19 February 2011
Personification can be defined as a figure of speech in which inanimate objects or abstractions are endowed with human qualities or are represented as possessing human form, as in Hunger sat shivering on the road or Flowers danced about the lawn.
In major sports cities across the country, teams take on a form of personification that is almost directly connected to that team’s city, fan base, state, or personality. In Los Angeles, for example, the Lakers take on the glitzy glamorous allure of the city that gives it its name--Los Angeles. The city and the fan base have brought out the real life flare of the team and the organization. The “Showtime Lakers” or the stage lighting in the Toyota Center would be great examples of this. The owner, coach and players have continued this “act”, by acting like they are the only team/city that exist in its individual category. Well, the only city and team that is important or relevant, I should say.
In Pittsburg, the Steelers are defined by a generation of steel workers that spent 12-16 hours a day in the steel mills working their asses off for every dollar they earned. Every night when these workers came home, their bodies would be covered with bruises and burns. These men were justified in relaxing with a cold one in front of the T.V. The Steel Curtain was formed from the sparks and scars of these workers in the 1970’s when Terry Bradshaw went down with an injury. The defense, led by the front four, took over and earned the Nickname the “Steel Curtain” for their relentless defensive ability and hard work in the trenches.
The New York Yankees have been personifying their city and state of mind for a very long time. They Yankees, like the Lakers, have lots of money. However, New Yorkers are in your face about it. I am generalizing for point of argument, but New York City as a whole, is in your face. The Yankees and their 210 million dollar payroll are in your face and don’t apologize for the fact that they are going to buy all of the best players in the process, buying championships. They say, “It’s not against the rules to have more money than everybody else, we just spend it on World Series pennants.” They don’t care. They like it that way.
Utah- On any given night, in any given school or church, you can find kids playing basketball, not just any kind of basketball, but Junior Jazz Basketball. Our Jazz fan hood runs deep and starts early. Utah is not the Mecca of basketball, like New York’s playground’s and blacktop courts but this is our place.
Much like the pioneers that turned Utah into a thriving state with cities, schools, business, and higher educations institutions scattered up and down the Wasatch front— Larry Miller went out on a limb and put up millions of his own money to purchase, grow, and establish a struggling NBA team and bring that team to the APEX of the National Basketball Association.
Larry Miller kept long time broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, promoted Jerry Sloan to head coach and brought in two players in John Stockton and Karl Malone that had similar attributes to many of the people in this state—including himself, Jerry and Hot Rod. Some of these attributes are—dedication, hard work, honesty, and consistency. These attributes are some of the many that Utahans emulate on a daily basis in their work, education, worship, and play. These attributes started to grow outside of our state boundaries and eventually outs side of our national borders, in turn creating Jazz fans all over the world.
Like many other Utah Jazz fans, I have struggling to understand the chain of events over the past couple weeks. I can only come up with the following.
The Utah Jazz are a personification of us. When I say us, I mean the fans. I mean my two-year-old son who says, “Go Jazz” when they are not even on T.V., I mean the 100 club members, I mean the upper bowl season ticket holder that works an extra job to go get season tickets, I mean the 12 year-old-kid from Texas that worships Deron Williams, I mean the custodian at my school who makes it a point to come up every day and talk Jazz basketball, I mean the old timers that love the Jazz for Jerry Sloan and his no nonsense approach, I mean the student that the late Larry Miller’s scholarship fund paid for his or her tuition, I mean the Russian kid that thinks he is going to be the next Andrei Kirilenko, I mean the 14 year-old-kid that took his dad’s church keys to go practice his free throws, I mean the girl in dance class that wants to be a Jazz dancer, I mean the kid in my fourth period English class that analyzes the Jazz shot charts after every game, I mean the communication major who wants to be the next Hot Rod Hundley, I mean the hard working kid from Illinois that wants to be the next Jerry Sloan, I mean the parts seller in your local car dealership that wants to be the next Larry Miller, I mean the white kid that thinks he can break the assist record, I mean you.
To many of us, the Utah Jazz are like a child that we have watched grow from infancy to adulthood. We have cheered our child during the good times and cried with them during the bad times. We were there when they were learning how to walk, and ride a bike. We were there when they went to the state championship and we were there when they lost. We were there when they graduated from high school and when they went to college. We were there when they bought their first house and when they fell in love for the first time. We were there when they got into their first car wreck or had their first break-up. We were there when one of their grandparents moved away and when one of their parents died. We were here when their dad left and moved back to Illinois. We were here when the big brother tried to help.
We will be here if things get bad.
The Utah Jazz are a personification of us.
We are the Utah Jazz.
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