Every year, before the NBA pre-season begins, the Grizzlies hold an open practice where anyone can come into the Forum and watch them stretch and run through their drills. This year, I got to attend and watch from behind the Grizz bench.
When my parents first moved to Cordova in 2004, I was adamant that we get Grizz tickets. We didn't get season tickets, opting instead for one of the 22-game packages, and the three of us were in attendance at every single one of those games. They renewed the tickets the following year, but they got out of the habit once I moved to Bangalore and my mother's workload increased.
Because of that, the Grizzlies ticket representatives are constantly calling my father and asking him if he wants to purchase another ticket package. This year, they invited him and a guest [read: me and a friend] to a luncheon for potential season ticket holders and to reserved seats for the open practice. Since these were held on a Monday, and both of my parents have pretty short lunch breaks, I went and took Joe, Walker's husband and a big basketball fan, along with me.
The lunch itself was a little underwhelming when it came to the food, but it was great to hear from Pete Pranica, the game announcer, and Chris Wallace, the GM, on how training camp went and what the current status of the team looks like heading into the preseason. Both are optimistic about this season, and after his prepared comments, Wallace spent some time answering questions from the gathered group.
The open practice was set for 12.30pm, so following Pranica and Wallace's time at the mic, we were led out to seats behind the Grizzlies bench to watch the guys enter and to observe practice. Being 10 feet away from some of your favourite athletes [and potential best friends. I'm looking at you, Quincy] is a supremely surreal feeling, especially when Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are just chilling and stretching close enough for your Gadget-arms to reach out and touch them [side note: I did not creepily feel up any of the players. in case that needs to be clarified].
The practice itself lasted for about an hour. The guys stretched for a bit, did layup drills, ran a 3-man and 5-man weave [Joe and I are still trying to figure that second one out], practiced defense and blocking out, and ran a few plays to work out kinks. The highlight by far was the 3-point competition they had at the end of practice, though: after a few preliminary rounds, the final round was Vince Carter v Courtney Lee. They both scored 18 in the final, so it came down to half-court shots. VC missed his, but Courtney hit his on the first try, and the couple hundred or so fans went crazy.
I have loved the Grizzlies for going on 13 years now, and I am so excited to see what we do this season. With all of our main guys coming back, Quincy healthy, signing Vince, and drafting well, I have high hopes. Let's do this, Grizz.
other highlights included: dinner at Osaka to celebrate Abby's birthday; lunch with Erin Petty; got my teeth cleaned; multiple India Palace meals; Christina and I finalized our Green Bay plans [Lambeau Field and first NFL game, here we come!]; spent the weekend with the Strickland boys and their dog.
Grit and Grind, all day long.
|[walking through the players' entrance. very cool]|
|[the view from behind the grizzlies bench]|
|[marc and zbo cracking jokes]|
|[love these guys and the heart and soul they bring to our team]|
|[running layup drills]|
|[tony allen apparently has trouble dressing himself sometimes. but he's still the best spirit animal in the world]|
|[layup drills, all day long]|
|[lining up to run some weaves, just like in the middle school days]|
|[coming off the end of the 3-man weave]|
|[love seeing this guy in a jersey again, and i can't wait to see him back out on the court]|
|[vince lighting it up during the 3-point competition]|
|[more pretty memphis sunsets. this fall has been a pretty spectacular one]|
|[sometimes we have deer sightings in our neighbourhood]|
|[playing super mario checkers with andrew. i had to pull out all the stops to beat him]|
|[lunch at the wiles-smith drugstore on union. the most heavenly chocolate milkshake i think i've ever had]|
|[serious discussions happen when we break out the homemade board games]|
|[spent most of sunday morning with an andrew-monkey climbing on my back]|
|[loved my time with these rugrats over the weekend]|