Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Open Letter to Memphis

Dear Memphis,

It's not you.

It's me.

I need to be honest about something.

Something I've been thinking about for a while.

Something that I've been faking for some of that while.

I don't care about the Tigers.

I don't care about college basketball at all.

See, here's the thing. I'm not from here. I'm a transplant. And I teach at your art college, so it's odd for me to be a fan of another of your colleges. I'm a fan of my college. Neither the University of Memphis nor its basketball team mean anything particularly important to my sports weltanschauung. That means world view for the non-German speakers. It's a useful word. It means not only your view of the world, but also in the sense that it is part of the way that you see other or new parts of the world as well.

So, if I'm not from here, I didn't go to the University of Memphis, and I don't work for the University of Memphis, why should I be expected to care?

The part that I care about is my friend Bill who works there. Maybe he needs moral support. Cause he's not from here either and he's in the eye of the storm.

And I care about Memphis and Memphis people, like Sherry, at work, who will probably think I'm silly for not caring about the Tigers. Or the Librarian, who won't leave me alone about it. In fact, she's so nutty for it all that I texted her to find out when the game started and what channel, but she hasn't emailed me back. She's clearly with all the other people who aren't on the road right now because they're either watching the game or gearing up before the game starts. See, I still don't know when it starts. A little help?

But, seriously, I just looked out the window and there was noone on the road. And if you know Memphis, you know that's weird.

But I digress. See, I just can't find the reason to care about the Tigers. I have no connection to them other than proximity. My sister-in-law lives in Boston and I still hate the Patriots and Red Sox, so that clearly isn't compelling.

What I care about is the mental well-being of my city. And all the people who are probably going to kick my ass for writing this. Because it's so clearly the case that the mental well-being of Memphis is dependent upon the win total of the Tigers.

Ask them about last season.

I tried to convince someone that all the fun they had, all the teams that they beat, all the memories they had were all still real. They looked at me as if I told Calipari to get to the Big Dance without cheating.

I mean, it's a problem.

And, Memphians, I can sympathize. I went to Notre Dame. They lost my first game there to the University of Cacking Michigan on a final-play field goal. It ruined four years of my life and I'm not yet convinced that the program has ever recovered. So I'm with you on investing emotionally in a sports team.

But this just ain't my team. And I just don't care.

Go Tigers Go!




  1. Not that I care either -- we'll be watching The Good Wife -- but it's 9:00 on ESPN

  2. I texted you back about the game, but you didn't show. I stayed at Bari for the whole thing and it was awesome. People love the Tigers for the same reason they loved that short kid that played with a lot of heart for Notre Dame. "Rudy". People like an underdog. There's a lot more Rudy's out there than Peyton Mannings.