Wednesday, January 9, 2013

on alabama football & living history


i live in the college football capitol of the world. yes, i said it, the world. if you think you'll find a place on this planet where we love college football more than alabama, you're sorely mistaken. due to our lack of pro teams, at birth, we are assigned to one of "the sides" - are you alabama, or auburn? a rare few are designated neutral, but only until about elementary school when someone brings them over to the dark side and hands them a pom pom. once you're old enough to say "roll tide" or "war eagle", it's journey to a bizarre and fascinating world where pro sports don't exist and families are ripped apart.

it sounds pretty crazy, right? i mean, i don't watch certain football games with a certain half of my family. we just can't - and by we, i mean "the alabama side" - because the rivalry gets a little too intense. when i was younger, i remember "the auburn side" of the family would call and leave taunting voicemails on our machine after defeating alabama in the iron bowl (those were bad, bad years, y'all). when i started dating a guy who graduated from auburn, we decided not to talk about football. sometimes we do anyway, and we just have to stop because we'll never agree. it's a blacklisted subject with he and i. yes, it's serious. it's crazy. it's completely irrational. but it's all awesomely fun... especially when you're the one winning.

before i decided to come to the university of alabama, i'll admit, i didn't care much about football. there's a lot more to my university than football, despite the fact that our quarterback's girlfriend is plastered across the news and it might be the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about my state. in fact, my greatest college memories have basically nothing to do with it. yes, i go to "the football school", but hey, give us a little credit - we're a historic, beautiful research university with over 30,000 students. and guess what? i know a few people who are about to graduate and have never been to a game.

as i'm writing this, i'm struggling to find a point to drive home. here i am saying football is life, it's a big deal, we live it. which is true. yet, i also want to stress that it's not all we've got going on down here. if you've never been to alabama, take a trip to huntsville, birmingham, tuscaloosa or even the most beautiful area in the state (i'm biased), baldwin county. the politics may be screwy and the stereotypes about alabama run rampant, but we're all pretty good people. at least that's what i've learned in 22 years.

on monday night, my university won it's 15th national championship. everyone in the country hates us now and can't wait for us to lose, i'm sure. but can i just say how incredible of an experience it's been for me? i attended this university during one of the most historic periods of the past century. in 2009, we won a national championship. in 2011, a tornado destroyed tuscaloosa and changed my life in ways i never imagined possible. and for the past 2 years, our football program has brought us even more attention and insanity by winning 2 more national championships. it's really fun to see your classmates and peers so happy. it's awesome to see the opportunities it brings. it's awesome to come together with a bunch of people and want the same thing. and hell, tuscaloosa calls itself "the city of champions" now.

i'm happy that i could end my college career with a bang. i'm proud to be from alabama, football or not, and i love seeing the people at my university so happy. roll tide, y'all.


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