Even we -- the not-so-monolithic editorial "we" of the redoubtable Flyer staff -- have to admit occasionally that there is a difference of opinion among us. A case in point is the matter of celebrity-stalking. This past weekend, when, to say the least, more than your usual number of well-known persons were in town, some of us were as interested in encountering the famous people on our doorstep as the most star-struck watcher of Entertainment Tonight.
Others of us are utterly indifferent about sighting Kevin Bacon or any other icon of show biz or athletics -- whether in the sixth or the 32nd degree. It might be one thing to sit down and talk with somebody like that, but merely to "catch up" with them, as our friends in the electronic media like to say, seems hardly worth the effort. Or so reason our more reserved types (the ones who happen to have the floor right now).
But all of us agree on one thing: We were pleased to have had the out-of-town guests that we did and pleased, too, to have been joined vicariously by the million or so people who sent 50-odd bucks to their cable companies to see the Pay-Per-View version of Tyson-Lewis. Actually, multiply that million a bit. That's just the number of households that signed up to see the event. Most of them were a bit doubled up or more, we suspect.
Let us admit that we were enriched by the spectacle not just financially but by the growth opportunity it presented. Yes, we proved that we could "handle it" -- the traffic, the attention, the patronage, the logistics, and even the Ps and Qs of playing the good host. We were visited by more than just the world's glitterati, of course. People came from all over -- from Manhattan, Kansas, as well as Manhattan, New York, and even from that part of the Tennessee wilds (Nashville, we mean) whose bewhiskered sportswriters just imagine they're from Manhattan.
They saw what there is to be seen around here these days -- a developing city of gregarious and sensible people whose self-concept is modest but whose design for the future borders on breathtaking. Parts of that future were already in place for the appreciative visitors -- Peabody Place and AutoZone Park, to name two -- as were our various forms of homage to the past: the bright lights of Beale Street, the solemnity of the National Civil Rights Musem, and, for that matter, The Pyramid, a venue which served admirably to house the big fight. Even our friends from New York-on-the-Cumberland might envy us a little for having such a good sports/entertainment facility to function as a standby until the new state-of-the-art one comes along.
We extend congratulations and thanks to Mayor Willie Herenton and the other Memphians of positive vision who insisted that Tyson-Lewis would do us credit. It did, and it established the new bottom-line understanding for which the advent of the NBA Grizzlies was something of a preamble. Big-league is as big-league does. And we just did.