As Grizzlies fans, we've got a lot of pleasant memories to relive inside our brain worlds. There's enough in the 2011 Playoffs series v. the Spurs to fill up a solid hour or two of your afternoon, but a little focus goes a long way during a trip through nostalgia. I want to recount the moment the Grizzlies won their first ever playoff game.
Sunday April 17th, 2011 - Tipoff at 12:00PM CT
It was an odd time and day to experience something so monumental. As an NFL football fan I'm accustomed to getting revved up at that particular time of the week, but never in April. This was usually the time of year that my sports fandom began winding down and preparing for the hibernation of summer. While I don't recall anything about the weather, I do remember being excited just at the idea of, well, feeling excited in mid April. It was refreshing.
I made plans to watch the game with my brother at the house he lived in during his college days on Watauga Ave over near the U of Memphis campus. He had some obligations that made him late getting home for the game, but I had already been inside most of the morning, pacing about the old hardwood floors and making beat patterns with the percussive creaking of the boards. After getting out of my car that day I don't think I ever sat down again.
Most of the game is a blur for me. I know the Grizzlies got off to a hot start, an accomplishment that was incredibly exciting but also dreadful at the same time. The Memphis in me kept thinking, "what if this first quarter is the best moment we get for the entire series?" I remember watching that NCAA National Championship game just a few years earlier. My emotions were guarded, but I kept finding myself making excuses to get excited as the Grizzlies pounded away at the Spurs.
The Grizzlies looked ... dominant?
Dominant. It was one of the first times I really felt the active will of this city. It was possessing these men on the basketball court and taking everyone that was hundreds of miles away in Memphis on a journey through euphoria. This looked and felt different than the Grizzlies' previous playoff games, and it was becoming emotionally overwhelming.
As the crowd inside the AT&T Center fell silent in disbelief, a geyser of unabashed ecstasy erupted from my soul. I can't recount any specific scene or visual from that game, but I can remember what the tears spouting from my eyes felt like as they soaked my face and the collar of my shirt.
The Memphis Grizzlies had won a playoff game and something from that moment made my hometown feel different to me. Memphis had started cracking a smile, and wouldn't you know, it got me cracking a few as well.
That's my experience, now share yours!