Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just another game?

In the overall scheme of things, it was just another football game. Granted, the stakes were higher this time. The two teams were playing for the right to be called National Champions but still, in my opinion, the importance of all football games are miniscule compared to most things in life.

But to most of the alumni, to the students, to those who live in that college town, and to those who have had Tuscaloosa in their hearts since last April, it was more than just another game. It seemed to take on another level of importance.  If you don't fit into any of those categories, it may be difficult to understand but those young men played with an intensity that I haven't seen in a long time (and I'm a graduate from many moons ago). It seemed like it was an effort that said "We've been knocked down by the kinds of things that will change us for life. We've been knocked down so hard that sometimes we wonder how we'll ever get back up but one thing is for sure tonight...YOU'RE not stopping us!  We will leave no doubt when it's over."

Remember, those same kids out on the field lived in that college town too when Mother Nature wreaked havoc last spring. They saw the devastation.  They knew personally of the deaths. They lived it.  And while I would never say that others haven't experienced devastation and sorrow like Tuscaloosa, I think when something of that magnitude happens to us or someone we love, and it's still very fresh in our minds, it causes us to possess an emotion that is hard to find otherwise -  not impossible, just hard. And emotions can give a person motivation. They can help a person reach deep down and accomplish some things that probably under ordinary circumstances would be very difficult. It was like those young men had a fire inside of them, a fire that was not going to be put out until they were done. It seemed as though they were playing with a whole different attitude - an attitude of giving something to others.

I've heard Saban speak very highly of the kind of kids that were on this team, the service that they often did for others. I  don't know the kids personally so I can't speak to that. What I do know is that they put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces and allowed a lot of people to think about something else...something fun and good for a time.  So while most folks would look at it as just a football game, to those who hold the Crimson Tide and the people and city of Tuscaloosa dear in their hearts,  January 9, 2012 was a refreshing evening of pure enjoyment!