Action News 5 Rocks 24-7-365 But Keeps One Eye On Tigers | News
We're pretty passionate people here at Action News 5. We're dedicated to creating quality journalism for our amazing audience. We do it every morning, noon and night, 365 days a year!
We enjoy doing our jobs and most of us feel blessed to work here, I'd guess.
But on Friday afternoon, March 18 at around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, one by one, each of us who play this ultimate team sport of TV news, found a way to multi-task with one eye on the Tigers!
I took an eye off the screen and peered through the newsroom window at the usually busy Union Ave. Chick-Fil-A next door to our TV station. Normally, the chicken joint would be packed after school on a Friday afternoon. But at game time, it looked like a ghost town. Tiger Nation was transfixed. The youngest team in the 2011 NCAA tournament didn't care about being intimidated by "the big dance" and Memphis and the Mid-South became a captive audience.
Rest assured Action News 5 is Tiger Nation.
Yes, Andy Wise went to Auburn. My engaging co-anchor Ursula Madden is a devoted Oregon Duck. I myself hail from the land of the Christian Brothers University Buccaneers at Central and East Parkway. But when the Tigers are playing in the N-C-double-As, we're all of the same stripe: Tiger Blue and Gray!
Of course, the U of M is the alma mater of many in our newsroom; Dave Brown and Jarvis Greer lead the WMC Tiger Alumni Association.
We completed our work in fits and starts while keeping one eye sharply focused on an unauthorized TV channel so we could witness the incredible 'Clash of the Cats.'The Tigers of the University of Memphis and the Wildcats of the University of Arizona had brackets shaking nationwide. It didn't hurt that our supervisors had the game on in their offices.The #12 seeded Tigers came out of the gates like a house on fire in their first round basketball battle with the #5 seeded Wildcats in Tulsa, OK. The youthful team from the banks of the Mighty Mississippi played with a spring in their step and showed no respect for their elder statesmen from the deserts of Tucson, Arizona. It was a sight to behold.
We yelped. We slapped high fives. We texted 'told-you-so" messages to the Tiger unfaithful, TV basketball analyst Charles Barkley chief among them.
Our newsroom, probably like offices across Memphis and Tiger Nation households across America, shook with cheers of joy at the start as the Tigers jumped out to a ten point lead! We hollered cries of jubilation as the youthful Memphis team played with swagger and went toe to toe with their more senior counterparts. The Tigers led the battle most of the way.
But then came the agonizing screams prompted by Arizona's amazing comeback, a 12-2 run late in the battle. PAC 10 player of the year Derrick Williams---who had considered becoming a Tiger himself just a couple years back---hit a 3 pointer that gave the 'Cats a three point advantage. That's when some of our staff got too nervous to watch. They followed the action via the "oooos" and "ahhs" and an occassional four letter word that made us happy a scout troop wasn't taking the station tour at this precise moment.
We bellowed at the thrilling ending as All American Derrick Williams of Arizona appeared from nowhere. Williams blocked what at first appeared to be an open lay up by Tiger Wesley Witherspoon that would have tied this great game. Instead, it ended 77-75, a 'W' for Arizona. While many of us felt the referees left a lot to be desired in this contest, the Tigers' gentleman coach Josh Pastner had only complimentary comments about the how the game was called. We're proud of our Tigers. We're thrilled they won the C-USA tournament and made it to the dance. We look forward with gleeful anticipation to next year.
Now, time to get back to work. We have a newscast ready to present to you in just a few minutes. You'll understand if our voices sound a litte hoarse and it appears we might have shed a tear or two. Like I said, we're pretty passionate people.