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Utah Jazz mailbag: The funny and embarrassing moments of fandom

Utah Jazz fans cheer for their home team in the renovated Vivint Arena as the 2017-18 NBA season tips off in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
Utah Jazz fans cheer for their home team in the renovated Vivint Arena as the 2017-18 NBA season tips off in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Being a sports fan is not easy.

It takes a large emotional investment to cheer on a team through the rough patches in hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. But for all the handwringing and worry that comes with fandom, there is also joy, camaraderie and often unforgettably hilarious moments.

Who among us hasn’t embarrassed ourselves in front of a professional athlete, a significant other, our friends or families while in the throes of fandom?

Those moments stick with us, and they are fruit ripe with seeds that make us laugh any time we think back on them. With that in mind, I figured since everyone could use a little bit of levity and laughter these days, we could share our funniest fandom moments in this week’s mailbag.

This first story, sent in by Marty, was one of my absolute favorites. What should have been a special moment between father and son getting a nice wave and head nod from Donovan Mitchell turned into an incredibly awkward moment.

While starstruck and trying to mumble out a thank you to Mitchell, Marty grabbed another boy as they were being ushered out of the area and the other boy’s father looked on in bewilderment.

Marty was trying to be cool and casual and instead nearly kidnapped another child (I know it’s not that serious, but it’s funny).

When I traded messages with Marty on Twitter about the incident, he couldn’t help but have a sense of humor about the situation.

“For what it’s worth, the other kid has been a valuable addition to our family,” he said.

Our next set of stories comes from @zvck_c on Twitter, and I think the moral of the story is that nobody is safe at the arena when their family is around.

Not only has svck_c’s wife spilled a huge amount of soda on Utah Jazz executives while at a game, but the couple took their 18-month old daughter to a game in January and she promptly threw her shoe and hit someone in the head in the lower bowl at Vivint Arena.

So keep your head on a swivel Jazz fans, you never know what could happen.

Being starstruck causes people to do some strange things, but the most common side effect is the brain going completely blank.

Michele ran into Derrick Favors and after losing the ability to speak and then finding her voice she said “are you” followed by another bout of speechlessness. Finally she got out the words “Derrick Favors,” but of course as a diehard Jazz fan, she already knew the answer. We’ve all been there Michele, at least we can be happy that we didn’t forget how to use words permanently.

What do you do when, as a youngster, a super-sized human holds a door open for you? Limbo of course.

After doing just that as he walked into a Burger King in the ‘90s, Drew’s parents came running in to see if their son had seen Jeff Hornacek. Nope. Sorry mom, I was too busy showing off my limbo skills.

You ever have an idea that you thought was funny, but the joke just didn’t land?

In Jack’s case the joke didn’t land but his lonely bandana did. After asking Rudy Gobert if he would swat the bandana, Gobert shook his head and let the bandana fall.

Fandom can often lead us to misplace our anger, and that can backfire. Kathy wrote in to tell her story of watching the Jazz play the Celtics. As the night went on and she became increasingly incensed at the Boston “bandwagon fans” at the arena she decided to speak up as she and her husband were leaving the arena.

“Do you have my back,” she asked her husband.

He looked confused but said he did. Then, outside the arena there was a guy celebrating the Celtics victory and Kathy yelled, “You’ve probably never even been to Boston!”

“I was born there,” he replied.

“I thought ‘Oops! I called out the wrong guy,’” Kathy said. “My husband shook his head and said, ‘Kathy, just get to the car.”

We’ll have your back, Kathy, but only if you’re right.

Finally, I thought I’d share one of my own funny and embarrassing memories.

I’m such a huge fan of basketball that I made a career out of watching it (I miss it so much). It was 2012 and I was covering the Golden State Warriors. It was probably the third NBA game I had ever covered and I was constantly nervous.

I was heading up the arena steps to the press box at the top of the lower level of Oracle Arena, soft drink in one hand, laptop bag in the other. One step shy of making it to the top, I missed the step, fell forward, spilled the soda all down the front of my shirt and blazer and seriously hurt my leg.

I looked up to see NBA legend Al Attles to my left, and an entire row of Bay Area columnists and reporter that I had idolized for years on my right. Everyone got up and raced over to see if I was OK and I brushed them off and chuckled acting like it was no big deal and pretended that nothing hurt throughout the game and the rest of the night.

The next day I had to go to the hospital because I’d sprained my knee so badly that it had doubled in size.

Turns out that it was the first of many times I would fall in front of NBA players and reporters. I’m not the most graceful of human beings. But, as with all of the stories you shared with me, it makes me laugh to think about it.