Do not get me wrong I am not saying that Memphis is the only area in the southeast that loves basketball. I am saying that when the weather starts declining in temperature that most of this SEC ridden area begins to drool over the idea of gathering around a TV and watching the sport of football. In Memphis jackets and pants weather can only mean one thing, that the Tigers and Grizzlies are about to do what they do best and get cheered on by the blood curdling yells of some of the best fans in the country. Again, just to clear my name I love football, I really do, but growing up a Memphis Tigers fan has made me numb to the negative effects of your school not having a stellar football season. When it comes to my cities’ basketball teams my expectations go from ground level to bursting through the ceiling. I expect nothing but greatness as each season approaches. Most of the conversations between my friends and myself consist of how far we believe the Tigers and Grizzlies with go in the ensuing season.
When that first loss comes whether it be from the defending national champs or some team we fluffed the schedule with they both hurt, bad. We all have that sick feeling in our stomachs that sticks with us until the next game and win. When that first big win comes there is enough electricity running through your body to heat your house for the winter, and all you can think or talk about for the next few days are the plays and players that impressed you the most.
The thing that also happens in Memphis during basketball season that makes the sport seem that much more magical is that the city seems to unite during the limited gap in time that is basketball season. No matter what social class you come from during that winning season you never seem to have trouble talking and cheering with anyone around you. The mood seems lighter wherever you go. If the good Lord allows it and the Tigers make an impressive run in March or the Grizzlies slug their way through the western conference tournament the whole city is seemingly watching the same thing. No matter the outcome we always keep our sense of pride about our basketball teams, almost as to say “yeah, you beat us but we are still better than you.”
All around us there are people cheering for their schools on the gridiron while we sit patiently waiting the moment where we get to pack ourselves into the FedEx Forum and scream like Romans spectating gladiators. It is that brutality that brings us together and makes one of the best basketball fan base around. While I wish the city could have the comrodery we seem to have during basketball season all the time, I can deal with five months a year for now. With March Madness less than twenty-four hours away, I know i am not the only one who is screaming in their seats in excitement.