Best place for the Jazz beat writer to spend a rare Saturday night off? At a Jazz game, of course
SALT LAKE CITY —
After front-loading the Utah Jazz's season calendar — something my wife and the team's travel agent can verify — the NBA schedule-maker did something strange this past week.
He actually gave the Jazz — and those whose jobs revolve around their every move — a reprieve from the grind. After playing a boatload of back-to-backs and every-other-night games from October through mid-January, Coach Corbin & Co. only had one game scheduled from Jan. 15-22.
My boss was kind enough to let me burn a week of vacation time during the rare break. With Daddy at home and a rare in-season Saturday off, there were many possibilities for where my family could spend the night together.
At the movies? Ice skating? Watching their favorite writer sleep on the family room couch?
They wanted to go to a Jazz game.
So instead of just taking a laptop, notebook, pen and recorder with me to press row, I hauled my wife, our four rambunctious kids (ages 8 and under), one loaded diaper bag and a clunky car seat to Section 9, Row 18, Seats 1-5.
In Jazz fan tradition, we arrived late, of course.
We also created quite the scene when we made it to our seats in the second quarter — first by evicting two fans in our spot (oops!), then by trying to find enough empty space in the row for the carrier holding our 10-week-old son (yikes!) and finally by spilling my Diet Coke onto the row in front of us (sorry!).
Things settled down for a moment after the kind usher mopped up my mess and the nice baby-hungry couple in the row behind us offered to let us park our sleeping infant under the vacant seat next to them. Fortunately, they want a girl, so they didn't take off with our little dude.
Shortly after we got situated, I logged onto Twitter and was reminded that my seats were just below one of the press sections.
And, yes, they noticed.
KUTV sports reporter Adam Mikulich tweeted out: "@DJJazzyJody has brought family to game tonight it appears. There are A LOT of them. Is sitting with the REAL people tonight."
The REAL people noticed, too. (Sorry!)
Salt City Hoops blogger Spencer Hall posted a pic of my family and wrote: "A well-deserved day off for @DJJazzyJody, but he's still here with his family. #nodaysoff."
Spencer also jokingly asked which is harder — being on deadline as a reporter or managing the kids at the game?
You can guess which is more expensive.
And this was the first time I'd ever wondered if a 3-year-old and 6-year-old would be called for a double-technical foul for bickering over seat assignments or about food or because of fill-in-the-blank reason.
It was also unusual to have the person sitting next to me at a Jazz game tell me I needed to take him to the bathroom.
I've never held Brad Rock's hand while going up and down the arena's stairs, either.
My right eardrum is still recovering from the non-related 10-year-old girl to my left, who enthusiastically (and helpfully, of course) screamed "MISS!" on every Cavalier free throw, but I won't complain. It was a refreshing experience to be embedded in an energetic crowd that cares so much for their team.
We had a blast as a family, too.
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