Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Can we give Tua Tagovailoa a break, please?

Why are people angry or resentful towards a 21-year old football player who has yet to make a real adult decision in his whole life? Can any of those venting frustration at him remember when they were 21? When that's all they ever were was 21 at the time?

Just in case you're a cave dweller who hasn't heard, Tua Tagovailoa suffered a  dreaded "high ankle sprain" late in the second quarter last Saturday night when a Tennessee defender tried to tackle him from behind. He left the game walking on his own two feet, but sat out the second half and will miss the game this Saturday.

Man... the angst of the Bama Nation is so thick you can taste it. No, it's so thick you can wear it.

The chief lines of complaint from some Bama fans is that the phenom tries too hard. He therefore puts himself at risk of serious injury when he doesn't have to. When he tries too hard, he makes mistakes. His impetuousness is selfishness manifested when he tries to make something out of nothing. He's hurting himself and his NFL draft prospects because he makes himself injury prone.

Stop lying. Stop lying to yourself, and stop pretending that the only reason for your concern is that you're thinking of him. No, you're not. You're whining because when he's not playing, the Tide's chance of winning every single game  and winning a championship for your tribe favorite football team goes down. You aren't anxious for Tua. You're anxious for yourself.

You've waited since January to get the chance to cheer and brag and strut again. You realize that a healthy Tua is a big reason why you've been able to relax and enjoy a 7-0 record and No. 1 ranking in the polls. Bama's doing the work. They're getting ish done and he's kickin' ass and takin' names and he's why.

Then Tua goes and does something hasty or, in your estimation, "ill-advised." As if you had taken that snap, rolled to your left and would not have gotten your ankle rolled up a split second after your "well-advised" decision to hold that ball just one more fraction of a second.

There are 10 other gifted athletes sharing the field with Tua Tagovailoa. They make him better; he makes them better. It's a team. They play together. You're on the team, too. You cheer and they play. Coaches make judgments and decisions and you don't. You're ok when they're ok. What?

Tua is the most remarkable athlete to play quarterback at Alabama in my memory. He may be the best ever. He's certainly the most selfless I've ever seen, so the selfishness of fans venting on talk radio, social media and even water cooler soapboxes is appalling. For cripes sake... the guy is trying to make a play against Alabama's most storied rival. At home. In a night game. With 100,000 or so watching in person and millions more watching via live TV. At age 21. Would I be brave when I was that age...

You have the gall to complain? You act like your real concern is his health and well-being. Be honest. Your real fear is that without Tua, your team isn't good enough to win it all. By extension, you might look bad and you might have to face tribes fans of other teams if your tribe team isn't the very best.

Thankfully, Tua is not seriously injured. He will heal. He's under the care of the best physicians in college sports medicine. His tenacity and spirit is unquestionable. He'll be fine, but I seriously wonder whether some fans are healthy enough not to look for a scapegoat if the tribe doesn't finish first.

It's just a game. He's just 21. He'll be fine and so will you. If you want to be.

Roll Tide.


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