As I sat and watched Alabama’s basketball team collapse in Baton Rogue on Saturday and eventually lose in triple overtime, I was reminded of one thing. Alabama is, and will always be a football school.
Alabama has had its fair share of ups and downs in football. From Mike Price to Nick Saban, from losing six straight to Auburn to winning three of the last four BCS National Championships. No matter what the score, the quality of the opponent, or the team’s record on the year, Braynt-Denny Stadium will always be packed on Saturdays.
Why is this? Is it because we are creatures of habit? We are taught in the cradle that Alabama fans live and die by their football team? Partially. Football isn’t a game in Alabama, it’s not even a passionate hobby, it’s a lifetime devotion. A 365 day all-consuming fandom.
I’ve concluded there is nothing basketball, baseball, or even softball can do to truly win over the hearts of Alabama fans. Sure, Alabama won a gymnastics, women’s golf, and softball national title in 2012, but in ten years no one will remember the excitement of the Crimson Tide’s narrow victory over Oklahoma on a rain-drenched softball diamond in Oklahoma City. But they will remember Nick Saban hoisting the crystal ball overhead in the Super Dome after redeeming a late season loss to LSU in stunning fashion.
So, as a fan of Alabama athletics and not just football, what is there to do? That’s just it, there’s nothing. Alabama fans live and die by the performance of their football team. Sure, it’s fun for most to get behind another sport, but as soon as the basketball team is left out of the NCAA Tournament or loses in the first round, that fun is short lived. There’s only one conclusion, Alabama is, and always will be a football school.
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