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.


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