I have a confession: I’m not actually much of a sports fan. I don’t follow college sports, I couldn’t tell you who won last year’s World Series, and if it the Internet wasn’t abuzz with the fact that the two teams going to the Superbowl are from cities where marijuana’s legal, I probably wouldn’t know who they were. But when your parents own a professional basketball team, it’s impossible not to be a fan.
Sometimes, and especially after a particularly close loss, I’ll wake up the next morning and my first thought is, “Dang! I can’t believe the Jazz lost last night.”
But win or lose, there are many things I love about Jazz games at the EnergySolutions Arena. Like and comment on this post on Facebook by sharing your favorite thing about the Jazz and I’ll enter your name into a drawing to attend a game as my guest. If we’re not already Facebook friends, you can find me here. The winner will receive two courtside tickets to a game this season, dinner in the Lexus Club and VIP parking. In other words, you’ll experience the game as I do.
I recognize that I’m extraordinarily blessed. It’s my privilege to share this experience with you in writing, and I look forward to sharing it with the winning reader in person.
Here are 14 things I love about Jazz games, in no particular order:
- The Food
The team behind the foodservice at the Arena is incredible, which explains why the food is amazing. I eat in a dining room reserved exclusively for Lexus Courtside Club members that has its own chef, bartenders and wait staff. The food is healthy, delicious and presented beautifully. I don’t eat many meals outside of the Arena that I enjoy as much. There’s even a sundae bar at halftime.
- The Bear
Furry, fearless, daring, and eminently entertaining, the Bear’s a true superhero. I could watch 48 minutes of his antics. I love his dramatic entrance on a Harley and watching him barrel down the entire length of the lower bowl’s stairs on a plastic sled. But most of all, I appreciate the pre-game hug he makes a point to give me.
- Sitting Courtside
I feel a breeze when the players run by. I’m close enough to read their tattoos, hear them call plays and talk to each other, and see their sweat fall when they inbound the ball. Players and referees occasionally respond to my questions or comments. I often think of Jay-Z’s line in Empire State of Mind, “I could trip a referee,” but of course I’m always on good behavior. I want to like to keep my seats.
- The Fans
I love to see so many people at the games having a great time, and my experience is enhanced by knowing that my mom and dad took a huge risk to keep the team in Utah to make this possible. I particularly enjoy seeing and interacting with many of the fans who have been attending as long as I can remember.
- The Staff
There are a number of employees who have been with us for more than twenty years. They feel like family, and I’m always glad to see them. I have known many of them since I was eight years old, which was when my parents bought the team.
- The Promotions
The Jazz promotions team dreams up a ton of fun, creative and entertaining ways to help promote marketing partners during timeouts and quarter breaks. I never tire of watching the Bear-as-bowling ball slingshot across the floor to slam into oversized Coke Zero bottles in an insane version of bowling.
- The Parking
I’m fortunate to park in the back lot where the players park. My spot is twelve steps from the door to the building. It’s especially nice when it snows. Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.
- Ticket Back Offers
A few Jazz marketing partners place promotional offers on the backs of tickets. My favorite is the Scheels offer for a quarter pound of fudge for each ticket stub. I’ll sometimes walk around after games to pick up tickets that have been left on the ground. The fans who leave those obviously don’t know what they’re missing. Their loss is my (weight) gain.
- The National Anthem
A branch of the US armed forces presents a color guard at center court before tipoff. It’s accompanied by an artist performing the Star Spangled Banner. I appreciate the beautiful ceremony and the opportunity it provides to pause and reflect on our blessings and freedoms as Americans.
- The Energy
When you think about it, it really is amazing to be in an arena— a building built for the purpose of competition. Under the bright lights and up close the players seem like giants. There aren’t many opportunities in most of our lives to experience this sort of intensity. And it’s one of life’s great joys to experience the electricity of playoff energy, and especially the Finals. There’s nothing like it.
- The Players
It’s always a privilege to watch those who are the best in the world perform whatever it is they do. NBA players are some of the best athletes in the world. They are so quick and so strong. I also appreciate the opportunity to see them up close and as “real human beings.”
- Player Introduction
I love when the lights go down and the Jazz are introduced. A dynamic, dramatic video showcases each player, and I enjoy it every time I watch it. I also love seeing the players bounce up and down in anticipation of the start of the game. They have the exuberance of children, and I know exactly how they feel.
- Close Games
I love the thrill of close games. I enjoy knowing that the outcome could be decided by a random bounce, a last-minute drive or a lucky tip. In those moments I always wish I was playing instead of merely spectating.
It’s true that “you can’t win ‘em all,” but I just love the confetti and streamers that shoot from the rafters when the Jazz win. I’m particularly glad for the players after each win, and I imagine each victory as a bit of payoff for countless hours spent in the gym or at practice.
I’m also happy for the coaching staff, because I have some idea of the endless hours of video they watch and the stats and games they analyze. I know it matters to the trainers, doctors, chiropractors, equipment people and ballboys. And to all the front office staff, and of course, the fans. And I know that everybody on the team spends a lot of time on airplanes, motorcoaches and in hotel rooms.
I’m very grateful to be in a position close to the Jazz that allows me to experience all of these things on a regular basis. I also appreciate you reading my blog, and I look forward to reading your comments regarding what you love about the Jazz. I will select and notify the winner by Friday, January 31st at 5pm MST.
May every ball bounce your way.