Listen: It's 1982 and I am six years old and my Nana holds my hand and we walk into Legion Field and I point and laugh at Aubie and Big Al and
Tim Tebow: my dad and I talked this morning--I should have gone to church, but calling your dad to talk about the Tide surely counts in the big scheme of things--and we both said if we had a vote, we'd vote for Tebow. Can you believe that guy, we say? He had Mount Cody in his face and could still make things happen, heckuva guy. Looks like a movie star from 1952, with that brush cut and that
Listen: It's 1992 and we're heading to Bryant-Denny because they're just doing so good--it's just the Cincinnati game, but my uncle who played for Coach Bryant is singing the National Anthem and
Javier--my favorite, my hero--sets his foot on the line and I suck in my breath, hoping this won't hurt. All I can think of is my favorite game of the year, Arkansas--where he pushed a man out of his route, intercepted the ball, and faked Casey Dick so hard he fell down like a freshman. A high school freshman, and
Listen: It's 1999 and I'm in Dave's Darkhorse Tavern in Starkville, and Brother Dubose is sidling down the sidelines, and I'm running a block down to the B-Quik to call my dad on the payphone--"they did it--they did it--they
Throw that long ball--a two-play offensive drive!--John Parker to Julio and then Glen punches it in so hard. I'm punching the air, screaming Roll Tide, the dog is barking, and my buddy John--whose great uncle played in the 40's, coached for Thomas and Whitworth--and I think they can pull it off. There's this feeling: that anything can happen, that the Tide can beat anybody. It doesn't matter if it's Florida or Miami or Notre Dame or we're in the Rose Bowl or the Sugar, they can DO IT, this is Crimson Tide Football, and these young men could take cities, countries, our mighty atomic knights, and
Listen: it's 1983 and I'm in the TG&Y in Forestdale, and there was an announcement over the intercom, and I don't quite understand what's happening, but the grown man in line next to my momma and me starts crying, the first man I've ever seen cry, and puts his head in his hands, and I get real scared and my momma hugs me close, and then
Rashad Johnson jumps up and there's two LSU men right next to him and I'm on the other side of Tiger Stadium and I only know he grabbed it because of the quiet that spreads, like a virus, through one hundred thousand people. And
Roll. Tide. I wish I could have been in Tuscaloosa to welcome them home. For every year: every victory: for the 315 I saw as a child, for the National Championship they gave us in high school, for the fear and pride and honor the day Coach Bryant died, for beating Florida twice in 1999, for the Undefeated Season, for getting to sing Rammer Jammer in Baton Rouge, for the way that my throat starts to catch when I say it: for the way the tears came when
May the story never, ever end.
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