Thursday, January 17, 2013
Keepsake title edition
I received a special package in the mail Saturday.
In it was a special edition of The Birmingham News.
The big headline on the section, with 16 pages of national championship game coverage, said “Title Wave” – in all caps – and “Tide rolls over Notre Dame for its third BCS crown in four years.”
My sisters had tried and tried to find some Alabama newspapers for me the morning after the big game. But they sold out fast.
Thank goodness, my good friend, Les Walters, who is editor of the Journal Record in Hamilton, Ala., was able to help. This morning (Monday) I received an e-mail that he might be able to send me even more of the collector’s editions.
I’ve stored up items from big Bama games over the years – the most cherished being those from Bear Bryant’s last game in the Liberty Bowl (1982). I was at that game in Memphis, Tenn. – no doubt the coldest football game I’ve ever attended. But it was well worth the freezing.
Some people I meet, who see the Alabama cap or the Alabama T-shirt, ask how I became a Crimson Tide fan.
It’s simple – “I grew up in Alabama during the Bear Bryant days.”
We were prepared for a family gathering to watch this year’s national championship game at home.
Our college kids were still home. Emma sent me a text at the office with photos of how she had redecorated the den with a small portion of my Alabama football collectibles.
Pam had been planning the menu for awhile. We had appetizers for the pre-game, got stuffed on those and waited until halftime for the “real meal.”
The game itself, as most of you certainly know by now, turned out to really be no game at all.
One word summed up the night – domination.
The Irish was totally overmatched. This one was basically over after the first quarter, maybe earlier.
I’ve told lots of people since then that I really believe six or seven SEC teams could have beaten Notre Dame. Perhaps that’s why the SEC has won seven straight national crowns.
The SEC, overall, fared well in bowl games – 6-3.
I’ve talked to a lot of Ole Miss fans, from Marshall County, who made the short trip to Birmingham, Ala., for the BBVA Compass Bowl.
They, too, got to witness a rout. The Rebels were dominant in the win over Pittsburgh, by the way a team which lost to Notre Dame in triple overtime.
My conversations about the Birmingham bowl also turned to historic Legion Field. Most agreed it needs to be torn down and a new stadium built.
I’ve not been to Legion Field in many, many years. But my memories of the place are some of my most special. That’s because I went there – even being on the sideline and in the press box – for some Tide games when Bear Bryant was the coach. I still have a photo I took of “The Bear” leaned up against the goal-post in pre-game at Legion Field.
I also understand the stadium personnel were not very well prepared for the record crowd in attendance for the Compass Bowl. The concession stands ran out of food.
Maybe a new Legion Field can be built. That’s my preference. Whatever, it will always be part of Birmingham’s history and my fond memories.
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