It had been two years since I had been in the Grind House. I was SO excited that my Elvis trip (the opening of the Guest House at Graceland) coincided with the first two Grizzlies home games – well it did because I came in a day early and stayed a day late. I got to witness the Grizzlies win their first two games at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves and even more exciting the OT win over the Washington Wizards. The feeling I had while sitting there watching my Grizzlies in Memphis is indescribable. I was SO happy!
Grizzlies Opener Wed Oct 26
On Wednesday, I woke up at 5am est, got the dogs up and fed and back in bed with me since I wouldn’t see them again until Monday. I left my house just after 10am to take the dogs to the Vet to board. Elvis just pranced back with the tech and didn’t even look back, while Priscilla cowered behind my legs. I had to walk her back, where Elvis was excitedly waiting. I drove to Fast Park, got the shuttle, went through security and was eating at Arby’s by 11:15am for my 1:10pm flight. In line to board the plane, I met some folks from Memphis who have family in Baltimore. Their son was going to be the ball boy at the Grizzlies Opening Night.
After talking with my friends for a bit I grabbed a cab around 4:45 to head downtown. I knowingly missed the Closing Ceremony at the Heartbreak Hotel with Priscilla Presley because I wanted to be at the Grizzlies game early since it was opening night and figured I’d see Priscilla at the Opening Ceremony at the Guest House. FedEx Forum doors opened at 5pm, but I couldn’t go down to my seat until 6pm. I got my free Grind City shirt, checked out the Grizzlies den, then decided to grab some dinner in the Bud Light Bar and Grill just inside the doors. I had my favorite cheese and sausage plate and sweet tea, which I ate half of and saved the rest for after the game. I talked with some nice Memphis folks, including a lady who was a Grizzlies and a Broncos fan! At 6pm sharp, I ran down to my seat. I was front row in section 101 directly behind the basket (there were 3 rows on the floor in front of me) by the Grizzlies bench and next to the Grizzlies tunnel. I walked to the end of my row and watched the team run out from the tunnel onto the court for warm ups. I saw the father and son from my flight and talked with them for a bit. Before the introductions, Mike Conley took to center court and thanked everyone in Memphis.
The Grizzlies started off really slow, but finally took the lead in the third quarter holding on to defeat the Timberwolves 102-98. I was really impressed with Chandler Parsons. He did not play, but he was out in his suit during warm ups and the first one jumping off the bench supporting his teammates and even running out on the court to calm down Marc Gasol. For being new to the team, Parsons is fitting right in with the passion of Tony Allen, who didn’t play either. Both Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol had three-pointers and Mike Conley played great, but the refs were terrible. After the win, I listened to the band outside enjoying the party on the plaza while waiting for my car service to pick me up and take me back to the Heartbreak Hotel where I finished my cheese and sausage plate and watched Elvis movies most of the night.
To see all of my photos from the Grizzlies home opener, please click here.
Grizzlies Home Game 2 Sun Oct 30
On Sunday all my Elvis events were finished for the opening weekend at the new Guest House at Graceland, but I still had another Grizzlies game to attend! I took the hotel shuttle to Beale Street. It was supposed to be at 6pm shuttle, but folks don’t really hurry in Memphis so we didn’t really leave until 6:10ish. The driver could sense I was very anxious and wanted to get to the FedEx Forum like yesterday, so he dropped me off then continued to give his little tour of downtown to the Memphis newbies on the shuttle.
It was about 6:30 when I finally got to my seat – the same seat I had for opening night. I missed the initial shoot around, but was there in time to see the Grizzlies run out of the tunnel for warm ups. This time the Grizzlies were playing the Washington Wizards, who I really dislike since they’re technically my home team. Wizards fans are always rude (and very fair weather) when I go there to watch the Grizzlies play. (And it’s not just because we’re the visiting team – fans in other cities have been much nicer.) Grizz came by and I got a selfie with him.
We were winning the entire game until the last quarter. The Grizzlies never make it easy. With 24 seconds to go, the score was 97- 100 Wizards winning. Grizzlies had the ball and the inbound play went to Mike Conley – everyone assumed he would take the final shot being the best shooter on the court. But that was not Coach Fizdale’s plan. Instead, Conley passed the ball to seven-foot center Marc Gasol, aka”Big Spain,” and he sunk a three-pointer to send the game into Over Time! It was unreal! My throat still hurts from screaming! The Grizzlies defeated the Wizards 112-103, and Gasol finished with four three pointers.
I had about a half hour until the hotel shuttle would pick me up, so I celebrated the Grizzlies win on Beale Street listening to the great blues and soaking in all that Memphis soul. I grabbed a cheese and sausage plate from Blues City and took it back to the Guest House at Graceland to enjoy on my last night in Memphis.
To see my photos from the Grizzlies second home game, please click here.
It was so amazing to be back in Memphis for the first two Grizzlies games. I used to have season tickets when I lived in Memphis, but since I moved in 2011 I have only seen the Grizzlies play in DC, Philly and NYC and once a year in Memphis for a playoff game if they were there while I was there for Beale Street Music Festival. But I hadn’t seen the Grizzlies play in Memphis since 2014. I even had a near meeting with Chandler Parsons. While at the Guest House at Graceland on Thursday sitting in the lobby lounge eating our lunch, I saw Grizzlies’ Chandler Parsons standing right outside in the hallway apparently taking the tour of the new resort. Without even knowing it, I was screaming his name. He kind of looked around. When he walked away, I jumped up and followed him down the hallway. When they stopped, I stopped at a safe distance behind figuring they would come back since they were at the end of the hallway. But unfortunately, they left out the door. Oh well! Hopefully I will get to meet Chandler in Philly or DC.