Supporting a Tanking Team: Utah Jazz

AP Photo/Kim Raff

How can you be a Jazz fan, and every night cheer for them to lose?  Frequented with playoff games, hall-of-famers, and elite teams, we have not known what losing means here in Utah.  Up until the 2013-2014 Utah Jazz season, I had never cheered for my favorite sports teams to lose.

As a huge Tampa Bay Rays fan I was accustomed to seeing frequent losses.  Being in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox leads to multiple sub .500 seasons with no playoff aspirations.  As a Seahawks fan it took years before I actually got to cheer for them in the playoffs. Yet, never in those moments did I find myself wanting my team to lose.  That is not how those sports are built.

As the season began, it become apparent what our goal was.  A top 5 draft pick in a strong draft.  We used $21 million of our cap space to hold Andris Biedrins and Richard Jefferson.  It was no secret we were tanking.  It makes a lot of sense.  The Jazz need a star level player, and the draft is the sole method in which they can get that caliber of a guy.  If the Jazz want to succeed in the long run, this is the way it has to be.  This was new for all of us Jazz fans though.

As I stated in this tweet last night, I am 100% a supporter of tanking this season for long term prosperity.

However, as I said before that doesn’t make it easy to watch.  These kids are out there giving it their all every night.  Let’s be honest, it sucks to watch them fail.  Sitting in the arena last night, I watched Mike Miller hit a 3 at the end to clinch the game.  I looked over at the players and saw the same look I give after any loss I have experienced. Whether it be school sports, rec. sports, or even ward ball, we have all felt that.

My point is, yes the Jazz need to lose.  However, let’s not get excited every time they do.  Sitting in that arena it is impossible to cheer against the young guys we have watched grow.  So, as we all hope they lose, let’s not cheer for them to fail.  That is what ruins franchises like Sacramento and Charlotte.  They gain a losers mentality.  We don’t want that.  We want success.  We are used to success. We will see that success after this rough part of the plan.  Let’s make sure that while we root for lotto balls, to keep the mentality of a winning ball club.

Let me know what you think on Twitter or comment below.