It's do or die for the Jazz tonight and the media is in a lather about the poor sportsmanship of Jazz fans at Monday night's game. Even Coach Sloan has gone on the record saying he was disappointed in the atmosphere at the ES Arena.
Typically, the ES Arena is considered one of the toughest home courts, especially during post-season play. Our fans are loud and intimidating, involved in every possession; they have the unique ability to actually influence the game.
Unfortunately, the play-offs can bring out the worst in people. The intense excitement heightens emotions and anxiety. Monday night I witnessed two grown women nearly come to blows over possession of a mini-ball that was thrown into the crowd. At an earlier game, Cole kept complaining to his dad about the foul language he was hearing from the lady in the adjacent seat.
I, for one, am just happy to be there. I love watching Boozer smile on the court. I love the way AK protests every call against him. I marvel at D. Will playing through the stomach flu and a sprained ankle. I love watching Fisher, already a three time champion, calmly sink three's as he guides this young team to victory.
But this is nothing new. I grew up going to games at the Salt Palace and cheering on the likes of Ricky Green, Adrian Dantley, Thurl Bailey and Mark Eaton. I fondly remember the glory days of Stockton, Malone and Hornacek.
Admittedly, being in the play-offs is a wonderful and exciting experience. It brings the community together, my kids get to stay up way past their bed time to cheer on the home team; even those who can't get their hands on tickets journey downtown with lawn chairs to watch the game on a big screen outside of the Arena. Everyone is in a celebratory mood and talk runs long and deep of strategy, big plays and game winning shots.
I love the Jazz. I had a great time Monday night cheering on those boys. I shared a Diet Coke with my best friend, giggled at the 85 year old lady doing splits on the court, checked out Eva Longoria and her entourage, and of course yelled and screamed and soaked in all of the craziness that is the Play-offs. Yes, there were some questionable calls; yes there were some rowdy fans; and yes that Tim Duncan is as good and as frustrating as they get. But I'm happy I went, I'm grateful for the experience, and delighted we have had so much post-season success. So win or lose tonight, I'm still True Blue.