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German Philosophy and the Tide, or Saban as Hegel

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The valor that struggles is better than the weakness that endures.
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

While thinking about yesterday's performance, I was routinely reminded of German philosopher George Hegel. Bear with me here, since the philosophy degree that's been useless thusfar is itching to get a work out. The Hegelian Dialectic posits all philosophy up to and including Hegel is an integral and explicit part of Hegelianism, namely that philosophy is a process as well as its results and that any listing of it's components and accomplishments would be nothing more than a one-sided collection of abstract thoughts presenting no true knowledge. To put it another way, Hegelianism is a kind of knowledge that is also an experience, in that knowledge is gained by either the negation or transcendence of facts, and that it is an ongoing process with no real end result. To put it even another way, that which is cannot be true, and thus reality lay beyond our human comprehension and therefor truth is seeing that each moment lives up to it's maximum potential so that reality unfolds from said potential into actuality. Even though Hegel and his post-Kantian cronies have been roundly dismissed over the past century after their historical perspective of philosophy was co-opted by Marx and put into use by the communists, only to fail spectacularly, there's something to it that really applies here.

With all of Coach Saban's talk of "The Process," we've generally looked at each game as an assumed stepping stone towards whatever goals we as individuals have set for the Tide, be it a national title, conference championships, or just plain old beating Auburn. Those stepping stones have been fairly shakey the past few weeks, with an OT loss to UGA, a dimsal performance against Florida State, and the necessity of a last second interception to hold onto a game that we should have dominated this weekend. But, at least according to Hegel, what we've seen is not the reality of our situation. As the offense has struggled and even regressed over the past few weeks, we've all been forced to re-evaluate our expectations for the season, some of us going from lofty dreams of ten or eleven wins to hoping we can scrape together seven or eight. Our hopes for the Tide rested on the shoulders of John Parker Wilson, DJ Hall, Keith Brown, and Jimmy Johns, only to see Wilson struggle and negate the playmaking abilities of Hall, while Brown remains lost in the shuffle of wide receivers and Jimmy Johns has disappeared all together. Their potential has not been realized, and unrealized potential is nothing more than wishful thinking. According to Hegel, we have a spectacular offense, but we are still striving to conform that potential to reality. According to Coach Saban:

"We don't play with the same intensity as a football team, we don't play with the same aggressiveness. To me, I've talked about this before. That's Relief Syndrome. You try to tell guys to play for 60 minutes in the game. Play the play and dominate the guy you are lined up against and don't worry about the scoreboard because it doesn't affect you. If you're ahead in the game it doesn't affect you; if you're behind in the game it doesn't affect you."
Again, that what is cannot be true. The scoreboard might indicate that your team is dominant, but unless each snap is a striving to reveal the truth of the moment, that your team is the dominant one, then reality is not being played out.

Meanwhile, as we saw in the first quarter on Saturday, the defense has lived up to it's limited potential. For 15 minutes they smothered an explosive and potent offensive attack, only to become drained by the end of the game after playing far too many minutes with no depth to spell the starters. In the offseason we all believed that, for the Tide to be successful, the offense would have to get hot and dominate opponents while the defense did what it could to get enough stops. We've seen that play out over the past few weeks, as the defense tried to contain the opponent's attack while the offense floundered. So what am I trying to get at here? I don't really know, but I think that "The Process" is still ongoing, and that, even though the current reality isn't to our liking, there is a better one that we have more than enough potential to create.

As if being the QB at Alabama wasn't enough pressure, now he has the added burden of altering reality.