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Closing Time: Reflecting on Memphis and GBBLive

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As Joe Mullinax gets back to life on the East Coast, the times are a-changing. Memphis is a chapter of his life that has closed, and another chapter closes Wednesday night with the last episode of GBBLive on BlogTalkRadio. With all of these changes the past couple of months, he reflects on his experiences and looks ahead to the bright future of both GBBLive and Memphis

Sometimes I feel like I am living an Eric Church song.

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Not "Springsteen", although that is one of my all-time favorites, and not "Cold One", although I currently like that one a good bit. The song I am referring to, at least the first verse, is "Give Me Back My Hometown". Another great Eric Church tune, but it hits close to the heart for me.

It's not a perfect comparison, but there's some lines that hit more than others.

...Main Street of my High School lit up on Friday Night...

All the colors of my youth...

You see, I recently returned to my hometown of Manassas, Virginia to teach and coach at my old high school. It's always been a dream of mine to come home and settle down, even if only for a few years, in the place that helped make me...well, me. Family ties and a chance to work at my alma mater contributed heavily to the decision to leave my adopted second home of Memphis, certainly as good of reasons to move away from the Bluff City as any.

And yet, even though I am from Manassas and lived here about 19 years of my life, it has taken time for Virginia to feel like "home" again. It worries me sometimes; why is a place that I know like the back of my hand, that has most of both my wife and I's immediate families within 4 hours of us, not feeling like home?

Then, it hit me like a Grizz slap; it isn't that Manassas isn't home, it's that Memphis truly WAS my home for the three years we were there. It felt like the city was almost a part of me. I had never been anywhere where you could literally feel the Soul of the city, and the heart of a community so strongly. It was intoxicating; there's no place I would rather be than on Beale Street, or on Mud Island along the mighty Mississippi River, taking in the power and shot of life that is Memphis, Tennessee.

I miss it. A lot.

The Memphis Grizzlies also played a big role in Memphis becoming home, as did this site over the course of the past year. Writing for the blog and eventually running the GBBLive podcast since this past January all contributed to strengthening a connection to the city that I never had in Manassas. Sports teams can really help that relationship to where you live, and this was magnified by my work on the site.

I love the Washington Redskins, the most popular local team here in Northern Virginia, but I have never seen them up close. I have never asked them questions in press conferences, or spoken with coaches or announcers of theirs on a show that I hosted. I have never written an article about them analytically and had it shared and posted on message boards and 'Best of' sites. I became a part, a very small part, of the Memphis Grizzlies' fan experience. That meant and still means the world to me.

In a roundabout way, this is why I made the decision to pass GBBLive on to Chip Williams as it heads over to Yahoo Sports 730 AM starting August 29th at 8:30 AM. As potentially sad as it may sound, I love this site. I want to see it succeed, and expand, and get to levels never before imaginable. I like to think I have made the site better since I have joined the staff, and this is another way to help out. I cannot run a local radio show from 1,000 miles away. The show will be great on Yahoo, and it will provide GBB yet another avenue through which to grow, especially locally.

As I say goodbye to GBBLive, I have some folks to say thank you to.

  • I am thankful for every guest who has visited the GBBLive Podcast. To all the wonderful guests both on (Matt Hrdlicka, Keith Edwards, Trisity, Andrew Ford just to name a few) and off the site (Pete Pranica, Rick Trotter, Amin Elhassan, Matt Moore, Ben Hogan, Coach Jason March, Chris Makris, the Yahoo and 3SOB guys just to name some) and everyone else who has been a guest on the show, thank you for making me a better fan, host, and blogger through your insights.
  • A special thanks to Kevin Lipe, who brought me onto the site before he left for the Memphis Flyer. Without Lipe, GBBLive may have never happened and I would have missed out on a tremendous chapter of my life. Thank you Kevin for being a great friend and mentor.
  • Also, I am deeply grateful to Chris Faulkner. Chris has done nothing but empower me and give me opportunity after opportunity to better myself and hopefully the site in the process, including GBBLive. GBBLive is just as much his as it is mine as far as I am concerned, as he did a great job with the audio and guest set ups for the show. It has been a pleasure sharing the first segment of almost every show with him, and I find myself fortunate to call him my friend.
  • Finally, thank you to everyone who has listened to GBBLive the Podcast on BlogTalkRadio. Any success the show has had is because of you the listener, whether it be live, on the site or over at our BlogTalkRadio page. From participating in our GBBLive Question of the Day to signing up for Audible.com and helping us donate to St.Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, I have been inspired by your enjoyment of the show and support.

Life goes on. As one chapter closes, another opens. I will definitely still be writing for the site as the season approaches, and Chris and I will be starting a new and unique Podcast on BlogTalkRadio around November. GBBLive is the flagship though, and I have faith that Chip Williams will make it bigger and better. Memphis will also only get bigger and better. The city has some amazing people in and around it, and the future is bright for both Memphis and GBBLive. I believe that in my heart.

I take pride in knowing I contributed to the start of GBBLive and look forward to watching it blossom in the future over on Yahoo Sports 730 AM.

Thank you, Memphis and GBBLive. You'll always hold a special place in my "MulliGrizz" heart. Now it is time to continue to make my hometown "home" again.

Got a song for that, Eric Church?