When you ask a sports fan when they became a fan of their team, the typical answer is when they were really young, maybe around 3 or 4 years old. Neither of us is any different from your typical fan! Dallin loved the Utah Jazz since he was a little kid. He has memories of many late nights watching the games huddled around the TV with his family. When the Jazz went to the Finals in 1996-98 it was a huge deal! He was just old enough to remember watching John Stockton sink THE legendary shot over Charles Barkley that sent the Jazz to the NBA finals!
Jessie’s Dad always tells the story about how he was watching the 49ers and Joe Montana play on the Sunday that she was born. She had no hope from the beginning… she was destined to be a sports fan. Jessie played Junior Jazz every year that she could when she was growing up. She loved going to the Junior Jazz sponsored game nights at the Delta Center to watch the Jazz play. Her memories of those two wonderful seasons that the Utah Jazz went to the finals are very limited though, which is something she never lets her mom forget. During the 1998 NBA finals, Jessie’s family watched the game like every other self-respecting Utah family did. When it was 8:30 and the game was in the third quarter she was told that it was past her bedtime and that next year when the Jazz went to the finals, she would be old enough to stay up late. Did that ever happen again? NO! Not to this very day! Hopefully that is rectified soon!
When we were going to college at Utah State, we were poor as dirt and date nights could be expensive. As college students we had to get creative! TVs around campus usually had the Jazz game on, so add that with some Aggie Ice Cream, and we would have ourselves a fantastic date! Once in a while, we’d even score some amazing tickets to games in Salt Lake, and we’d take a road trip down to watch. Those were some of the best times!
After we were married and were fully employed college graduates, we spent a lot of our free nights going to Salt Lake to watch the games at the Energy Solutions Arena. We had amazing luck getting free or super great deals on tickets because the Jazz’s winning record at the time wasn’t the greatest. This was the time when you knew who was a die-hard Jazz fan and who was a band-wagon fan. It’s was a special feeling to be able to root for the under-dog. Whether they won or they lost we somehow became connected to the team as long as they showed passion for the game and the fans.
The Utah Jazz organization has done an incredible job of integrating the Jazz into our community and in making fans feel like they are a part of the experience. We’ve had two amazing opportunities come our way with the Utah Jazz. The first happened when we went together to a game way back during the 2013-14 season. We arrived at the game early and climbed up to our nose-bleed seats. After a few minutes we were approached by a man in a suit who asked us if we would like better seats. Of course we said ‘yes!!’ He then escorted us down an elevator to the bottom floor, gave us passes and took us to the SUPER close, squishy black chairs that were reserved for VIP guests. If you’ve ever wondered if those seats really are as soft as they look, THEY ARE. We were able to watch the entire game from those seats! To top it all off, after the game (which the Jazz won), we made our way to the elevators. When the doors to the elevators opened, who should appear but THE Jerry Sloan! It was a one of a kind experience!
The second experience we had with the Jazz tops the first one, which is a pretty crazy thing to think about. Bryan Miller, the son of Gail and Larry Miller, held a contest on his Facebook page that fans could enter to win a trip to watch game with him. The game was the Jazz versus Lebron James and the Miami Heat, complete with front row seats and a dinner at the arena’s club restaurant. Well, we both entered and Jessie just happened to be the random person that was chosen! When the blessed day came for us to go to the game we drove to the arena and were told to park in the player’s and owner’s parking area. We then met up with Bryan Miller, his wife, and a few of his friends. They took us to the club restaurant, which had amazing food and assigned tables for each of the executives and their guests. After eating, we went onto the court to watch the pre-game warmups. We found out that Gail Miller herself had donated her seats to the game so that we were able to go, meaning that we got to sit on Gail Miller’s row! We were seriously “THISSSSS” close to Lebron James! We were so close that we could hear him singing to himself during warm-ups. In fact we were SO close that we could have reached out and depantsed him! It was one HECK of a game that the Jazz ended up winning and crushing Lebron! We can’t thank the Jazz organization and Miller family enough for these two experiences!
Ruuuuddddyyyy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and the rest of the current Utah Jazz squad are amazing, especially when they play like bulldogs. You can see the desire they have to win, the fun that they have with each other, and the passion they have for the fans. If you are a Jazz fan and on Instagram, if you are not following these guys, you are missing out. The chemistry and jokes they play on each other are hilarious! We’re so excited about the upcoming seasons, and to see where our team can go. MAYBE, just MAYBE we’ll get to the Finals again now that Jessie’s old enough to stay up late and watch! 😀