I created this blog at first as a way to inform the multiple members and our out-of-town guests of the details of our home game tailgates. It served that purpose well I believe but it also gave me an oppurtunity to put some ideas out there and entwine myself with a community that I have come to enjoy; the blogosphere; mainly blogs that focus on college football.
For a few weeks it was a lot of fun. Then my beloved Crimson Tide mailed it in at the end of the season and to be honest, my feelings were hurt. I didn’t want to come across as the Polyanna that I am when it comes to the University of Alabama and their athletic programs. It seemed that all the haters jumped on the bandwagon and our team could do nothing to defend our collective pride.
You see, I am not a college football expert. I never played (which is now a regret of mine, even if my small size and total lack of athletic ability would have made it difficult, I never coached and my knowledge comes only from observation and the discussion with the uniformed masses of fans just like me. I once heard former Alabama Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines say in an address to a group he was speaking to, “Everybody, including my wife, thinks they know how to coach a football team.” I couldn’t agree more. But the problem is, when everyone talks about football and their love for their team, one way or the other the talk turns to how to fix this problem or that and that, my friends is coaching. I did not and do not want to participate in that conversation for the simple fact that my comments will ultimately show my ignorance and if there is anything that I hate more than being ignorant, or being shown as ignorant I cannot begin to think what it would be.
Therefore, when I decided to write more than just about what time the tailgate would be and what the featured menu item would be I decided to write about the emotions that surround football in the south, at least as much as I witness and understand them. I would have a hard time calling an offensive play on second and goal from the 6 in overtime but I can without question tell you how the result of that play makes me feel.
After Alabama lost to Mississippi State and the subsequent two losses this past season, there was just not the will to put my feelings “out there.” Looking through the blogs and news outlets that I normally peruse just left me feeling empty, and mad, and disgusted, and ashamed, and anxious, and hopeful. Yes, I said it – hopeful. Granted this is probably the time that I should have been cataloging my emotions as there were so many floating around but I just couldn’t find the drive to say something and risk putting myslef in one of the many camps of Alabama Fans right now; dellusional, apologist, ignorant, humble, short-sighted. Because at heart I am a little of all of those and none of those.
I learned or rather had the idea reinforced that a lot of other fans don’t like Alabama and enjoy seeing our program fail. There are people right now, mainly in our own state that are laughing at the obvious missteps that have been made. That hurts. It hurts because since I have been a small child I have loved this University and revelled in its success. The heartache that comes from its losses and troubles are also just as real. For the majority of this life I have worn the Univeristy of Alabama litterally on my sleeve. Before you label my crazy, please consider that there are many, many things in this world that are more important. A loss on the field is never to be compared to the loss of life; maybe to put it best I could say that I am thankful that I live in a time and place where most concerns cease for a few hours on fall Saturdays and I can concentrate on young men playing a game and the opportunities that it creates to fellowship with friends and foe alike. There are millions of people in the world right now that do not have that luxury. But, one thing that I do, year in and year out is follow my football team and by common connection team of other competing institutions. There is joy as the number of days shrink down to the first kickoff every year and a touch of sadness as the last second ticks off the clock in the championship game and with it the knowledge that it is two thirds of a year before we can fully enjoy it again.
So that brings me to today, or rather to last night. I stopped by a local bar on my way home from a crushing defeat of the youth basketball team that I volunteer to coach. A good friend bought me an especially good glass of bourbon and as I settled into my seat good another friend asks me if I had given up the blog. (See, he blogs himself and while it isn’t football it certainly can be entertaining. Check him out it you get a chance.) I gave him the short version of what I have recorded above and he gave me several good words of encouragement. Enough encouragement that I felt compelled to type this out today and also to make these goals/commitments: I am going to blog more. In fact the off-season may actually be a better time to blog because there is so much more theoretical things to discuss (playoffs vs. bowls, recruiting, coaching changes, conferences that suck, etc.); I might expand a little bit into other things that I enjoy discussing (poker, college basketball, St. Patricks’s Day, beer, cooking, etc.) ; I am going to take a little more time to read blogs that I enjoy and actually start commenting more.
In conclusion this blog will continue and hopefully without two-month lapses between posts. If you have been here before, thanks for coming back, let me know what you think. If you stumbled upon this accidentally, thanks for checking it out, come back often and let me know what you think as well.
And finally, thanks Drexel, that was the little shove that I needed