While the University of Alabama participates in a variety of sports, we'd all be kidding ourselves if we didn't recognize that Alabama is a 365/24-7 football university. Sure, we want basketball to do well, we were proud of baseball and softball for their conference titles a couple of years ago and we hope that one day the gymnastics team will beat Georgia...but we all know that football is the fire that burns in our hearts. There were probably more people tuned into signing day than there were to recent televised basketball games involving the Crimson Tide.
Warren St. John captured that passion is his fantastic book Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer and for better or worse it is simply a huge part of our local culture. Unfortunately, there is a maximum of 14 football games a year (15 if you count the spring game) so that leaves months and months for us to obsess and speculate over recruiting, practice, coaching hires, etc. I'm quite interested in the various ways this obsession manifests itself during the time we aren't in season. I saw several things occur on signing day that "non-football people" and perhaps some "football people" would think downright insane.
A few examples:
- I was at work on signing day and people were running out of their cubicles and high-fiving with the announcement of every signing. No one got in trouble, no one was told to get back to work. It was a genuine celebration. Perhaps it's the fact that we had a great signing class this year and that it's been a while since we've done this well in recruiting, but I don't remember this level of enthusiasm over signing day in a while. I always like to imagine people from other places that don't care about football witnessing that type of behavior and being befuddled by it.
- I was also in class on signing day. Someone with a laptop raised their hand at one point and when the professor called on him he said, "I'd just like to announce that Julio Jones signed with Alabama." Did the professor chastise this person for the interruption? No. I doubt that would be the case at a lot of places. I didn't have to be told though because I probably got half a dozen text message within about four seconds of Julio's announcement.
- My favorite incident though occurred at Bottletree on Wednesday while seeing Band of Horses. I saw this guy who had a screen printed shirt with "Signing Day 2008" on the front and asked him about it. He then turned around and he had a printed out sheet from Rivals.com with our signing class roster on it taped to the back of his shirt. That's passion. That's love. That's brilliant!
But it wasn't nearly as good as The Fiery Furnaces show I went to last night...
Update [2008-2-8 15:53:28 by Todd]:
I'm going to chime in here with an anecdote myself. I had a pretty busy day yesterday, but I went to get some lunch and heard the Julio announcement on the radio on the way back. When I got back to work I had a message to call one of our biggest customers so I returned the call and when he picked up before I could say anything he was shouting "WE GOT JULIO!", so I laughed and said I had heard it on the radio and he said "Okay, just wanted to make sure you knew!" and that was it.