When my friend and colleague Jackson Baker asked me if I was interested in starting a weekly cyber-column, my first thought was...what’s my deadline? As a means of introduction, I feel obligated to mention my day job as managing editor for Memphis magazine. For almost seven years now, I’ve spent more time than I choose to measure establishing and enforcing deadlines for writers, advertisers, and graphic designers. And I’m still learning to distinguish between velvet gloves and iron fists in this capacity. How the heck am I going to handle making my own deadline, and on a weekly basis no less? The answer, at least I hope, is an easy one. Because this deadline is going to be fun, a chance for me to share some thoughts, observations, maybe even a little analysis on the local - and sometimes national-sports scene. Jack has even told me he’ll allow a column here or there on topics that really matter in our lives, those away from the playing field and locker room. Scary thought, that. Once I agreed to take on this happy endeavor, my first assignment was coming up with a title. I hope the three words I chose convey the intended message. Because regardless of the subject matter, no matter how serious or light-hearted my ood is on a given week, the fact is...I'm a fan. I love sports (well, most of them). And there’s so much to see in Memphis (all you Bluff City sports cynics take a breath here). The NBA (and its big-league hype machine) has landed downtown; AutoZone Park is starting to feel like a delightful part of the city scenery; the University of Memphis Tigers continue to raise our hopes each fall and winter...and too often break our hearts; professional golf and tennis are locked into the calendar every bit as much as the two big Elvis weeks; we even have a hockey team playing its tenth (!) season and vying for a championship. Don’t tell me Memphis isn’t a sports town. (It happens to be a wonderful alternative to that overrated moniker. Memphis is a sports town with an abundance of other unique, even provocative qualities. Perhaps I can explore some of those in the weeks ahead.) There are just a few more things you should know about me. (1) My family is about the only entity in my life that has hold on more of my heart than the game of baseball. You’ll likely learn the team of my devotion long before an unbiased writer would allow. Call it my vice. (2) I’m the son of two University of Tennessee alumni...and the husband of a University of Memphis graduate. So no finger-pointing as I take one side or the other in the blue-orange (orange-blue?) debate. (3) I can’t golf a lick. I’ve never even made contact with a driver. But I love the FedEx St. Jude Classic, and I think the fourth round of a major is as gripping as sports can be. This is my favorite time of year, as winter turns into spring, sweaters go to the attic, March Madness screams into our living rooms, and the front porch is sweeped off for some serious discussion on just who might knock off the Yankees this year. (I’m betting on that National League club up the river a piece, bright red caps. Woops.) I’m thankful for the chance to share this season (and beyond) with you. Why don’t you pull up your seat right next to mine.

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