This is real, this is happening. That’s what was running through the heads of every Alabama student, fan, donor, and athlete when we hit the second commercial break during the fourth quarter of the homecoming game against Missouri. The video board showed Big AL with the catch phrase “Dixieland Delight done right,” then the moment of truth when the song started to play and the student section roared as the long-awaited tradition returned home for the first time officially since the infamous Iron Bowl of 2014.
Going to games before this has been tough. For about 4 years students have been melancholy about going to Bryant Denny for the most part. Sure, there was an Ole Miss here and a Tennessee there, sometimes LSU but it was difficult for us as students to get out and support the team for games that we knew we were going to win. That was magnified this year by the utter dominance of our team. When Tua Tagovailoa stepped in as starting quarterback, the program changed. Never has Alabama looked more dominant and more of a pure national champion than it has this year. Which, for some, made these beginning games boring to watch. We know we are going to win, we know it’s going to be by a lot, so what’s the point? That was the attitude of students. Why do we want to waste 2-4 hours on a Saturday in the heat watching our team obliterate another? Especially at early kickoffs like 11a.m., it made no sense to any reasonable student who has an array of other things they could be doing productively with their time. Morale was down while points went up. Gamedays became a chore, the atmosphere went away from the students. Catering had gone from how do we get students to come to the games to how do we make the donors happy. It is the curse of every program that makes it big time. They assume that because they win the students will come and stay to watch, because that was the recipe of the past. That’s not the case anymore.
So great job University of Alabama Athletics for recognizing this! The energy at this homecoming game has been the most electric I have experienced in Bryant Denny all season and the best time I have had in Bryant Denny since we beat Leonard Fornette and LSU. The game was not close by a long shot, we basically lead by 10 points the entire game which, if you’re playing Bama feels like 21. The anticipation and the buildup to those two minutes was everything. Every song sounded better, every cheer was louder, every play was bigger. All stress and worry from the week was gone. The world was growing until that video screen came up. Then I truly felt connected to every student in the school, all 20,000 of us in the student section, because that’s what gameday traditions are all about. Everybody becoming one to celebrate where we are and how we got here. It was the best football night here at the University and I cannot wait for more to be made with this song.
(Photo courtesy of Hannah Saad and The Crimson White)