She was a piece of popcorn in their beer, and they did their best to ignore her.
Joan Hynes clapped for Scottie alone. She whooped for Michael alone. She drew befuddled glances and eyebrows like question marks.
After all, Hynes was sitting on a prime bar stool at Jack and Dan’s Tavern, the bar partly owned by Jack Stockton, who of course is the father of John Stockton, who of course is the all-star guard for the Utah Jazz and an all-around good guy playing in the team’s first NBA finals.
Hynes plunked a Chicago Bulls baseball cap onto her head. She wore a red shirt and a black jacket on top of white pegged pants. Her long fingernails were works of art, done up in red, white and black with one tiny left-hand nail proclaiming “Chicago” and a tiny right-hand nail pounding out “Bulls.”
This is the Stockton church, and Hynes was a blasphemer, a lone Bull pulling for Steve Kerr during Sunday services. She brought along a friend and Stockton fan, Don Green, for balance during the first game of the Jazz-Bulls series.
“He came here in support, so my family knows where to pick up my remains,” joked Hynes, who moved from Chicago to Spokane about four years ago.
No one really got angry. This bar is a family that tolerates even eccentric relatives who root for the other team.
The Jazz fans watched their hometown hero barely lose a hair-puller. During commercials, they told stories of playing against Stockton as a scraggly teenage gym rat and they told stories about his wonderful family.
“I’m a local boy and he’s a local boy,” said Green, who’s really 61 years old. “He’s just fabulous.”