Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marking Milestones in Alabama's Latest Title

On Friday, Jan 8 2010 I wrote a blog post with this same title- it had been at that time, almost 18 years between wins and the post was about how intertwined my life is with Alabama football and all the memories associated with it.

Now, almost exactly 2 years later- here I sit again and I am amazed how much change has taken place in such a short time. We have changed jobs, moved back to Birmingham, and have our oldest daughter in college!

And how about the state of Alabama? - 3 national titles in a row!

I do remember being a little jealous of the people in Alabama in 2010- my family was telling me about all the pandemonium. And even though Nashville is a decent sports town- the excitement over football would be a '4' on a scale of 1-10 with Alabama being a '14'.

So it was special this year- got to watch the 1st half with great friends..ribs..chicken with white sauce..Paula Dean's mashed potatoes- round the clock coverage.

And then the most fun of all- going out AFTER the game and shopping at Academy sports with hundreds of other crazy fans. The trucks were revving their engines and Roll Tide filled the air!

So as I read the blog from 2 years ago- not much is different.
The Passion for Alabama Football- unchanged
The Testimony part would be Tim Tebow (thrilling throw the night before as an appetizer)
And my desire to keep digging is unquenched.

To be honest- the way my Nashville adventure ended eroded some of my confidence- but never my fire. It took the great people of Alabama and the great passion of Alabama football, especially in Birmingham, to restore my winners charge!

Yesterday, I helped take our next year's team through a brutal sandpit workout after a pounding weight workout. They worked hard and fast. People who don't come to Alabama just don't get it- there is an explosiveness and competitiveness here that is different- you can taste it and smell it.

So for any football doubters out there, I am here to tell you...you ain't seen nothing yet!

The post from 2010 is below:

Friday, January 08, 2010

Marking Milestones in Alabama's Latest Title

this is an upload from my blog: www.jayopsis.blogspot.com

As we watched Alabama win the national title last night, I couldn’t help but think about the last time we did this and all the change that has taken place.
The last time I could afford season tickets to the Alabama games was 1992. Lisa and I splurged and attended every home game that season. We never saw them lose. They won ugly back then too- rugged defense and making sure the offense didn’t screw it up. But that is how it has always been done at Alabama for as long as I can remember. Finding a way to win- it is the will to win in the 4th quarter.
One milestone that season was the first SEC championship game at Legion field. I managed to find one ticket and went. That night was the first time I ever talked on a cell phone. It was my friend’s that I went with and I called my wife from the stadium…. Amazed that I could do that. Antonio Langham intercepted Shane Matthews to seal the SEC championship and an opportunity to win the National Title.
And we watched (on TV at home) Gene Stallings carried off the field on the shoulders of his players after the Sugar Bowl victory over Miami. To be honest, I like that ceremony much better than the Gatorade dump. Is there a symbol there?

Now flash forward to 2010. I am living in Nashville, enjoying the win with a household of beautiful girls and thinking how much time has gone by.
These things are markers and memories. These will dim over time. But while it is fresh on my mind I wanted to write a couple of thoughts and hopefully re-read these one day with good, warm thoughts.

The Passion for Alabama Football
People make fun of it, but it is a part of Alabama. I grew up with Leonard’s losers, John Forney radio broadcasts, Sunday Bear Bryant shows, and dreaming of being a part of the Crimson Tide. It is what Alabamians do, and it creates energy and unity – a huge heart for football takes someone at the top who can pull it all into a unified confidence. Is it too much? Probably, but that's what they do, it is in the DNA of the Crimson Tide world. When Ricky Bobby said' If you ain't first, you're last" most people in the nation laughed, people from Alabama said "Amen". Alabama fans cannot be held together by anything less than a coaching persona. How many people are there in the football world that can take on that mantle? So love him or hate him- Saban is one of the very few who can survive and thrive at a place like that.

The Testimony of Colt McCoy
He was so full of emotion that he had to pause twice to answer. He was crushed.
And then he said it- " I always give God the glory, I never question why things happen the way they do. God is in control of my life, and if I know nothing else, I'm standing on the rock.” Wow- that guy is a champion!

The Inspiration to Keep Digging and Doing It Right
As a football coach, I get so inspired by the champions and the winners. The things they say are more than clich├ęs. I have to continue to push, press, learn, evaluate and apply. As I write this, I am able to look at 3 state championship rings I was privileged to be a part of. I want to get back there again. And each year, you see what it is- a group of highly dedicated and united individuals, who lay all the selfishness aside and fight with every fiber in their being. They work and compete as champions. Alabama’s title began over a year ago after a humiliating loss to Utah.

So I am ready to run after it again… today.. in every area. Knowing that I too am standing on a rock.

1 comment:

Mike Hearon said...

Jay, my son Keith is a PHD student in Texas but does some free lance writing. Thought you might want to see his take on Saban. Mike Hearon

"We didn't do a lot different," Saban commented (Associated Press).

Alabama never does. The Crimson Tide won its eighth AP national championship Monday night and its fourteenth overall claimed national title, 21-0 over LSU. Quarterback AJ McCarron passed for 234 yards, and Trent Richardson rushed for 96 yards and 1 touchdown. During the 2011 NCAA football season, while billionaires were boosting Big 12 and PAC 12 programs to transient prominence and self-entitled lobbying for national championship game bids, the Tide's defense was pounding away, hit after hit, practice after practice. To earn a rematch with LSU in the national title game, Alabama needed a few other teams to lose in November, but more importantly, it needed to become (or re-become) itself. While other conventional football powers were facing the punitive consequences of scandal in 2011, the Tide, having recently weathered its own NCAA firestorm, remained steadfast in its goal of re-gaining the national title it won over Mac Brown's McCoylless Longhorns in 2010. Iconic coach Paul Bear Bryant established Alabama football's dominance in the 1960's and 70's with a formidable run game and an unstoppable defense, and tonight, Nick Saban might as well have been wearing Houndstooth.

Actually, Saban is above Houndstooth. One day, his picture will hang next to the Bear's in the homes of the Alabama faithful. He has established his own legacy, which will be forever entrenched in Alabama lore. In three seasons, he resurrected a storied program that had not won a national title in 17 years. He brought the Tide its first Heisman Trophy winner, and consequently his statue outside Bryant-Denny Stadium stands with a distinguished air. He is revered and feared by Alabama fans, who came 92,000 in number to witness his first spring practice game in 2007. He is above the bickering of the thousands of football enthusiasts who believed his team was unworthy of playing in New Orleans on January 9th, 2012, and his defense put on what is arguably the greatest defensive performance in the history of NCAA football championship games.

If there ever were a time for a "plus one" system, now is that time. Oklahoma State should play Alabama with eleven players, plus one extra.