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'Part of the job': How the Utah Jazz cope with being away for Thanksgiving

By Ryan Miller, | Posted - Nov. 28, 2019 at 10:46 a.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — Easter used to come a day late in the Snyder household.

“Sometimes you miss a lot of holidays,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “We had Easter Monday for a while until the cat got out of the bag — kids found out it was actually Sunday — because we weren't here on Sunday. You find creative ways.”

On the week where families and loves ones will travel miles upon miles to gather together for Thanksgiving, the Jazz are busy flying around the Midwest on a five-game road trip. They won’t just miss Thanksgiving Day; they’ll miss the entire week and weekend.

The Jazz will spend Thanksgiving flying from Indianapolis to Memphis. You can call it bad timing or poor luck. They just call it part of the job.

“My son asked me if I was home for Thanksgiving,” Snyder said. “I told him no — because I'm not, someone is; someone else isn't. We have been before. So I think it's part of it.”

It’s not the first holiday the players and coaches have missed and it won’t be the last. The Utah Jazz will get Christmas at home but will be gone most of the week leading up to it. They’ll be traveling during the New Year holiday and Easter, too.

For players and coaches with young families, that can be hard. That’s when the creative arrangements come into play.

“You know you don't get Thanksgiving and Christmas,” point guard Mike Conley said, “probably had it a handful of times throughout my career. So, my family's used to it. I've gotten used to it. And we try to do things a little bit differently, whether we celebrate it earlier or a little bit after.”

But for Thanksgiving this year, the different thing won’t be moving the holiday to another day. It will be moving it to another location — well, make that moving it back to the original location.

For Conley, the five-game road trip actually broke just right. Memphis was home for his first 12 years in the league, and Indianapolis was home during his teenage years. That meant he had some close friends at Wednesday’s game and his family is meeting him in Memphis for Thanksgiving.

Conley said his wife and kids will fly from Salt Lake City to Memphis for the holiday.

“My family will try to fly down there and spend as much time as we can, while we can, down there and try to keep it as normal as possible,” Conley said.

It’ll feel normal — in the same city as all the years before — it’ll just take some traveling to get there.

While the situation worked out for Conley, that can’t be said for all the Jazz players, coaches and staff members that are also on the trip. It’s not an ideal situation, but Snyder likens it to any other industry.

“Like any business, certain business trips you like better than others; certain parts of the schedule that you'd rather be different than others,” Snyder said.

This is one of those weeks, and it means there might just be some Thanksgiving Tuesdays come next week.

“Everybody loves the holidays, it's just part of the job,” Snyder said.

Ryan Miller

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