I Need You To Understand & Accept Why Alabama Football Means So Much To Me

bamaI’ve had this hat since 1993, the last time Alabama won  the national championship.

For the most part, growing up in Los Angeles college football is all about USC and UCLA. For me since I was 7 years it has aways been about Alabama.  The Crimson Tide.

My fantasy when I walked on the Beverly Hills High School football team at the beginning of my sophomore year of high school in the fall of 1979? It was to get a scholarship to play as starting tight end for Coach Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama.

My neglible skills on that junior varsity team relegated me mostly to the bench, but throughout that nonchampionship season spent mostly being a tackling dummy in practices and keeping the sidelines warm during games, I never let go of my dream, at least not until the end of the season when the most important thing to the coach wasn’t my growth as an athlete or my return next year, but rather my return of the uniform ,  failure of which would subject me to a $150 charge. Asshole. But hell, it was Beverly Hills in the early ’80s. Everyone was an asshole when I was in high school.

It was a good thing I eventually did loosen my grasp on the fantasy. Had I remained a football player and even if I’d somehow managed to rise above to a greater scholarship-worthy skill set, it would have all been for naught.  Because in my senior year of high school, Coach Bryant announced his retirement and then up and died a few months later.

Still I was heartbroken. I would never play for The Bear.

But I’ve always been the President of Alabama’s west coast fan club, the ranks of which include me. And my mom, who is an Alabama alum — which is the foundation of my rabidity for its football program. Having never known my abandoning father nor what school he might have rooted for, Paul Bryant became something of a surrogate for me. I’d watch whatever games were broadcast here in Los Angeles and I’d study images of him on the TV screens.

And I wanted him to be proud of me.

I’m writing all this because besides me and my mom most Southern Californians don’t give much of a shit for the fact that Alabama played the Florida Gators today for the SEC Championship. And though few people outside of that great state had any hopes that they’d upset the top-ranked team in the country led by holy-rolling quarterback Tim Tebow, ‘Bama ended up righteously kicking some motherfucking Gator ass: 32-13.

Holy shit, indeed.

Throughout the telecast, I yelled. I shouted. I cried. I cheered. I bitched. I moaned. I lost my voice. I stomped. I tromped. I got sideways glances from my wife and every creature in the house with my antics. But even I didn’t expect the victory to be so lopsided in a game I tweeted at various points from start to finish (after the jump, if that sorta thing interests you):

  1. Time to don my Bama cap because it’s gametime! Roll Tide! about 4 hours ago from web
  2. 3 and out for the gators on their first drive! LOVE THAT about 4 hours ago from Tweetie
  3. Bama inthe red zone and Fla Coach Meyer looking a little nervous! about 4 hours ago from Tweetie
  4. TOUCHDOWN BAMA GAWDAMA FOFAMA SLAMMA JAMMA about 4 hours ago from Tweetie
  5. But Bama kicker Tiffin then has to blow the extra point. GAH about 4 hours ago from Tweetie
  6. Tebow with the biblical references scrawled into his eyeblack. What a jesustool about 4 hours ago from Tweetie
  7. Gators are on the board with a FG. 9-3 Bama about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  8. Well Bama’s first wildcat formation didn’t go very well -1st quarter done about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  9. Roll Tide 34 yard gain! That’s called getting BEAT! http://twitpic.com/sax39 about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  10. Bama QB McElroy just Barishnikov’d along the sideline to the best first down ever! about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  11. Bama QB sacked. Sigh about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  12. Bama FG good, 12-3 about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  13. Gotta give props to Tebow. Dude’s an animal. about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  14. Gator TDs make me sad about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  15. Bama just burned the hell outta the gators for a 69-yard gain. Way to answer back Tide about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  16. Bama TDs make me happy about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  17. Nice gator answer-back for a 59 yarder. Sigh about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  18. Sorry, but when Fla fans do that gator chomp clap they look like littlebus riders about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  19. Fla FG, 19-13 Bama lead about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  20. Bama goes into halftime with the lead from 268 total yards of offense. about 3 hours ago from Tweetie
  21. There are 2 quarters left in this SEC championship. I will not waiver in my belief that my Alabama can and will win. Roll Tide! about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  22. I’ve little doubt that in the locker room, Fla QB Tebow told his mates “follow me 2 victory,” whether they oblige will determine the outcome about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  23. First 2nd half possession for Fla: 3 and out. That’s huge about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  24. BTW: I’ve imbibed entirely too much fully loaded Pennsylvania Dutch nog about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  25. Wait. Another gator 3 and out? I’ll take it about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  26. For the record: I have screamed enough at the TV to have already lost my voice about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  27. If this drive Bama drive ends with any points it has the potential to be a gator backbreaker about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  28. I want to take this moment to thank my lovely wife and our pets for this annual toleration of me turning into A raving sports lunatic about 2 hours ago from Tweetie
  29. If you’d told me Bama would be leading the gators 32-13 in the 4th quarter of the SEC champ game i’d’ve said: ROLL TIDE!
  30. Tebow fumble overturned about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  31. Bad decision by Tebow = interception. HFS! about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  32. Do I dare say: GAME OVER! Why yes, yes I do. about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  33. My gawd, unless Bama has a complete collapse, they’re coming to the Rose Bowl to play for the Nat’l Championship. CAN I HAZ TICKETZ? about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  34. Fine Tebow: You pull out a victory and I’ll go look up John 16:13. about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  35. Bahahahahhahaha I’m a Florida hater, not gator about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  36. “Alabama won it from start to finish.” Well put. about 1 hour ago from Tweetie
  37. @DufresneLATimes will find a way to rain on Bama’s victory parade. 42 minutes ago from Tweetie
  38. OMFG BAMA BEAT JESUS II AMD HIS FLORIDITES 41 minutes ago from Tweetie
  39. Let me try to be gracious on victory. Roll Tide! 37 minutes ago from Tweetie

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Will Campbell arrived in town via the maternity ward at Good Sam Hospital way back in OneNineSixFour and has never stopped calling Los Angeles home. Presently he lives in Silver Lake with his wife Susan, their cat Rocky, dogs Terra and Hazel, and a red-eared slider turtle named Mater. Blogging since 2001, Will's web endeavors extend back to 1995 with laonstage.com, a comprehensive theater site that was well received but ever-short on capital (or a business model). The pinnacle of his online success (which speaks volumes) arrived in 1997, when much to his surprise, a hobby site he'd built called VisuaL.A. was named "best website" in Los Angeles magazine's annual "Best of L.A." issue. He enjoys experiencing (and writing about) pretty much anything creative, explorational and/or adventurous, loves his ebike, is a better tennis player than he is horr golfer, and a lover of all creatures great and small -- emphasis on "all."