“A house divided against itself cannot stand…” – Abraham Lincoln
Those words were spoken at a time when our country was in upheaval. When brother was against brother. A time of unrest and eventual civil war.
That quote is timeless in nature and still rings true today.
Jazz Nation is in an upheaval… okay, maybe not civil war worthy, but unrest and frustration nonetheless. Brother against brother — fan against fan. The friction is building like an afternoon thunderstorm, and could escalate into a full on tornado effect, destroying lives and alienating people into their own proverbial storm cellars.
Why the friction? Why the tension? Why the unrest? It’s Jazz season, a time when people of different walks of life come together for one purpose — unite behind their hometown heroes, enjoy camaraderie and share in a common goal – Utah Jazz Basketball.
For the better part of three decades the Utah Jazz have been a way of life in Salt Lake City. Sure you have college football, but lets face it, Salt Lake City is a basketball town. It flourishes like a “desert rose” in the parched land. It has defied all odds and survived the “small market” tag in a major market dominated NBA landscape.
Why has it survived? Well, aside from the obvious answers — The Millers — and the loyalty and hard work of hall of fame players and coaches, one big reason is THE FAN. The fans dedication, support, love, and devotion of the Utah Jazz has helped to maintain basketball at a competitive level in Salt Lake City.
And, now, Jazz fan seems to do more squabbling with Jazz fan than they do cheering on their team. And the squabbling is mostly centered around the collective opinions that things are OR are not being done right with regards to the Utah Jazz. Yes, there is a divide right down the middle. The fans on the left are in favor of the “Core four”, playing time for the youngsters and whether or not the coaching staff is succeeding per their expectations. Then there is the fans on the right, those who stand behind the coaching staff, love the veterans and want to see the youngsters succeed all at the same time. And the heated discussion carries on, on a myriad of other offshoots of those two base arguments.
What happened to “We Are Utah Jazz?” The upheaval is reaching epic proportions and can not end well.
Courtesy of Alan “Jedi” Zaugg
There was a time when Jazz fan cried out to be heard. And I’m not talking about 20,000 fans united in bedlam in Energy Solutions Arena (or Delta Center, for you old schoolers). No, I’m talking about just average joe, who sits and watches all the games faithfully at home, who simply wants his voice to be heard by the Utah Jazz, the front office and the rest of the organization.
Well guess what, YOU ARE HEARD. With the explosion of social media, the fan is heard now more than ever. You, the fan, have a voice that is heard loud and clear. Which is good, and bad. The good, the voice of the fan can provide feedback regarding social media interaction and in-the-game-fun. And, with social media, the fan can provide feedback to individual players, owners, and media members as if they were talking face to face.
The bad… well, for all the same reasons that are good, they can be bad as well.
I know, I know. “The point, Jedi, get to the point…”
I want to re-share a conversation I recently had with a friend of mine, who I think every Jazz fan is familiar with. He is one of the most passionate fans I know. He loves the game of basketball, just like every other fan around the world does. I know this, first hand. There have been countless conversations over the years. He lights up every time Jazz basketball is mentioned. He could talk for hours about the game that was. Or how wonderful the players are. Or how much he hopes the team gets that BIG win, how much they need that win.
In my recent sit down with Randy Rigby, he said something I think needs to be re enforced.
I think what I’d like to tell them [the fan] about the Jazz… We have a dedicated group of players that are really working extremely hard. I mean they eat, drink and breathe basketball during this time period. I mean, their free time is so limited, and we hold them accountable to really give us their all. They are working hard, our coaching staff is working hard, our basketball operations is working hard, our players are working hard. We are hoping that we have our fans support. And for them to have it, it’s people coming out and being there and supporting us. Maybe you can’t come for 44 or 41 regular season games — 44 with the 3 preseason. But find some time, hopefully, fans, and cheer on this team. Be there with them and truly help us be a part of Jazz basketball. And that’s what I’d say to our fans. Come out and keep giving us their support. Give us the feedback. We love the social feedback from our social media. We love people. We want people watching Jazz basketball. We want them to come out and enjoy Jazz basketball. And being a part of this team. Our fans are a key part of our team. We need them to be a part of this team and here with us just like we expect our players to be here mentally and physically when they’re called to be on the floor. We also need our fans to be here to help us as well.
Fans must unite. Fans owe it to the Jazz. They owe it to themselves. They owe it to each other.
For it is the fans that have helped to keep the Jazz afloat in an ever changing NBA landscape, and it will be the fans who can keep it that way.
WE ARE UTAH JAZZ!!!