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"Grizzly Nation"

We claim no credit for inventing this phrase. Actually, Sacramento Bee sportswriter Mark Kriedler used it in an ESPN.com column earlier this week that can only be described as, well, patently incredulous. We won't hold it against him.

Kriedler, of course, was knocked off his horse -- as were most other NBA insiders -- by Jerry West when the NBA logo/legend decided to take over stewardship of our own Memphis Grizzlies."Locusts?" asked Kriedler rhetorically. "Pestilence? An end to war? Cats and dogs living together? Look, if Jerry West can take over the Memphis Grizzlies, anything feels possible."

We couldn't agree more. Mr. Kriedler has spent limited time, if any, in Memphis.But had he spent more, he would have known that his "anything feels possible" mantra is one long embraced by a whole generation of Memphis progressives. Where would we be without them? Jack Belz and the rebirth of The Peabody way back in the early 1980s? Henry Turley and the creation of Harbor Town and South Bluffs? Mayor Willie Herenton, upon whose 11-year watch much of this downtown revitalization and renewal have occurred?

The Grizzly Nation, of course, is not a political one. That's why, in the sports sphere, we must never forget the folks who made all that progress possible. Just think: Where would Memphis be today -- and where would Jerry West be playing golf -- had not Dean and Kristi Jernigan raised the bar, in 1997, for all sports in this city?By bringing the Triple-A Cardinals baseball franchise to Memphis, by building the best minor-league stadium in America, and by embracing the "anything is possible" mantra, the Jernigans have been to Memphis sports what Belz, Turley, and Herenton have been to downtown redevelopment in general.

Today, Memphis is anything but minor-league. Just try to drive around downtown on the weekend, even if the Redbirds are on the road.It's "Memphis, Big Time," as the Grizzlies' marketing folks like to say. Going "Big Time" is what today is all about.

A New Day At Galloway

And speaking of sports ... We'd be remiss if we didn't make note of the city's reopening -- and remarkable reinvention -- of Galloway Golf Course. Sporting a new moniker --The Links At Galloway -- and a whole new look, the course architects managed to retain the character that made the venerable track a city favorite for decades while updating the layout to modern standards.

Two hundred golfers gave the course a tryout Monday, and it was difficult to find anyone who didn't give the new look rave reviews. A variety of tee boxes makes the course playable for all handicap levels, and the new lakes and waterfalls give it a real country club look.

There was a great deal of skepticism -- and criticism -- when the project was first announced, but the end results seem to have proven the naysayers wrong. The Links At Galloway is a hit so far. To those in city government who pulled it off, all we can say is "nice shot."

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