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Jazz mailbag: Fans share special personal moments from throughout the season

Fans react as the Utah Jazz score on the LA Clippers during Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals in Salt Lake City.
Fans react as the Utah Jazz score on the LA Clippers during game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. When Utah Jazz beat writer Sarah Todd asked Utah Jazz fans for favorite moments from this season, the personal moments stood out. “It was a fresh reminder of how lucky we are to have sports in our life,” she wrote.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Originally when I sent out a mailbag call for Utah Jazz fans to tell me what their favorite moments of the season were, I assumed I would get responses about things that happened on the court, about the Jazz clinching the No. 1 seed, wild plays, career-highs, and I did. But I also got a lot of responses that were more personal.

I love basketball. I truly think it’s the greatest sport in the world and when I saw these responses I related so much to them. It was a fresh reminder of how lucky we are to have sports in our life.

Don’t worry, later in the week I’ll put together some of more the Jazz basketball-centered responses. But this was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Working through a global pandemic has been hard on an unimaginable number of people. I’m not even going to pretend to understand what it has been like for front line workers, teachers, and those who were unable to work remotely. Paula is not the first person to reach out to me and tell me that tuning into a Jazz game was a way to escape anxiety, to calm the nerves, to find a small moment of happiness.

The fact that the NBA season even happened is incredible. After the league suspended play on March 11, 2020, there were definitely times that I wondered whether it was going to be possible and feared that my favorite thing in the world was in danger of being lost. I’m grateful for everything that basketball has given to me and was especially grateful to have it back this year.

Piggy-backing off those last thoughts, the Utah Jazz were incredible this season. Fans rarely tuned in and saw a loss. When things were particularly difficult this year, the Jazz gave fans something to look forward to.

It might sound cheesy, but that’s worth something. The season certainly didn’t end the way that anyone wanted it to, but while it was happening, it really provided a lot of smiles.

I am a firm believer in the healing power of sports. When you’re in the throes of fandom, bonds can be repaired and made stronger. Reading Ashleigh say, “basketball brought my family closer together,” is something that I can relate to makes me so happy.

I know what it’s like to find a common ground with family through basketball. Nothing like it.

I also know what it’s like to move somewhere new and to not know anyone and feel incredibly isolated.

I moved to Utah in December of 2019 and three months later the world shut down. I was physically isolated and emotionally isolated. If not for the people I knew through basketball and specifically the other reporters who cover the Jazz, I’m not sure what I would have done. Whether it’s through through the people that you work with, interacting with other fans, or just through watching the game, it’s hard to be lonely when you have basketball in your life.

I love love! And I love playoff basketball.

The crowd at Vivint Arena for Game 1 of the Jazz’s series against the Clippers will always hold a special place in my heart. Like I said, there were times last year when I thought that we might not ever be able to get back to normal. The idea of a full arena was the farthest thing from my mind.

A full arena during a playoff game is my nirvana. Somehow, with the energy, excitement, the noise and the buzz of tension in the air, it’s the most peaceful and joyful place I can think of.

Benjamin, you nearly brought me to tears.

Is there anything better than falling in love with basketball? For me, there isn’t. I remember every minute detail from those days when I first discovered that basketball was something special for me. Ok, never mind, you definitely brought me to tears.

Those memories are truly something that you’ll share forever.

If you would like to have your question answered, you can send it to me at stodd@deseretnews.com with “mailbag” in the subject line, or you can send it to me via Twitter @NBASarah with the hashtag #UtahJazzMailbag.