Alabama Crimson Tide: The cruel irony of a dominant year

Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via USA TODAY Sports /

Not everything is perfect for the Alabama Crimson Tide

Fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide expect excellence in all they do. This was the standard long before Nick Saban flew into Tuscaloosa, and it will remain long after he retires. In every sport, Alabama wants to beat rivals and win titles.

Using that ever-present goal as a marker for success, the 2020-21 academic year has to be the greatest in the history of Alabama athletics. While individual teams may have seen more success in previous years, the collective unit of the Alabama Crimson Tide did amazing things this year.

Alabama football went undefeated, won a national championship and saw the third player in program history win the Heisman Trophy. The Tide likely had the best team of all time, and they tied the record for most first-round picks taken in a single NFL draft.

All of Alabama’s basketball teams raised the standard as well. The men’s team swept the conference titles and make it to the Sweet 16 for the first time in many fans’ lives. The women’s team made it to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament and also had a player taken in the first round of the WNBA Draft, and the women’s wheelchair basketball team won a second straight national title.

Alabama also had a strong year for the gymnastics program that included two individual national titles, four All-Americans and an SEC title for the team.

From track and field to golf, Alabama has had a successful year. The total resume keeps building as Montana Fouts pitched a perfect game in the Women’s College World Series and the baseball team remains alive in the NCAA Tournament. With Alabama softball looking to win its second national title in program history, the list of achievements could be considerably longer by the official end of the athletic calendar.

However, that brings us to the cruel irony of this season. In the greatest year for sports in Alabama Crimson Tide history, most fans were unable to attend. Football and basketball games had limited seating for their historic runs, and many students were unable to win tickets for any games this season.

Thankfully, fans are slowly being welcomed back for games. Alabama softball’s final games in Tuscaloosa had great crowds, and next year looks to be a chance for full stadiums once again. However, this will be the year that most fans’ favorite memories happened while watching on the television as opposed to in the stadiums.

Now, it was still a great thing that the seasons happened. This time last year, nothing was guaranteed. That being said, the players deserved full crowds cheering their names as they made history for Alabama.

It was not Alabama’s fault that fans were unable to attend games, but that adds to the cruelty. If anything, athletes sacrificed more this year to maintain safe seasons. They gave up normal experiences that come with being college students. The reward of history may even the scales, but it still hurts for all parties involved that so many great teams were robbed from the normalcy of having full crowds.

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For athletes who choose to return next season, fans should bring two years of cheers into the crowds. The beauty of attending games in person should never be taken for granted again.