website today weren't hardcore Jazz fans until after Jeff Hornacek retired.
As a result, I figured out WHY it was so easy to make excuses for 8th (or worse) seed teams that had 40 something wins. For some Jazz fans that is normal. While I came into it when the Jazz went from Playoff team to NBA Finals team. What was normal for me was 50-60 wins a season, and as a result, my expectations for what was both a) normal, or b) even acceptable were vastly different than a fan who fell in love with the team in Deron Williams' rookie year.
I wish all Jazz fans could have been there for the good old days. But I take heart in that new good old days are on the horizon. Some of my good Jazz friends know this already, but I really feel like next year's team is going to jump-start a new era of "For Life" Utah Jazz fans -- just like the 1983-84 team did decades ago.
For me, I fell in love with the Jazz four coaches ago. And I'm lucky to have seen so much. My frame of reference comes from that "spoiled" era where the Jazz could have two All-Stars and still complain about snubs. I love this franchise. And this year is the beginning of an amazing new era for the fans, but also for the team.
So when did YOU fall in love with the Utah Jazz? (You can name era, season, or your age . . . )