Via the Alabama gentlemen of Picture Me Rollin and Uncle Rico's Time Machine comes the latest installment of our rippity-offity Stuff ______ People Like series
Coach Bryant: This is perhaps too obvious, but there is little doubt that since the apotheosis of General Robert E. Lee there has not been as much hero worship directed toward an individual until the time of Paul William "Bear" Bryant. There are goods odds that you could walk into any mom and pop diner in most parts of Alabama and start a very healthy debate amongst people that adamantly believe that debating is for sissies, if you threw out this question: Greater man; General Lee or Coach Bryant. Rest assured he wasn't the only coach to take his Alabama teams to the Promised Land. But he was however, the best and most of the modern association with Alabama's football glory days begins and ends with him.
There are a few things that need to be stated about the man and the legend though. First of all, it's Coach Bryant. If you refer to him as Bear you are a rival fan or brain-dead. Bear is a title that shows disrespect to the man, similar to the way calling a senior citizen by their first name if you don't really know them is disrespectful. He was "Coach", first and foremost.
If you find a crimson and white person's respect (or if you prefer, deification) of Coach Bryant silly or poorly placed then to quote Ricky Bobby "fuck you". Crimson and white people could give two red cents about your opinion on that subject. If you feel the need to point out that he drank to much or was of questionable character at times then you are simply jealous and crimson and white people are well armed with anecdotes that prove you are merely hating.
To prove their devotion, a new book is published about him about every 36 hours. If you missed the latest one, don't worry there will be another in about, oh, 10 minutes. The books are increasing at such a rate that soon someone will have to build the Paul Bryant Library, which will naturally be located next to the Bryant Museum, which is on Bryant Drive, not too far from the Bryant Bridge and Bryant High School and a conveniently located branch of the Bryant Bank, just to house all the books about Bryant himself.
Don't kid yourself and think that simple knowledge of him it is all that is required. It is also an obsession with all things associated with him. Like Golden Flake Potato Chips, Coca Cola, Chesterfield cigarettes, and most especially...
Houndstooth: Houndstooth is uniquely associated with Alabama, and considering the way merchandisers have latched onto it recently, that may not be such a good thing. While its significance does originate from a few of the fedoras the patriarch (see above) once wore, the term and pattern began infiltrating the fan base shortly after his passing if not before.
Is it good enough just for hats, tasteful coats and ladies dresses? Absolutely not. Following the rule that if it looks good on a few things it's got to look good on oh-my-sweet-lord everything you can now find houndstooth on baseball caps, hair bows, shirts, pants, skirts, beer coozees, glasses, underwear, thongs and bras (never seen that personally but positive it has to exist), and galoshes. Let's face it, much like "Living La Vida Loca", over-saturation has taken a thing of beauty and destroyed it for everyone involved. Nonetheless crimson and white people love houndstooth.
Sweet Home Alabama: It is without question the unofficial anthem for the University of Alabama. It is played before during and after every home football game. Crimson and white people cannot get enough of it. In fact, there are scientific studies, being paid for with grant money, right now to prove that at some location somewhere in the state of Alabama "Sweet Home Alabama" is being played. It is a virtual certainty that during any given tailgate session it is being played in at least a dozen tents and the total play count for the day would be in the tens of millions. In fact, if Lynard Skynard could recoup the royalties for every single play on any given game day, they could donate that money to the U.S. Treasury and erase the national debt in one fell swoop. Guaranteed.
The love of the song also makes every Alabama fan an absolute authority on the band as well. Visitors are advised not to say the words "Freebird" or "Curtis Low" while on the quad prior to a game unless they are prepared to watch three VH-1 specials on the band and hear several versions of the songs, including covers and the "awesome bootleg Aunt Rhonda got from the '76 tour"!
Daniel Moore: Fans of the crimson and white are also art connoisseurs. If by art connoisseurs you mean will go absolutely, fricking nuts for paintings of moments in Alabama football lore. Daniel Moore is the artist of choice, even now, in spite of a falling out with UA administration over the distribution of royalties. His paintings of great moments that are simply described by one or two words are in dens, living rooms and offices all over the region. Mention "The Kick", "The Catch", "The Sack", "The Goal Line Stand", "The Kick 2", and "The Coach and 315" and any crimson and white person worth their salt can immediately visualize the moment as it appears captured forever in oil. Not only that, they could also tell you what number of the limited series they own and where they bought it.
Many a smooth sailing marriage has run aground based on nothing more than the husband's desire to proudly display the only thing he will ever consider "art" and his wife's desire to relegate said "art" to the guest bedroom (or closet) because it doesn't work with the new French Provencal motif she was working on in the parlor. [PARLORS?? --H.]
The art of Daniel Moore, in all its greatness, could also render a quick lesson in economics; true fans are willing to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for a painting of an Alabama team blocking a field goal in State College, Pennsylvania while the Auburn fan next door wouldn't wipe his butt with the same canvas.
Of course, there haven't been that many great moments in Alabama football history lately. Mr. Moore still has to pay the bills and so Alabama faithful can expect these new masterpieces: "Take the Money and Run", showing Franchoine getting on a plane with Texas A&M on its tail, "Deer in the Head Lights" which is a collage of moments of Shula on the sidelines, "All the Way to the Bank" which is a scene from 2007 where Coach Saban leans over a contract with a distinct grin while members of the media and a crowd wearing Miami and LSU themed apparel look on in shock.
And while he is certainly loved by crimson and white people his work hasn't been limited to strictly to Alabama. Mr. Moore has in the past branched out to other schools in the conference, even rivals. When the Lilliputian spawn of the anti-christ himself was the coach of Auburn, Mr. Moore painted a life size, full body portrait of Terry Bowden in the standard 2' by 3' canvas. Also an inside source tells us that even now he has started on a new masterpiece of the most bitter rival to be titled "The Chop Block".
Big Expensive Four Wheel Drive Pickups:
Current students of the University somehow have the need to go off-road quite a bit despite the current expansion of campus and the improvement of the infra-structure. This requires them to have full-size, four-wheel-drive pickup truck manufactured by Chevrolet and Ford. We aren't referring to the cheap basic models either; no they need the four-door, all the options, burn more fuel in a year than most Eastern European countries model. The Warn winch with heavy duty bumper and fog and spot lights mounted to it for those extra dark nights at the frat house or apartment complex is also preferred as is the ginormous tool box despite a lack of tools to fill it. The vehicle is also required to have Browning and Ducks Unlimited stickers on its rear window.
All these vehicles cost more than the starting average yearly pay of degree holders from any major university, leading the average onlooker to ask, "Why do you need that much truck? You're from Hoover" This often brings the following response: "I know my dad's a CPA and the only land we own is the half-acre lot our house is on in Mountain Brook, but you never know when I might have to hook up to that fifth-wheel trailer of hay and haul it through snow and mud.
Conformance: Crimson and white people, love to look just like every other member of their gender on campus. For the males that means the same ridiculous looking bang intensive hair cut, Costa Del Mar sun glasses, a knit shirt with an alligator or polo player on it, and depending on the time of year, shorts and Rainbow sandals or boat shoes, or faded jeans and slip-on work boots or grey New Balance tennis shoes for the colder or more formal functions. For females it's Uggs, Nike shorts and swap tee-shirt during the day and a party dress and heels at night even if they're just going to Phil's for wings and a pitcher.
Whatever the occasion the important thing is that other than the color they all have to be as close to the same as possible. A member of the herd should not dare try to show any self expression or break the trend.
Conspiracy Theories: Because Alabama is in fact the Mecca of college football [*snicker* --The City Of Baton Rouge], it is logical that every other team and fan base would love to keep them down. Why? Most probably out of jealousy. The enemies of the true faith, or heathen (pronounced he-therns around these parts) have had some success lately. That is the only logical reason that Alabama has lost three straight to Georgia, is 3-9 and 6-6 with Tennessee and Mississippi State respectively over the last twelve seasons and lost a gut-wrenching lost six in a row to Auburn. All the haters want to keep them down. They call the NCAA and report things that they probably do themselves to keep from getting in trouble. They work closely with the NCAA (whom is loathed by the fan base), SEC, the FBI, the Justice Department, ESPN, recruiting services (some of them at least Tom Lunginbill we're watching you), message board moderators, and bloggers to keep Alabama from taking her natural place at the front of the pack. Everyone is out the them but they will not be deterred. They will keep plugging along and when an Alan Jackson Concert is cancelled just because Alabama was leading in ticket sales and on-line voting and the haters didn't want to see a success there they will all know that it's an effort to hold us back.
National Championships: If you are going to compare yourself with others then there must be a unit of measurement to quantify the comparison. For crimson and white people that unit is the National Championship. The school officially claims twelve and you can't swing a dead cat around in Tuscaloosa without hitting something to remind you of that, be it the flags that fly atop Bryant-Denny Stadium or the tee-shirt of the coed staggering hung-over out of her dorm to go to class. The odd thing is that there are upwards of 18 national titles that have been awarded throughout the long history of the program but usually rivals (and not impartial national pundits) like to point out flaws in the logic, or legitimacy of the awarding agency. But regardless of your measuring stick, Alabama has won a lot of National Championships, especially more than any other member of the conference, of which they have won more conference titles as well, and most especially more than little brother (Auburn). Crimson and white people all know this and coupled with the top-tier status in total wins, bowl games attended, and bowl games won, it gives them infallible evidence that their team is amongst the greatest of the great.
They are also not about to concede that a time in the desert means that they are not, in-fact, the chosen people. Little things like losing streaks and records in the current decade mean very little. They say to those who enjoy success at the expense of their suffering; congratulations, enjoy your time in the sun. Even the younger fans, born in exile, have seen the goal posts come down in an opponent's stadium or the billboard come up, celebrating the defeat of the once and ever-present Goliath. At the same time they cannot recall ever charging the home field to tear their own uprights from the turf. After all, regardless of the opponent or the record coming into the game, the Tide is supposed to prevail, and to the man crimson and white people believe that. They want you to rest assured the phoenix will arise from the ash and they knew all along that it would.
Thank you kindly, sirs. The rest of you may now proceed to squall that these posts should be written by rival fans, until the next post written by a rival fan, after which you will shriek that only TRUE ALUMS can poke fun at their alma mater. Binkies are available in the lobby.