I got the book for Christmas but didn’t read it until this past week, finishing it a couple days ago on Thursday night. I could have read it sooner, and wanted to, but I was waiting for the right time. Alabama lost the national championship, then last weekend the Cowboys lost a heartbreaker to diminish my hopes of a Super Bowl, and for some reason lately the Grizzlies just haven’t been winning games, so I needed a pick me up to wash the disappointment of my sports teams out of my soul, and that’s when I knew it was time. When I moved to Memphis in July I had been thrilled to find out that there was a sports radio station here, and not only that, but they talked about the teams I like and follow. The Geoff Calkins show quickly became one of my favorites on the station, and so when I heard he’d written a book, I knew I had to get it.
Now, not all radio guys are great writers, ahem Colin Cowherd, but Calkins is a journalist first and foremost and I’d read some of his columns before, so I knew he could write. The book is called “After the Jump” and it’s columns from the best twenty years in Memphis sports. It definitely did not disappoint. It’s really cool getting to read articles about events I remember from the perspective of the local sports columnist. I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, but I was born in Memphis, my dad and his family lived in Memphis, and I admired the city from afar, a big fan of the Tigers and Grizzlies once they came to town. The book talks about the building of AutoZone Park and what it did for the city. I remember my dad taking me to a game on a Saturday during that first year for my birthday. I met Lou Luca and got his autograph, and although he didn’t make it in the major league, I still have it in a box somewhere, a cherished souvenir of that fun day at the ball park.
My favorite columns in the book are about the Grizzlies, my favorite basketball team that I’ve loyally supported since they moved from Vancouver to Memphis. 2011 was an awesome time to be a Grizzlies fan; we got our first playoff win and later that series upset the Spurs in the grittiest way possible, the eight seed taking down the one seed. I was at the first ever playoff win inside Fedex Forum, and I gotta tell you, the atmosphere was electric. Then in the next series I came back to Memphis for game three in the series against the Thunder, and that game might have been better than the first. In his book, “After the Jump”, Calkins references the growl towels being held up in that game three, even though we were down by a lot, a sign of solidarity that we believe in this team and the city. I was one of the thousands of people holding my towel up, and it now sits framed atop my bookshelf. Whether you live in Memphis or not, I highly recommend getting this book, which you can order easily on Amazon. I love sports and I love Memphis, and now I’ve got a book that brings both together and intertwines them in a wonderful way.