Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Thirty-six reasons to be thankful

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. It was a perfect weekend here. Thursday was Thanksgiving (you know, in case you somehow missed that), I took off work Friday, I golfed, and I attended the Bama game on Saturday.

But there could have been a massive cranberry shortage causing them to cancel Thanksgiving. Golf could have been rained out. I could have had to work over finishing up my TPS reports. And it still would have been perfect.

Why? I can answer that question with two words and two numbers.

Alabama 36, Auburn 0.

That's right. The magical mystery season continued Saturday with a thrashing of our cross-state rivals. They're calling it the Beatdown In T-Town. And who am I to argue? Nothing short of Jason Morgan leaving General Hospital could have made this weekend anything less than perfect.

To fully convey what the Alabama/Auburn game means to persons in this state would be impossible. For many years, the success and tradition of the Crimson Tide served as a source of pride for the state. College football is king here. "Are you for Alabama or Auburn?" is literally a more popular conversation topic than discussing the weather. Why, I posed that very question to a cute waitress at my favorite theme restaurant this past Friday night. When you add to that the fact that you are playing your in-state rival--whose fans you have to see Sunday morning at church or Monday at work--suffice it to say that it's a big game.

Alabama and Auburn first played one another in football in 1893, without helmets!!! (Oh, wait a second. Apparently no one played with helmets back then.) The teams played eleven times between 1893-1907, before a dispute between the schools caused the series to end. The teams would not play again until 1948.

During the forty year hiatus--which by the grace of God I was not alive for--several attempts were made to resume the series. At one time, Alabama's Board of Trustees was against the resumption, saying that an Auburn-Alabama rivalry would lead to an overemphasis of football in the state of Alabama. Hmm, ya think?

When I was but a lad, and Alabama would beat Auburn, we would load up in the car and drive to a sporting goods store thirty minutes away. There we would stand in line with anywhere from thirty to fifty other fans waiting for "score shirts" from the game to literally roll off the press.

The "score shirts" would obviously have the score of the game, and usually some really cheesy slogan. The one that sticks out in my mind for some reason is "No Sugar Bowl Cause The Tide Did Roll." (cringe) And we bought these. And wore them. Proudly.

Nowadays when we beat Auburn I'm just exorbitantly happy. And if we lose, I typically go into my room, bury my head in a pillow, and refuse to answer the phone or have any contact with the outside world for two or three hours. I'm so glad I've matured over the years.

As I stated earlier, to fully convey what the Alabama/Auburn game means to the people of this state would be impossible. Though perhaps the following scene can shed a bit of light.

One of the popular outbound routes from Tuscaloosa is Highway 13. It's a two-lane road that winds around curves and over hills. Over about a sixty-mile stretch there are maybe four gas stations, a couple of roadside diners, and not much else.

Coming home Saturday night, there was an uncommon sight in front of one of the diners. Out near the road, in the light of one of those yellow portable marquee signs, two women and three children were standing. Thirty miles from anywhere, at 8 o'clock at night, there they were. Just standing and waving at the train of cars traveling home from the game.

We honked as we passed by. Because though it might be impossible to put into words, somehow we understood why they were out there. And as strange as it might have seemed to someone else, to us it made perfect sense.

"Go roll to victory. Hit your stride. You're Dixie's football pride, Crimson Tide..."


  1. You better save up...looks like we're going to a football game. :)

  2. DH has been known to give me cash or a gift card. Which works out great for me...I hit the after Christmas sales and stock up on everything my heart desires! And I don't have a problem returning things like Popcorn seasoning...blech!

    As for this game stuff, I just don't get it.

  3. I'm with Renee except I understand the magical part

    I hope that when people look back on 08 they will remember miracles and joy, not everything else

    I forgot the score and thought "oh sheet (yes I actually think that) Bone's going to do 36 reasons to be thankful and start something big--and while I do have at least 20 things to be thankful for, 36 I'm not sure of

  4. I feel like such a bandwagon fan this year :) I'm so excited for you!!! It certainly has been an amazing season for ya'll.

    I love your 'Bama football posts. There is always something so unique about the way you write about it. And OK, so I love football. But I'm well aware that football in the North is NOT the same as football in the South. You've got a great history there: I'm glad you're writing it down. You know, so you don't forget it O:)

    Why, I posed that very question to a cute waitress at my favorite theme restaurant this past Friday night.

    I have a hunch there is a story in there somewhere: I'll be checking back often to read it ;-)

  5. Ahh, college football rivalries. I miss that.

  6. OKChick - I sure hope so! Wonder how much tickets will be?

    Renee - Popcorn seasoning? I've never gotten that before. Though I have received the big barrell of assorted popcorn a couple of times. You know the one. It's got caramel, cheese, and plain.

    Pia - LOL Oh, did I leave that part out? Yes, I'm starting 36 Reasons To Be Thankful in celebration of my upcoming 36th birthday. I expect you to participate :)

    TC - Thanks. I think different sports are just bigger in different places. Like I wouldn't fully understand someone who was fanatical over the NFL or hockey.

    It has been a wonderful season. I'm just trying to savor each moment.

    Coconut - You miss it? What happened? Did you move? Or outgrow it? I live by the old ESPN slogan, "Never graduate." :)

  7. ... and how 'bout Tommy Tuberville gettin' fired. Ouch. And I'm not really an Auburn OR Alabama fan.

  8. I've never understood the "Crimson Tide" Growing up on the coast, a "red tide" was a bad thing--does that mean I lean toward Auburn? Sounds like ya'll had a great win.

  9. I don't know how much tickets will be but we should go...if our teams end up playing each other. You never know what can happen?

  10. ...as for the Bulldogs, they must have eaten too much turkey because, well, you know how our game ended...

  11. First things first- I would literally cry if Jason Morgan left General Hospital.

    BUT- moving on.
    Could there be anything better than a shut out?!?! I am SO SO SO SO happy about the game. I am really jealous that you were there. Interesting about going to the SEC Championship-- I am way excited to play Florida. But, seriously- nothing is going to make me too sad about this season- 12 wins, beating UGA, beating Auburn. What more could a girl ask for?

    Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer- Give 'em HELL, Alabama!!

  12. When I first moved to Alabama, I was told that I must choose between Alabama and Auburn. Alabama is very lucky they had better team colors than Auburn. :-)

    Here in L.A., now that the Raiders are gone (good riddance, because most Raiders fans are assholes), our only football is college so USC and UCLA are popular right now.

    Our crosstown rivalry is actually this coming Saturday so the town is gearing up. I wish I could say that USC will demolish UCLA but past history has shown that we could be the most winningest team in the nation and still lose to them.

  13. Are you ready for tomorrow? I am! It's gonna be a great game. I hope. I hope it's more interesting than the AL AU game. That's for sure.

  14. You guys rock! Keeping PSU down, LOVE THAT!!!

  15. Shelby - Yeah, that seemed a bit hasty to me.

    Sage - No, trust me. You don't want to lean towards Auburn.

    OK Chick - Well, your team held up its end of the deal, but mine didn't :-/

    Charlotta - Yeah, I saw the score. Sounds like it was a tough loss.

    Cami - Man, I freaked out when he got shot last week!

    Well, I was kinda thinking the same thing before the SEC Championship Game. But now that we've lost, it doesn't seem to help.

    Roll Tide!

    Xinh - Yeah, that's how it's always been here. No NFL, so college is huge. Looks like your team pulled out a decent win against its cross-town rival.

    Java Boo Boo - Hey, hope I didn't traumatize your cat too much.

    Carnealian - So does this mean you won't be wearing any of the new Penn State cologne?