Thursday, October 24, 2013

If Nick Saban leaves early, Alabama fans will be to blame.

Rude, spoiled, arrogant, and lazy. I could go on, but those all apply to the behavior of  some Alabama fans. I won't quote the things some Alabama fans have said, but let's just say that there are plenty of Alabama fans that like leaving the game early, and they don't like anyone, not even Nick Saban asking them to do otherwise. They have a thing or two to tell Nick Saban for opening his mouth and having the audacity to make the suggestion that they stay for four quarters. Well, I have a thing or two to say myself, and one of them is that money doesn't make someone a good Alabama fan. Attending, or graduating from the University of Alabama does not automatically make someone a good Alabama fan either.

What exactly did Nick Saban say to get some "fans" so worked up? 13635150-mmmain
"I've talked about players playing for 60 minutes in the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game," Saban said. "And, in some kind of way, everybody that chooses to go to the game should stay there and support the team for the game."

Nick Saban said that A-Day attendance helped Alabama get that first #1 recruiting class in 2008 (the backbone to a couple championships). How did we respond as fans? We keep showing up in smaller numbers for A-Day. Ricky Town, the #1 QB in the 2015 class commits to Alabama, and cites A-Day game attendance. Meh... we decide leaving in the four quarter isn't good enough, we should leave in the third quarter. Then, Saban makes his remarks, and talks about recruiting, and we get downright mad. Just imagine if the players were as hard to coach as we are as fans?

The fans rushing out of the stadium during the game want us to know that they paid for that ticket, just like they paid for their tickets to see Tom Cruise movies, and go to Justin Beiber concerts. It is their right to walk out on the team early, because they paid good money to do so! But, this is to forget what being a fan really means, what it really entails. Those who thought the role of a fan was meaningless were proven wrong during the Albert Means case. We all learned then, that the role of a fan can have a massive impact and it isn't necessarily positive. Even the Harvey Updyke case is a testament to that, as one Alabama fan's foolishness lead to a great deal of bad press. How about the brick through Bill Curry's window?

Alabama fans are typically great fans, and without them the Alabama football program couldn't even afford to keep their doors open. But, Alabama fans lose focus easily. We can fill up a massive stadium, and then we can empty it out before the game is over, leaving players on the field disappointed, and recruits unimpressed. We can demand greatness, than become shrill and irrational when the team falters. We want the team to play great for four quarters, we demand a blowout, and then we leave in the middle of said blowout.

We are spoiled, and I was a part of it in the past. When Alabama won their championship in 1992, I was 11. I had just become really aware of football, (I have distant memories of the Bill Curry era), and I quickly had a sense of entitlements. Alabama had 12 championships, those were supposed to come regularly. When Gene Stallings didn't win another in short order, and ran a boring offense, I wanted him gone. Then came Dubose, Fran, Price, and Shula. Each one at their best, a pale shadow of Gene Stallings. At their worse they were complete embarrassments. The lesson was clear, appreciate a good thing while you have it!

Saban has delivered such greatness, that even older Alabama fans have settled into compliancy, spelled only by bouts of annoyance when the Alabama team doesn't absolutely crush an opponent. For some, that's just settling back into the Bear Bryant era, in which any year Alabama wasn't contenting for a championship was a complete and utter failure. But, the pressure we are putting on the team, and Nick Saban himself is overwhelming. Can Nick take it? Sure, but that doesn't make it pleasant, and if it starts to spill over and have a negative impact on the team and recruiting, he might not want to tolerate it any more.

This gets to the heart of the issue. Nick Saban will retire, and the odds are he does that well before he's 70. I don't think he'll leave for another job, he's 62 and he's built something special here. But, don't kid ourselves. We can push him into "early" retirement. He doesn't have to deal with us, he has money, he's had success, at this point we're getting bonus time out of Nick Saban. We should appreciate every moment of it, and soak up all the coaching and accept the fact that we are unlikely to see a run like this again in our lifetimes. Even if it didn't have a negative impact on the program when we left early, why would we want to miss one second of Nick Saban's all too short time at Alabama? Even if it didn't help with recruiting, why wouldn't we want to bring our whole family to the A-Day game, to let them all see Nick Saban at work, and leave them all with a special memory?

We are terrified of Nick Saban leaving, we demand championships, we demand blowouts, and the team playing hard for four quarters. But, showing up for the A-Day game? "It's too hot", staying for four quarters? "It's a long drive home". We can somehow be apathetic and overbearing at the same time! It's am amazing feat really. Some refuse to go to A-Day game because it's "meaningless" (but free), then the same people leave early during paid games, citing their paid ticket as justification for leaving early. It's a wonderful sort of logic that is born of entitlements and laziness. This Alabama team is like having a super model for a wife, and may be it's just me, but I think having a super model for a wife is something you make the most of. Instead, some Alabama fans are somehow using that as an excuse to be indifferent. I mean, look at her, she's just wearing a regular nightgown tonight (yawn), I have better things to do... Seriously?!? Looks fade, and Nick Saban will retire eventually.

Keep acting like spoiled, ungrateful jerks. Saban will be gone sooner or later no matter what, and you'll all have a lot more riveting games to attend. You can go back to nail biters, you can go back to tight fourth quarter games, and I guess you'll be more entertained. Me? I enjoy the blowouts, I like the championships, and seeing the second team in the second quarter. That's championship level football, too bad we don't have enough championship level fans.


David L. said...

Well said, Dave! Living in Colorado now, I wish that I could take those fans' place who think it's ok to leave early. Football here is simply not the same caliber or quality and I miss dearly my days at Bryant-Denny.

David L. said...

Maybe if Alabama played actual teams and not Georgia State and Colorado State the fans wouldn't get bored of 50-0 halftime games. I am an Alabama fan, but sometimes it is a chore to sit through those games.

David L. said...

50-0 halftime games? Bama has only scored 50 points in one game so far. Granted, we've got a weaker schedule this year, but the previous 4 schedules make up for it easily.

David L. said...

Well, we are talking about fans leaving in the third quarter during
an SEC game. Arkansas, which is a traditional football power. This isn't
really about the quality of the game, it's more that Alabama fans are
bored with greatness. I hate the close games, those are the ones I can't
stand. It's almost as though the fans really want to go back to the dark days or "entertaining" Shula football.

David L. said...

I don't think i could go to the Shula days where the players grilled ribs on the sidelines and hand signaled their girlfriends in the stands....Saban got rid of the grills and made them watch the game ...just in case they got to play....

David L. said...

um....... what?

David L. said...

outstanding verbiage and point. You are on point about the difference
in the generations. As a child I grew up with the Winning legendary
Bama and Bear. Went through the whole debacle with the string of bad
coaches and most importantly the one step less than the death penalty
sanctions after 92. I was a huge Gene Stallings supporter and still
respect his ethics today and his coaching principle. When my children
were born one of the things I feared most after their health and safety
was never knowing and being a part of that Alabama Football Culture. To
describe it is like trying to explain to a deaf man what a song sounds
like. However, my kids have got to know that Alabama Football that is
more like a religion to some of us and be a part of that. I would like
to add one thing to your so well stated post....I too have heard many
say well you cannot tell me what to do or when I come and go. First off
spoiled is correct and he never told them they had was a request.
Alabama hired Saban and he agreed to come to Bama and he has stayed
because we bought into his policy and way. Saban believes wholehearted
in the fans and as much as he may get on to them some ...he does that
because he knows the importance that they are to his team, his future
recruits....sometimes even the difference in plays during the game
because of the noise. If anything they should feel privileged as Saban
only gives credit where credit is due. To get his approval takes much
commitment and perseverance. However, since that aspect has fallen
completely off the radar to these students...The technical aspect of the
attitude can be summed up in...simply telling them. You are
wrong.....Those tickets are blocked seating reserved for a group or
organization within the University based upon conditions. Those tickets
come with a contractual agreement to the organization with guidelines
and yes, he can tell you that you have to stay or
else...because leaving early is deemed unacceptable behavior and is
spelled out in the agreement between the University and the Group point is that if you do not like to follow
rules...and you think that you are way more vested than being
told...easy up like the rest of the student body and first
come first serve....otherwise, realize we are big kids now in college
and you better get used to someone expecting something from you, and
might as well learn now that everything you do from now on in life comes
with conditions and requirements and once you learn how to follow what
is laid out before you and expected of you....the better it will be and
the more mature you will appear.

David L. said...

Not in this year's attendance they don't. That's the point. People aren't showing up NOW. Doesn't matter that they once did.

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