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gunn family blog » Jazz Win! Jazz Win!

Jazz Win! Jazz Win!

Anyone who knows anything about me knows I am a huge Utah Jazz fan. I’ll never forget sitting in the Davis High gym in one of my first years Jr. Jazz and having a young rookie point guard walk in by the name of John Stockton to do a clinic. He was quiet and not the most dynamic of personalities. In some ways I don’t know if I was even convinced he was really a Utah Jazz player – he seemed too ordinary. I don’t remember much but I remember he took the time to sign autographs for everyone. On the way home dad tried to help us pronounce his name. Little did we know at that time that he would end up being one of the NBAs greatest point guards.

I grew up with Stockton and Malone. They were as much a staple of my youth as zits and puberty. I remained a Jazz fan despite moving to Seattle and living among a bunch of crazy Sonics fans. Nothing was tougher than watching the Jazz loose to the Sonics in the 96 Western Conference Finals. I was so looking forward to the Jazz turning the corner and becoming the Finals team I had hoped for for so many years. It was almost a cruel twist of fate that my dream would come true during my two year LDS mission to the Netherlands. I remember biking around Belgium looking for a USA today to keep tabs on the series and studing box scores hoping somehow the euphoria and excitement of those games could somehow find me on the other side of the world. In some ways perhaps I think it might have been better that I was not around to live and die with every missed freethrow or Jordan steal. for the most part I was focused on the work and the Finals came and went without much fanfare.

To this day, when people ask me why I am still a Jazz fan, I have always said it is because they still owe me something – They owe me that NBA Finals experience I did not have the chance to enjoy during the Stockton and Malone years. It was with some hesitation that I again found myself drowning in fan obsession this past week as my Utah Jazz overcame a dissapointing end of the season and two early losses to the Houston Rockets to win a playoff series for the first time since 2000. While I was hesitant to overextend my exuberance, after they took game four in dominant fashion I realized there was nothing I could do to not become emotionally committed to this team. The game ended late Saturday night and I waited up till tickets went on sale and bought four tickets for game six. I was hoping that the Jazz would win in Houston and game six would be their chance to eliminate the Rockets at home. As it turned out they lost in Houston on Monday and game six was a win or go home game for the Jazz. I’ll admit I was distracted all week anxiously awaiting the game on Thursday. I picked up Ben and Erik and we met Dad at the arena.

I have been to a couple playoff games. The two I remember most were in 2000 when I watched Karl Malone drop 50 points on the Sonics in round one. My dad’s friend Gary Fulton gave us great seats in the lower bowl and it is to this day one of my favorite experiences I have shared with my dad. Again in 2001, I remember feeling torn as we left church early to attend a rare sunday game in the Delta Center with Ben. We were not sure we should go since it was Sunday but justified our actions by saying we were going to watch it anyway so why not be there. Perhaps it was our punishment to have our hearts ripped out by Vlade Divac and the upstart Sacramento Kings as they eliminated the Jazz in Game four of the first round.

There is something completely different about attending a playoff game; the fans are more intense, the arena is louder and the emotionally swings are greater. Wednesday’s game did not dissapoint. It was the loudest game I have ever experienced. We hung on every Memo Okur three-pointer. Houston made some runs but every time they got close the Jazz would counter with the great play. The final score was 94 – 82. I think the Jazz left it all on the court and I left my voice somewhere in the upper bowl.

It was great to be there and experience such an emotional game and now I had another game to look forward to on Saturday. I tried to be realistic with my expectations for Saturday as conventional wisdom and history both gave the Jazz little hope to win game seven in Houston. We gathered to watch the game at my parents and I hung on every play. The Jazz got off to a great start which gave us some hope but I knew that the rockets would make a couple runs so I tried not to get too overconfident. I remember watching game 5 of the Sonics – Nuggets series with a friend of mine Ryan Fisher in 1994 when Dikembe Mutumbo single handedly upset the #1 seeded Sonics in game five. I remember how discourages Ryan was and I remember how he punched a hole in the wall. While I was enjoying the emotional ride I did not want to get to that level if the Jazz lost. They played well through three quarters and then the Rocket run came early in the fourth quarter. It looked – and felt – pretty bleak with about three minutes left when Memo okur and Kirelenko hit huge threes to put the Jazz ahead. Their lead held up and much to my surprise and complete joy, the jazz had won the series.

I’ve made the mistake – I am now emotionally envolved. Like any juevenile love affair I am pretty sure this is going to end badly. But what can I do. I am a fan.

2 Responses to “Jazz Win! Jazz Win!”

  1. Huh?

  2. Two words for ya Adam: SUPER NERD. :)