Kelly Lambert-US PRESSWIRE

GumpStrong: What's Your Most Embarrassing Piece of Alabama Gear?


Alabama fans are a passionate lot.  The degree to which we outwardly display our Tide pride varies greatly amongst our tribe, with some of us opting for a gameday ensemble of crimson polo or t-shirt, and others rocking body paint and a box of Tide detergent on a stick.

It’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of Alabama fans own at least one item of clothing, memorabilia or paraphernalia that falls into the Gump category. For those unaware, the term ‘Gump’ is one that is often used by rival fans to describe Alabama fans.  It references the title character from Winston Groom’s book turned movie Forrest Gump, who is a simple-minded man from Alabama who leads an extraordinary life.

I have two items that are positively Gump-tastic.  The first is a set of plastic Alabama-themed wine goblets.

Let that sink in a minute. Plastic. Colored. Polka Dot. Wine Goblets.

Now in all fairness, I didn’t actually purchase these; they were a gift. I’m not saying they have never been used, though. Let’s say hypothetically that I used one to drink bourbon on the rocks during an Alabama game and the Tide happened to win that game. It would be safe to assume that I used the same goblet with the same drink until Alabama lost a game. With my Tide goblets, my cup runneth over with Gump greatness.

My other somewhat embarrassing item is my Alabama hat.  Instead of a tasteful crimson cap with a white script A, my headgear goes in a different direction. That’s right, Alabama’s unofficial third color, houndstooth.

Needless to say, my size medium Nike houndstooth Alabama cap does not invoke the awe and reverence that Coach Bryant did when he wore the pattern. Compounding the goofiness is that my head size is smack in between an adult small and medium, so my ears stick out like the love child of Dumbo and Tommy Tuberville.

I know I should leave the houndstooth to the two blondes that always seem to find the TV camera during home games, but the Tide have been on a roll since I obtained the hat, so I foresee it being in my starting lineup for a long time. As a bonus, when I wear it in the presence of my lone Auburn fan friend (the guy is from Boston and attended college in Florida but claims Barn loyalty) it really gets under his skin. That alone is reason enough to keep wearing my ill-fitting houndstooth headgear.

So there you have it. Having confessed to my Gumping ways, my soul is cleansed. What about you? What’s the dark secret of your Crimson Tide fandom? What ill-conceived purchase sits in your darkened closet, waiting to be worn on gameday?

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