FROM MY SEAT 

FROM MY SEAT

HATFIELDS AND MCCOYS It’s rivalry time. Memphis vs. Austin for the 2001-02 Central Hockey League championship, the President’s Cup. Game Three coming up Thursday night at the DeSoto Civic Center (the best-of seven series is tied at one game apiece after Austin’s victory Sunday night). What? You didn’t realize we had a rivalry with this city a mere 650 miles west of the Mighty Miss? Read on. These cities know how to name their teams. RiverKings is a hybrid nickname based on two of the Bluff City’s most identifiable charms. Ice Bats is a hybrid nickname based on an essential element of hockey and the winged creatures that apparently fly out from under Austin’s Congress Bridge every night, a million strong (yikes!). Austin is the capital of Texas, a state larger than most nations and far too much territory for any single municipality to reasonably expect to govern (see Odessa). Memphis is the “capital” of the Mid-South, a region made up of western Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi. Far too much territory for any single municipality to reasonably expect to govern (see West Memphis). Austin has the Scholz Beer Garden, described at digitalcity.com as “the place where politicos go to make deals and hash out compromises.” Memphis has Harold Ford Sr.’s living room. Within driving distance of Austin is Georgetown, Round Rock, and Pflugerville. (Does someone from Pflugerville call himself a Pfluger or a Pflugerite? Or perhaps . . . a Texan?) Within driving distance of Memphis is Germantown, Little Rock, and Collierville. (Someone from Collierville will let you call him whatever you want, as long as it’s not Memphian.) Austin was once home to Stevie Ray Vaughan, the legendary blues guitarist taken from us far too early in a 1990 helicopter crash. Memphis was once home to Elivis Presley. Let’s forget how we lost the King and remember there would have never been a Stevie Ray without him. Austin has a legendary hotel, the Driskill. Memphis has a legendary hotel, the Peabody. The Driskill doesn’t have ducks. Home to Dell and Motorola, Austin is referred to in some circles as “the Silicon Prairie.” Home to edEx and AutoZone, Memphis is referred to in Some circles as “America’s Distribution Center.” What these monikers do for a rivalry, I have no idea. Each March, Austin hosts South by Southwest, a festival of music and movies that draws thousands. Each May, Memphis hosts Memphis in May, which includes a music festival, a food festival, and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Edge to Tom Lee Park. Austin’s finest barbecue can be found at the Salt Lick or Earl Campbell’s. Memphis’ finest barbecue can be found at the Rendezvous or Corky’s. For the sake of nostalgia, we’ll give the edge here to the 1977 Heisman Trophy winner. Downtown Austin’s 6th Street is a music-lover’s paradise, with club after club offering the best in live blues, jazz, and rock. There’s a popular parade every Halloween. Downtown Memphis’ Beale Street is a music-lover’s paradise, with the Rum Boogie, B.B. King’s, Black Diamond, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, the King’s Palace Cafe, etc. Dyer’s Burgers gives Memphis the edge here. Austin is home to the University of Texas, whose proud football program will perpetually overshadow any other team that dares aim for the attention of local sports buffs. Memphis is home to the University of Memphis, whose proud basketball program will perpetually overshadow any other team that dares aim for the attention of local sports buffs. Now, forget that last nugget and hop aboard the good ship RiverKing. After all, the only thing worse than Memphis not taking the CHL title is for the hardware to wind up in, of all places, Austin.

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