Utah Jazz: Hundreds of fans try out for 'Jazz Rowdies' club
Michael Brandy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Wild and crazy fandemonium broke out at Megaplex 12 at The Gateway on Tuesday night.
This time, though, the ear-piercing, delirious display of enthusiasm inside the movie theater had nothing to do with giddy girls going ga-ga over Edward or a shirtless Jacob in a Twilight movie.
The scene was, rather, a tryout for a new fan club that will be called "Jazz Rowdies."
Judging how the 500 wannabe Jazz game groupies dressed and acted while attempting to earn one of 85 spots, they might need to rename the group.
These fans weren't just rowdies — they were more like "Jazz Rabids."
Auditorium No. 1 looked like Mardi Gras, a few Fanzz stores, a large costume closet and a body-paint factory exploded. And it sounded like John Stockton hit The Shot against the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference Finals again.
Fans came with signs, painted chests and faces, cowbells, horns, whistles, confetti, professional-looking costumes (including a Bear imposter and green, pink and purple gorillas, who even slid down the theater stairs a la the Jazz mascot before their sled was confiscated by security).
Fans waved flags; they wore boas, balloons and beads; many sported jerseys from all eras in every hue of the Jazz's colorful history — black and bronze, white, purple, various shades of blue, and the popular green throwbacks.
They ranged in age from a 5-month-old in a Jazz outfit — matching his Jazz binkie and burping towel — to an 82-year-old grandma Jazz fan with make-shift earplugs.
One fan in a green Deron Williams jersey sported a yellow Bert mask and boxing gloves. One attached a hoop attached to his back, giving fans a chance to take shots. A woman pinned a sign to her Jeff Hornacek jersey that read "Future Jazz fan" and had an arrow pointing at her belly.
They wore purple and green sombreros, crowns and more wigs than you'd find at a retirement home. And they ran around, jumped, yelled, chanted, cheered, sweated and screamed some more — all before tipoff of the Jazz-Clippers game shown on the big screen.
All done in an attempt to show their Jazz devotion and, importantly, to get noticed by the judges picking the first edition of the Jazz Rowdies.
The event was bigger, better and more boisterous than Jazz brass hoped when it invited fans to make their case.
"It's a mixture between a mosh pit and 'Let's Make a Deal!'" Jazz Rowdies organizer Eric Schulz said.
Schulz, who moonlights as the team's vice president of marketing, said the tryout surpassed all expectations. They had to move it to the theater's biggest auditorium.
The 76 winners (with nine alternates) will be seated together in Section 16 — across from the visitors' bench — for eight of the final 12 home games. Here's guessing the other 19,833 fans will not have a hard time finding the Jazz Rowdies — assuming they're not still hoarse — when they debut on Feb. 22 against the Atlanta Hawks.
"We already have loud fans," Schulz said. "These are the craziest. It's going to be unbelievable."
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