They’re at Jack and Dan’s Tavern for every NBA finals game, but this is the first night they’ve watched.
Usually they’re behind the bar. Shaving meat. Pulling beer. Arranging crackers. Perfuming the air with microwave popcorn, which, as every bartender knows, only leads to more orders for microwave popcorn.
Kevin MacDonald and Dave Self, a couple of 23-year-old bartending college students, are actually drinking Bud Light this Sunday evening. And they’re sitting in seats one and two, watching the Jazz win - or maybe lose - no, definitely win, against the Bulls.
“Usually the only way you know how well the game is going is how loud the crowd is being,” says Self, baby-sitting a cigar and liberally sprinkling sentences with “babe” and “dude.” “If they’re rowdy, you know the Jazz are doing well. If they’re quiet, then. …”
Perhaps he’s trailing off here because Jack and Dan’s Tavern is, well, kinda quiet. That’s because at this particular point in the fourth game, the make-or-break game that could even up the series, the Jazz are decidedly unjazzy, missing five shots in a row.
Then Johnny Stockton starts working, and the tavern fans start playing TV commentators again.
Stockton sinks free throws. He tosses miracle passes.
The fans whoop. They slap one another, a second Jazz victory slid under their backward baseball caps.
“They got the series now,” says Self, talking into his fist microphone. “The series is theirs.”