Friday, February 5, 2010
J is for Jazz
Being a fan is something that I take very seriously. Regarding the NBA, I’ve always been a Utah Jazz fan. However, I grew up idolizing Michael Jordan. I was always torn when the Jazz played the Bulls, but I eventually cheered for the Bulls because, well, I idolized Michael Jordan. Put it this way, if Moses came down from Mount Sinai and saw me watching a Bulls game, he would have been outraged. I did go a little overboard with my golden statue of MJ. And the whole dancing around the statue while throwing rose peddles thing was just weird.
But I digress. Since Jordan retired and as time has allowed me to gain a little perspective, I have always secretly felt remorse for not supporting the Jazz when they were at the doorstep of the championship. I will always be an MJ fan (and I will adamantly oppose anyone who questions that he is the greatest ever), but the simple fact that he is kind of a jerk has forever changed how I view him. My point? I can never claim to be a die-hard Jazz fan. I would love to go back to 1997 (and ’98) and cheer against MJ when he played Utah, but I can’t. Therefore, I can never claim to be truly die-hard. I sincerely wish I could, but sports repentance is never as complete as real repentance. I am in many ways the prodigal son when it comes to the Jazz, but unfortunately there is no higher power in basketball that can cleanse me of my sports sins (God doesn’t care about “sports sins”). I cheered against the Jazz in the Finals, and that is simply unforgivable.
Having said all this, I do still care a little too much about Jazz basketball. I read up on them every day. I analyze their roster, their schedule, their schemes, their jerseys (I love the green throwbacks), and everything else associated with the team. I yell at my television set as well as anyone, I count how many white guys we have on the court and laugh, and when special things happen (ie Gaines’ last second shot to beat the Cavs), I jump and scream, and frolic about like some bad reenactment of a high school Peter Pan play. I’m essentially a die-hard, but an illegitimate version.
Some day the Jazz will win it all. And I will be euphoric about it. I will likely cry, and hug perfect strangers (two things I frequently do anyway, but whatever). I will talk about it for years to come, and even tell my grandkids about it. But as happy as I’ll be, I will be most happy that people who were with the Jazz through thick and thin will be rewarded for their loyalty. Not so much for me, but for them. Only if I had been there for the worst of the worst could I truly appreciate the best of the best. Sad, but true.
See, I always view sports from the perspective of the fan. And as happy as the athletes are, and as much as they care and deserve success, they are still working for a paycheck (and a ridiculously big one at that). And more times than not, their allegiances will change multiple times during their short careers. Fans don’t have that luxury (at least true fans don’t). We’re oftentimes stuck with who we first fall in love with as a child. Most die-hard fans can’t help that they love team so-and-so. It just becomes a part of who they are.
The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday. I am neither a Colts fan nor a Saints fan. But the simple fact that I look at things from the perspective of the fan has dictated that I will most certainly be cheering for the Saints. I have to. Set aside that I really respect Peyton Manning and want to see my fellow alumnus Austin Collie do well, the people of New Orleans deserve this infinitely more than the people of Indiana. It’s as simple as that. My biggest hope is that some young boy in Louisiana who loves the Saints but also happens to worship Peyton Manning (gold statue and all) will make the right decision. I really hope he cheers for the Saints.
Today’s recommendation: Here are two trade proposals I created on ESPN’s “Trade Machine.” I really think the Jazz need to dump Boozer while his stock is high, and here are a couple great options (at least they are in my head). http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=yzrwlqc and http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=yh7z4su. If you have better trade ideas, I’d love to see them (and no, I am not being sarcastic right now). Send them my way.