Sports has had an overriding influence in my life since 1986. Prior to 1986, I cared little about sports. I was immediately smitten with the Mets, hooked as they won the World Series that year. I continued following them in the ensuing years and found my favorites were Gary Carter, Roger McDowell, and Lenny Dykstra. Through the rest of high school, I faithfully watched the Mets every game that was on WWOR. There were games on Sports Channel too, but it was a premium channel, so I couldn't watch those. I know some might find baseball boring, but I loved watching it. I focused on every pitch, every at bat. I went to a few games, collected baseball cards and memorabilia, and bought my #8 Gary Carter shirt that I still wear all the time.
My high school love of the Mets subsided a bit when I went to college. Outside of Jersey, there were few games carried on TV. I didn't have a television my first three years of college. And, there were too many other things to do besides watch baseball.
I soon found that I loved BYU sports. I got season football tickets and slowly learned what football was all about. I’d only been to one HS football game, never watched football on TV, and in my house football was known as soccer. So, it took me a bit to get acclimated to football and all its intricate rules, but I loved BYU football and went to as many games as I could. To this day, it is the only kind of football I’m interested in. I do not like any other college teams and will not watch NFL. So, if I am asked if I like football, my answer is: I like BYU football.
While in college, BYU sports became a dominant force in my life. My friend, Tami, and I used to go to BYU volleyball games, and it is at one of those games that a very important event took place. I saw my husband, Nolan, for the first time at a BYU Men’s volleyball game. They were playing Ball State. We saw each other across the Smith Field House, but didn't talk to each other until after the game at a dance on campus.
From that point, there were many more BYU volleyball and basketball games that we would go to together. Our shared love of sports drew us to each other and kept us going to many sporting events over the course of our marriage.
When the Salt Lake Buzz started playing minor league baseball, we went to a lot of games. It is at one of those games that another important event in my life occurred. It was the day after the Denver Nuggets historically beat the Seattle Sonics in the NBA Playoffs that we went to a Buzz game with a group of friends. During the seventh inning stretch, the Buzz announcer read off what was written on the scoreboard: Marcia Argueta, Nolan Mickelson wants to know if you will marry him.
We both loved the NBA, and early in our marriage, we started a fantasy basketball league with some friends. It was before fantasy sports really took off and way before the Internet was in everyone’s homes. We kept track of stats by reading the paper daily and entering the players’ stats on a spreadsheet to keep track of who was winning. We lived in Utah and went to many Jazz games. Nolan was an intern for a sports radio station, and I worked for a non-profit, so we went to a lot of Jazz games. Nolan is a Celtics fan, and I’m a Knicks fan, and neither one of us like the Jazz, but we loved the NBA, so we went and usually rooted against the Jazz. We got free Finals tickets when the Jazz played the Bulls, and that was a tough game because I don’t like the Jazz or the Bulls.
Sports has influenced my writing as well. My two books, Reasonable Doubt and Pickup Games, have basketballs on their covers. My character, Mick Webber, is a college basketball player and later a college basketball analyst and reporter. I loved doing the research in writing these two books, and luckily I had my sports-knowledgeable husband handy to answer any questions I had. My main character, Mick Webber, is loosely based on an NBA player I once heard speak.
The theme of basketball runs through these two book, and they are heavily influenced by my love of basketball. However, I don't watch NBA anymore, and I only occasionally catch a BYU basketball game because other things have taken precedence over my love of sports. Writing and kids are my love now, and sometimes sports will find its way in, but I love that I have these two books of reminders of my one-time love of basketball.