…the more it matters aka A Journey of Jazz Fandom
I touched on this around a month ago–the more access there is, the more involved you get, and the more it matters. Hence how my fandom has evolved to encompass the gamut of physical (menopausal-like) symptoms. A quick recap:
1992: after watching Malone play on the O.G. Dream Team, I became a Jazz fan when the NBA season started. Can’t be a Malone fan without being a Stock fan, which cemented my status as Jazz fan. At that time, the only access (besides two-sentence game recaps in the local paper and Japanese Sportscenter on NHK) was the USA Today Dad brought home from the office every day. C (being a Spurs fan after watching David Robinson on the Dream Team) and I would fight over it for the slightly-more-than-2-sentence recaps the paper offered.
1995: headed off to DC for college at a time when the WWW was coming into being. Soon discovered the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News which offered significantly more “access”/insight than I had ever had. Now armed with a US mailing address, I began subscribing to the official Jazz magazine, which was little more than fluff, and even applied for a Utah Jazz credit card (long expired and never used, but I still have it because…(dum dum dum)….it’s pretty). Caught the occasional Jazz game TNT/TBS deigned to broadcast.
1998: while “studying abroad,” the Jazz went to the Finals. I ended up skipping classes (not that they mattered–and I won’t pretend that they did) and more often than not, ended up standing in front of the TV (how do you stay seated and calm at times like that?), screaming my head off, and at the end of games, kneeling in front of the TV and not daring to breathe as my heart sank into my stomach.
2001/2002: now ensconced at my “real job,” I began following games live on ESPN Gamecast. Thank goodness I didn’t have that much work to divert my attention or disrupt my concentration.
2003: Stock announced his retirement. It struck me hard. Like, HARD. He had been there, helming the Jazz offense, since I started following the Jazz over a decade ago. No one in my real life could understand how I felt, and I turned to the Internet. This is when I discovered the jazzfanz.com forum, where I found the only people in the world that could relate to my denial and sorrow and heartache and disbelief and pain.
2004-2006: These were the Jazz “rebuilding” years, when, in all actuality, the Jazz didn’t suck THAT bad for THAT long. But I’ve never been able to take/stomach Jazz losses well, so I stopped checking box scores and discontinued my daily visits to sltrib.com and desnews.com
2007 (spring): The Jazz were back in the playoffs and my (yes, yes–one-sided) love affair with DWill began. Their upset over GS was the story of the year (in my mind) and I reclaimed my throne as the most enthusiastic (rabid) Jazz fan outside of Utah.
2007 (fall): With an all-time high enthusiasm, I rang in the start of the NBA season. Over the next few days, I discovered that ESPN Gamecast and Yahoo GameChannel were no longer enough. I discovered thefansports, where I could listen to all games online as well as pre- and post-game analysis, and podcasts with Jazz players/coaches. I discovered several new Jazz blogs, which I love, but wish were updated more often (i.e. several times a day. C’mon, are daily updates too much to ask for???). I discovered several sites where I could watch streaming games (which only work sometimes, boo hoo). Thankfully, I had (have) a job where I only work afternoons.
With 7 games remaining in the regular season, I have only missed (listening to) 2.5 games all season. 2 because I was playing in MJ tournaments, and .5 because I went out for lunch. And yes, that includes all Sunday afternoon games that take place at my 3 a.m. I can tell you exactly which games I missed. (Kobes, Pacers, Kobes). (on those 3 days, I made sure to have C texting me updates) Before Daylight Savings began in March, Jazz home games started at my 10 a.m. which conflicted with my work time so I began timing my departure from home mid-way through the 3rd quarter so I could get to work by mid-way through the 4th quarter and therefore catch at least the (audio of the) last 6 minutes of the game. I HAVE to follow all games. It drives me KER-RAZY when there’s a game going on and I don’t know what’s happening.
So to sum it up, I love this Jazz. And throughout this journey, Jerry Sloan has been on the bench. I am by no means a JSlo homer (JSlo fan though? definitely), but I am thankful for the constancy.
(You might be wondering what put me in such a restrospective mood. I’m not in such a mood, actually. I just had some time to burn between 7 a.m. (DWill is interviewed by thefansports (Jazz radio) every Wednesday at my 7 a.m.–and yes, the interview is the reason why I got up at 6:50 a.m.) and game time (9 a.m.))