What I will remember most about the 2012 Alabama football season

Note: I am playing catch up since the SEC Championship in Atlanta and the BCS National Championship in Miami. My apologies for fewer posts, but it was an exciting and weird season for me including special memories and pneumonia. Here are a few thoughts, observations and stories on my personal experiences for the 2012 football season. Feel free to share your thoughts on what you remember the most in the comments section.

I enjoyed the SEC Championship. The win over Georgia was one of the most exciting college football games I can remember. It was more dramatic than Alabama’s win over LSU. It ranks up there with the dramatic The Kick game in the 1985 Iron Bowl. I still prefer that game, but this Georgia game was amazing and my preference for that Iron Bowl win could be built upon the nostalgia of childhood memory.

When Georgia blocked the field goal and returned it for a touchdown in the third quarter, the Georgia fans felt the title was within their grasp.

Too bad Georgia’s Mark Richt does not know how to build a tough, disciplined team. Pro Tip: Georgia if you want to win the SEC title, you might want to learn how to stop the run. Winning in the SEC starts with stopping the run.

While the game was amazing, I made two mistakes.

First, we rode MARTA. I can assure you that MARTA is not SMARTA. We were packed in like animals. It was a miserable right back to Dunwoody station to retrieve our car and get to the hotel.

Second, on gameday I awoke feeling bad. It was a mild cold with some coughing. I felt bad and the cough was annoying, and I made the decision to go to Wellstar. So, instead of enjoying SEC Fanfare, I wasted all morning at the clinic hoping to get something to deal with the cough and maybe a steroid shot to feel better. Unfortunately, the doctor told me to suck it up. No medicine. No cough medicine to reduce the cough. So, I wasted a $75 copay and my time.

Of course, the cold turned into pneumonia and this necessitated a few hundred dollars more in copay and almost being put into the hospital. At Wellstar, I asked the doctor for a steroid shot and was told that was “Old-timey medicine.” How did the board certified in emergency medicine doctor treat me for pneumonia? Steroid shot and oral steroids later to deal with the persistent cough issues. That “old-timey medicine” worked better than the new medicine of not giving people antibiotics or anything else.

Thus, my trip to Miami for the BCS title game was punctuated with a lingering cough. I blame Atlanta. I would suggest moving the SEC Championship out of Atlanta and back to Legion Field. However, I think I would pick pneumonia over being shot while trying to park beside the Old Gray Lady. Still, that lingering cough made it hard to flirt with the ladies enjoying Miami’s hot night scene.

OK, taking the wife and 11-month-old along probably had more to do with that than the cough, but I still blame Atlanta.

Speaking of babies, we brought along a babysitter so our child would not be going to the game. However, I saw at least four infants inside Sun Life Stadium. One of the infants looked to be less than six months old. Tiny. These infants were with parents supporting both teams—this wasn’t only an Alabama or Notre Dame issue.

Seriously, in a loud environment is that really a good idea?

The BCS title game was in a great setting. Sun Life Stadium is getting old, but I enjoyed the elevators. Food service was a disaster. Before kickoff the concession stand was out of souvenir cups and it took over 35 minutes to get a small pizza.

My intention was to provide a few daily posts from Miami before and after the game. Unfortunately, while our condominium offered amazing views of the water and downtown, the Internet did not work. Also, the cable offered just about every channel except ESPN. So, I had to wait several days before getting a chance to watch the game again. What is it they say about the best laid plans? Still, with those little problems and being out of touch with writing, it was worth the trip.

Miami is a fun place to visit. It looks as beautiful in person as on television in shows like Burn Notice.

The entire football season felt different. I found myself often thinking about the intersection of the sport with our families.

My parents loved football. Throughout my childhood, I remember mom living for Alabama football games. My dad enjoyed watching the Crimson Tide and some NFL. His enjoyment of the NFL diminished in the 1990s, but he never lost his love for Alabama. Fortunately, the 1992 national title came about 18 months before he died at too early an age.

I enjoy watching football and following the personalities and leaders. My mother loved it. She cared about it because it brought enjoyment to her from the days of being in the stands watching Joe Namath play to the last few years of resting at home in her hospital bed watching every Alabama game in HD.

During the last few years of her life, as she struggled to walk following a significant (bleeding) stroke, she consumed football. Her iPad was one tool for her to follow Alabama. And with ESPN on her LCD television, she watched every game.

Fortunately, 2009 came after a decade of misery. She enjoyed the national title, but I think the most enjoyable game for her was the 2009 SEC Championship win over Florida. The 2010 season was a disappointment, and the 2011 loss to LSU was too. However, Alabama made it into the BCS game against LSU. Unfortunately, she died New Year’s Eve and did not see the BCS win over LSU. However, that game was on her mind during the entire month of December.

This season was different. Both my parents are gone. I think that loss hit me the most on the first Saturday of the season with Alabama getting ready for Michigan. I’m not sure why it was this day that it hit me the hardest.

And there is another reason this season was different—this was the first football season with my son. When the season started, he was six-months-old, and while sitting in my lap watching ESPN College GameDay —he laughed when Lee Corso put on the “Big Al” head prior to the Alabama-Michigan game.

Even with the SEC Championship, the BCS national championship, that simple laugh from a child is probably the highlight of my football season. It is something I will always remember.