Mae Watson Reid might be a good candidate for matriarch of the Utah Jazz.
That's because this 90-year-old grandmother not only tunes in whenever the Jazz are on radio or television, but she has been doing so since the franchise moved to Salt Lake City in 1979.Why she began following the Jazz is an unusual story. Her late husband Robert, a basketball enthusiast, can take the credit for getting her hooked. When he lost his hearing in the 1970s, "he wanted me to listen to the scores and write them down for him," she recalled.
During the last year of his life (1987), he also went blind. Trying to communicate through writing and talking obviously didn't work, said the long-time Magna resident. "He was so frustrated, he threw the notes on the floor."
In the meantime, the years of following professional basketball began to have an effect on her. With all the diversity in her life, maybe it's appropriate she has become an avid student of the game.
The Reids were married in the Logan Temple in 1917 and moved to Garfield (now disbanded), where eight of their nine children were born. It wasn't until 1945, however, when they moved to Magna and became heavily involved in Cyprus High School activities, that basketball became part of their lives.
So involved did Mrs. Reid become at one Cyprus Pirates' game that she passed out.
The Pirates had just beaten host Tooele in a tight game. "Mom got up, and down she went," Blanche remembered. "My brother, Larry (an all-state player), bolted right up there. `What's the matter? What's the matter?' he asked." The embarrassed mother attributed her collapse to being "overly excited."
In the 1955 season at a 3-A state tournament game in Provo, Larry's assist for the last basket provided the Pirates' winning margin over Murray. Mrs. Reid's interest in her son's and Cyprus' basketball competitiveness has carried over into how she now feels about the Jazz.
Even with her large family, she still seems to maintain a good attitude about having fun and working.
For someone who has watched Utah's professional basketball team rise out of obscurity, she seems entitled to see her Jazz continue winning in the playoffs. She offers these opinions about the players, coach Frank Layden and broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley:
-Mark Eaton: "He has such big feet, he can't get around. Every team knows what he's going to do - block shots - so they foul him."
-John Stockton: "He's great, great, is aggressive and has good eyes. He doesn't look like he's more than 15."
-Karl Malone: "He's a good hustler - up and down the floor in nothing flat."
-Scott Roth: "He's a good three-point shooter."
-Thurl Bailey: "He's had a struggle, because it's been uphill all the way for a while."
-Rickey Green: "He's not playing as much but does well when he plays."
-Frank Layden: "The big guy ought to sit down more. He should be a little more reserved."
-Hot Rod Hundley: "He's so funny! I like it when he says, `The Jazz are all knotted up. They needed that point, but didn't get it.' He's got the statistics down so well; he's like an adding machine."
Though Mrs. Reid has never attended a Jazz game, she is still hoping. Until then, she will do the next best thing: tune in either the television or radio.