Dear Grizzlies Franchise:
I need to come clean about some things. I feel like our relationship has some definite potential right now, and accordingly I’d like to clear the air about some of the events that have transpired in the past. Before I get into all that, let me just say that (a) I watch or attend almost every playoff game, (b) I absolutely love Chris Wallace, and (c) I have a man crush on MIke Conley.
Nevertheless, I can’t escape the lurking notion that I’m a fraud – and the pressure and weight of some secrets has become difficult to tolerate. I feel in some ways the past has kept us stuck and so I’m hoping that after you read this, we’ll be able to move forward with a clean slate. See, the thing is, I’m kind of a bandwagon fan. There, I said it. Whew. That felt good. Wow, I really do feel better just owning it. Amazing. I have a few more things to say – just in the way of explanation. So here goes:
- I don’t watch every game. Actually, I don’t watch most of the games, and I flip around sometimes when I am watching. LIke take today, for example. I really did want to watch the Grizz – Cavs game. After all, Lebron James vs. the Grizzlies is pretty epic. But what happened was the Cowboys were on at the same time, and ya’ll were getting beat, and ya know…. I just flipped around some. I feel terrible. This actually happens a lot, especially if football or college basketball are on. I want to want to watch all of every game. I do love you guys a lot, but I mean….ya know…it’s just hard. I’ll try to do better I promise.
- I gave up on Sidney Lowe almost immediately. I should have told you this a long time ago, because it’s been a while. This is really where our relationship first began to falter. I couldn’t even believe I gave up that quickly. Growing up in Memphis, I had longed for pro sports forever but I just wasn’t prepared for all that losing. I was very much into you at first: I went to the first pre-season game, I watched the draft. I bought gear. I was genuinely pumped. But the thing is, ya’ll really sucked – and the season was long – and it was so clear you weren’t going to be any good for a long time. I went to some games and all, but I have to admit I stopped watching. In retrospect I can see that I was ashamed of myself for quitting. My disappointment in myself kept me away for a while. Please don’t be mad at me – I totally got behind Hubie Brown, who was freaking awesome by the way.
- I skipped the Marc Iavaroni era entirely. According to Wikipedia, Iavaroni coached the team from 2007-2009. I missed that one completely. Please understand that during this time the Memphis Tigers were on the greatest run in program history and I lived outside of Memphis. That being said, I can’t sugarcoat this one – I was so checked out during this time period that ya’ll could have moved back to Vancouver and I might not have cared. Our relationship was really bad at this point and it was very much my fault. But well, maybe not totally my fault – I mean, I’m not trying to drag up the past but ya’ll did trade Kevin Love for OJ Mayo on draft night and draft Hasheem Thabeet and Donte Green. Sooooo let’s just say there was mutual fault in this situation and forget it.
- Because of my loyalty to the Memphis Tigers, I have resented you at times. I realize this is totally unreasonable and that on balance you’ve done way more to help the Memphis Tigers and move them forward than to hurt them in any way. But you have to understand something about timing. Shortly after you got here, my beloved Tigers were relegated to a version of Conference USA that was stripped of all their then-traditional rivals (Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette). John Calipari had yet to really get the program rolling, and even after he did there was always the fear that he would leave and the program would slip. So out of fear and envy I resented your fancy marketing materials and your slick game presentations and your corporate resources and your permanent signage at FedExForum. You may or may not know this, but as a Memphis Tiger fan, I come pre-programmed with an inferiority complex – so playing 2nd fiddle to an NBA team just isn’t easy. That being said, I think most Memphis Tiger fans have come fully around to embrace your presence and just sort of blindly choose to believe it’s going to work out well for both of us whether there’s any empirical evidence to back that up or not.
- I don’t like some of your fans. I grew up in Memphis before it was a pro-town. I grew up in Memphis before there was a “cool” team to like and all sorts of “cool” ways to show how “cool” you are because you like them. The town was more fragmented because the allegiances ran to various college teams. So I’m just not used to all this brotherhood, camaraderie and catch phrase mania. As a result, it feels kind of fake and trendy to me….at best it’s foreign. While I certainly get that people are genuinely excited about all the success you’ve had, as I am – I could really do without the 20 year old floozies tweeting #wigsnatch and #gritgrind and talking about how much they love the Grizzlies because Marc is cute. (Though I have to admit he’s a very good looking man.) I can’t escape the feeling that if you asked the same “fans” what a pick and roll is they’d probably tell you it’s a menu item at one of the trendy new restaurants in Overton Square.
There may be some other things that I remember in time – but these are the big ones. Feels good to come clean, really does. Please know that I’ve been there from the beginning. I went to an open practice in 2001 at the Pyramid and remember finding it surreal that one of my favorite former Orlando Magic players, Nick Anderson, was wearing a Memphis jersey (you didn’t think I remembered did you?). I was stoked when Jerry West was hired, even watched the press conference on live TV. I attended the press conference when you revealed the current uniform and logo. I once trespassed into FedExForum while it was still being built on New Year’s eve 2004 to check out the progress of construction. I’d like to think my Grizz fan resume is pretty decent.
In conclusion, please forgive my weakness and disloyalty- and let’s move forward together in a renewed spirit of partnership.