C&W Roundtable #6

This week’s Crimson & White Roundtable takes on the topic of misconceptions about Alabama and its fans. It comes at a time when some local and national media have taken shots at Tide fans present at SEC Media Days. There are many stereotypes about Crimson Tide fans, so this is our chance to correct the myths around Alabama. This week’s question: The University and its football fans have a lot of negative stereotypes associated with the Crimson Tide. What are two things you wish outsiders (non-Alabama fans) knew about the Crimson Tide and its fans?

Read the responses from the blogosphere’s greatest minds, and then share your comments at the bottom of the page.

Nico-Roll Bama Roll
Nico-RollBamaRoll.com

The first thing would be that the not all of the fans are the same. We unquestionably have some bad fans, just as every fanbase does, but we are also quite hospitable. I’ve seen many fans from UCLA, Hawaii, Houston and other places say that a visit to Bryant-Denny Stadium is incredible mainly due to the hospitality once can expect to receive. I even heard a former Florida player on a radio show the other day say that Alabama unquestionably had the classiest fans in the SEC. I wish people would focus more on the positive aspects than letting negative stories (like the Auburn player getting hit with a water bottle) completely form their attitudes.

Secondly I wish people would realize that many Alabama fans have their feet firmly planted on the ground and their heads screwed on straight as far as expectations are concerned. Sure, there are the delusional out there among us that believe Alabama will go 13-0 next year on the way to a National Championship, but they are the in the minority.
Nico-RollBamaRoll.com

Memphis Tider
Memphis Tider

I don’t know that I really care about outsiders knowing anything about Alabama fans. Anything and everything we do will be looked at as insane. Like the fact that I actually contemplated skipping my daughter’s 2nd birthday party to go to Fan Day this year. Casual fans don’t understand it. Die hards do.

I guess if I had to pick two things that I wanted them to understand, first would be that we take football as seriously they would take their job or family or hobby. It’s whatever makes you feel good as a person…and this is what we Bama fans take pride in. It’s basically a hobby gone awry, but that’s what makes us who we are.

Second would be that we are not clinically insane. We just set our priorities at a young age. People that make fun of somebody that, for example, would miss their daughter’s wedding to attend a football game, just don’t really understand the culture down here. It is implemented when we’re children and we’re raised on football Saturdays. For the daughter to make them choose, rather than schedule the wedding on a Friday or a Sunday, is ridiculous. Don’t know how I got off on that rant…

Wow, reading this, I really come off as an idiot…but hey, I guess it’s alright. If my better half calls me that all the time, then I guess I have no problem with other people calling me that as well. Haha.

Roll Tide!
Memphis Tider

Journalism Is For Rockstars
Newspaper Hack

1. The Alabama fanbase is as wide and diverse and any other major Southern university’s. As such, you could probably say anything in a derogatory manner, and it would be true. There are the khaki-sporting, oxford-wearing fratboy types like myself (though I would consider myself one of the “enlightened” variety), and there are the mullet-waving, jort-wearing redneck-to-the-core fans. There are fans that are alumni, fans that attended other schools for one reason or another (major and/or finances) and fans that barely made it out of high school.

We’re a polyglot, to be sure. And that’s just it – fans of the Tide are deep in numbers and wide in range. We’ve got total heathen liberals and rock-ribbed conservatives, rich and poor, and every color of the rainbow, including those who wear the rainbow.

But, we all love Alabama. It’s an obsession wrapped in crimson, an addiction to pigskin. And, fortunately, there’s no cure.

2. In that vein, we’re also like a gigantic extended family. If you’re exiled somewhere (as I have been for 17 of my 25 years), when you meet another Tide fan, you have an instant friend. Someone who will buy your drinks when the wallet gets thin, or whenever else you’re stuck in a jam.

For instance, last year, Nico and I moved to Tuscaloosa from our respective places in exile. While I was there, my car was stolen (or so I thought, but that’s another story). So, when the car was found at 10:30 p.m., on a Sunday night, I needed someone to drive my car behind me while I dropped off the rental. I called a girl I was dating, but she was on deadline. So, I call up Nico. I had only seen him once, a pow-wow between he, I, Todd and a few beers. But I didn’t know anyone else in town. Sure enough, he came through in the clutch.

It’s like a fraternity, but without the dues and elephant walks. And that works for me.
Newspaper Hack

Eight In The Box
Alchemist-Eight In The Box

That Alabama football is not a religion. Alabama fans get carried away and use a lot of hyperbole when talking about Alabama football or Coach Bryant, but it isn’t the most important thing in the world. Maybe second or the third.

The other thing is that I don’t expect a National Championship every year. Every other year, but not every year. Honestly, I just want the team to play hard.
Alchemist-Eight In The Box

Bama Nation
Bama Nation

1. I want outsiders to know that Alabama is more than just a football school. In 2006 the University had 6 USA-Today Academic All-Americans, which lead the SEC. In 2007 the school has 4 USA-Today Academic All-Americans. The University is ranked 39th in the best public college in America. President Witt see’s the future like this, “Our vision of being a university of choice for the best and brightest is becoming a reality,” And it is really turning into that. A college of choice.

The five year total of Academic All-Americans, 24, at The Capstone – TOPS ALL UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES IN THE NATION.

Alabama is more than just a football school.

2. The second thing I want outsiders to know is that all Alabama fans know that Bear Bryant is dead. The problem is when a man makes an impact on an entire state like he did, it’s impossible to forget him. I feel like if you mention his name once, opposing fans are eager to say that he’s dead and when will we realize he’s dead.

News flash: We know he’s dead. But he coached here for 25 years, and won 6 national titles. That means he has won 5 more by himself than our in-state opponent has won over their entire history.

So we know he’s dead, we just don’t, won’t and can’t forget.
Bama Nation

Tide Druid
Tide Druid

1. I wish that other fan bases could see that Alabama fans actually try to have a good time overall. There are always those fans that will ruin something for everyone else, but I don’t think many people realize how laid back in tailgating most Alabama fans can actually be. We do take our football seriously, that’s a proven fact; however, a majority of fans don’t try to scream at opposing fans when we’re getting together before the games (see the Oklahoma series). We just want to have a good time when we tailgate and during the games.

Then again, it is hard to make this argument after seeing that drunk lady at the airport. But, for every crazy Alabama fan, there are 2 normal fans. Colette just needs a vacation… without any drinking.

2. That Alabama fans aren’t as impatient as we’re made out to be. Many people still wanted Coach Shula to stay on as head coach. While there was a majority wanting him gone, it wasn’t as large as you would think. To this day there are still fans out there who say Shula was a good coach. We made plenty of excuses for Shula the last 4 years.

Now, don’t think I’m trying to say that we’ll be happy going 7-5, 8-4 for a long time. We’re not extremely impatient, but we don’t want to sit there watching the program spinning its wheels.
Tide Druid

The Capstone Report
The Capstone Report

I’ve always thought outsiders made two incorrect assumptions about Alabama fans, that we all live in the past and that we have unrealistic expectations.

I don’t think all fans live in the past. In fact, most of the fan base is forward looking. While we enjoy the glory of years past and celebrate it, we also want to add to it. We’ve been fortunate to win SEC and national titles. Many of our competitors try to laugh at our national titles, but one thing they cannot do is mock our SEC titles. We have 21. And it isn’t wrong to talk about those titles of years past. To not talk about them, would be to betray one of the truly important things sport gives us: memories. And I’m sorry if it upsets the national press and other SEC schools, but I enjoy the memories of 1992 and 1999.

The propaganda saying Alabama fans have unrealistic expectations is largely an outgrowth of the Bill Curry problem. He’s spent the last two decades trying to explain why he couldn’t cut it as coach of Alabama (REMEMBER: Curry quit. He wasn’t fired.) He’ll gladly tell any reporter how crazy the fans are in this state. But he is a liar. Alabama fans aren’t unrealistic. The fan base is amazingly tolerant. If you believe polls, the Mobile Press-Register poll before the Auburn loss showed most Alabama fans wanted Mike Shula to remain as coach. Fans were very tolerant during Shula’s first year; fans gave him a pass because of the difficult circumstances under which he became coach.

Alabama fans, just like fans everywhere else, enjoy the memories of the past and want to win again in the future. I think those are normal and healthy traits.
The Capstone Report

Todd-Roll Bama Roll
Todd-Roll Bama Roll

1. We could care less what you think of us.

2. We could care less what you think of us.

Call us rednecks, think that we’re crazed lunatics with unrealistic expectations, and imagine a massive, toothless, crimson clad cult worshipping before a statue of Bear Bryant. Whatever you want to think about us is fine with me, because that’s not what we are, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to convince you otherwise.
Todd-Roll Bama Roll

Musings
Mike P.-Musings of a Littered Mind

1. People assume that we sacrifice our coaches to the football gods every 4 or 5 years in return for national championships. That’s not true. The problem is we expect more from our coaches and team than any other fan base in the country. That’s also why we pay better than most. Most major companies in business go through CEOs faster than we go through coaches.

IF YOU CAN’T GET THE JOB DONE WE’LL FIND SOMEONE WHO WILL.

2. We don’t all expect a national championship every year. 99% of our fans are reasonable enough to know that 13-0 every year is a fallacy. It’s just that one percent that is allowed air time on Finebaum or any other radio show. I do however expect a New Year’s Day bowl game every year. I expect to beat Auburn 3 out of 4 years. I expect beating Tennessee more times than not.

IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?
Mike P.-Musings of a Littered Mind

Roll Crimson Tide
Bama Rich-RollCrimsonTide.com

The University and its football fans have a lot of negative stereotypes associated with the Crimson Tide. What are two things you wish outsiders (non-Alabama fans) knew about the Crimson Tide and its fans?

Alabama’s football program, to include the fan base, has a tremendous following across the country. We are recognized as having had the most popular, greatest coach of college football, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Additionally, along with most of the SEC teams, we have a following of fans (92,000+ for a scrimmage) that is not existent in other areas of the country. Hence, they do not have a full understanding, nor can they relate to the way Alabama football fans look at football on Saturdays in the fall.

In some areas of the country the Alabama football program is seen as filled with corrupt dealings (Logan Young – recruiting), egoistical football fans that have no patience whatsoever with coaches who don’t win immediately or players who don’t exceed their athletic potential 100% of the time (not going to name them), an athletic department that is full of a bunch of old has-beens (Mal Moore & company) and coaches that have no integrity (Fran and Saban). Oh yea I forgot, womanizing coaches (Dubose and Price). Now having said all that where does the truth lie and what do we as true Alabama fans want the rest of the world to see and feel about Alabama football.

December 28, 2006, Shreveport, LA, PetroSun Independence Bowl, Alabama – Oklahoma State: By reasonable estimates, there was probably 1,500-2,000 fans at that game wearing LSU colors. Some of them were around us, we asked why are you coming to this game – answers where: Alabama is a SEC team and we pull for SEC teams; it’s a good excuse to drink/party and watch good football; and the most dominate answer was we like Alabama and the way they handle themselves. There is a certain amount of respect of a program if you have an understanding of southern football. Due to our profession we lived in several locations in the country – southwest, northeast (yuck)and southeast, most do not have a passion, commitment, dedication and sometimes religion like Southeastern Conference football.

One of the things I would want non-Alabama fans to know about us is that we have a deep, usually controllable, passion for Alabama football that is either inherited, passed down from Momma’s and Daddy’s, or it is a contagious passion that is inflicted when you see, feel and hear the program first hand. As an old time Tennessee Volunteer fan it took me a couple of years to catch the passion (others may call it a disease). There is nothing wrong with spending time attending, watching, reading and following something that you believe in to the core – watching/listening as young man go out on the field at Bryant-Denny, representing their University and putting everything they have into the game. Listening to speakers play Sweet Home Alabama and watching blips from 12 National Championships, it just makes the hair on your arm standup and a chill come over you. This is Alabama Football with 92,000 of your favorite friends cheering for their team. We do have patience when our teams are improving, players are respectful and coaches coach to a high Division I level.

The second thing I would like for non-Alabama fans to know is that we respect our opponents, yes we want to kick there butts all over the field (it is nothing personal), but we do respect them. Vanderbilt for their high academic standards and achievements, South Carolina for their old school coach, Florida for their recent success at the National level and the athletes that we know bust their tails to get an education and sacrifice so much for a game they play and we get to enjoy. A lot of us root for SEC teams when they are playing other conference opponents, it is not just about us. We have compassion when an opposing player gets hurt, we have seen first-hand with Prothro and Britt how it hurts the young man and his team.

Bama Rich-RollCrimsonTide.com

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5 Comments

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  1. 2
    Ric

    I’m glad that some of you see Tide fans as brothers. As a black man, it seems VERY FEW consider me as a part of the brotherhood. And then if they see me with a Bama shirt on, they think I was a player. When I say no that I have my Masters in Engineering from the Capstone, the conversation is over. Now I love the Tide and am PROUD to be a fan and from Alabama, but I really wish some of our fans could move to the 21st century with the rest of us.

  2. 4
    Newspaper Hack

    Ric – yeah, I agree that can be a problem. But as a South Carolina alum, it’s pretty bad there, and there are probably some things that will hamper Southern schools until more enlightened generations grow older and pass on better attitudes to their children.

    Also, I have to agree with crimsNkentucky. I’ve always been very cordial with fans of opposing teams, unless they’re being purposefully caustic. I’ve had issues with Tennessee and Auburn fans, but when they’re being nice (like the Auburn fans I met at the Carolina-Auburn game last season), it’s really enjoyable to talk with fans that are just as passionate about their team but can exihibit some basic Southern hospitality.

  3. 5
    Ric

    Don’t know, Hack. I live in SC now and I think the relations here are better than what I remember 10 years ago at Bama. True though, I did not attend SC. Heck I walked into an alumni meeting and got a real cold shoulder from all except the president. Here’s to hoping the change comes sooner than later. I really don’t want my daughter to have to deal with it when she goes to Bama. Roll Tide!

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