Football Saturdays have come and we are knee deep in the gridiron wars week after week–not only on Saturdays, there are some weeks where one could watch a game just about any weekday.
Whenever my accident took place in January 2014, I was and am a diehard Bama fan. I live in a community that has a lot more Auburn fans–our state’s archrival than there are University of Alabama fans. It is a fierce rivalry that dates back to the late 1800s. One that has produced the reason the name “fan” is short for fanatic. Both sides are rapid and loyal to their school’s program. Rightfully so. So loyal that the other team’s fans would pull against the other even if it were a battle of Chinese Checkers. Any win to boast their chests.
I am a bit on the different side of things and to some who hear about my past, they thing that it is a weird thing. I was raised a Bama fan through and through. As staunch of a fan as they come. Me and brother and a friend and our kids have traveled throughout the country to away football games to cheer on the Tide. After marrying, my wife wanted to get in the pharmacy program at Auburn and did. Once there I decided that I might just have to complete my bachelors degree that I had started years earlier yet dropped out. So, I just happened to drop back in and it was the team that I had rooted against my whole life.
The money we spent was simply unreal. Then to top it off, we would devote much more time to football Saturdays as we did for church Sundays. God doesn’t take off on Sundays in preparation of us attending and hearing more about the gospel–not even bad weather. Does God stay home on Sundays when it is raining? I think not. You can rest assured that many of us don’t dare miss our ball games, but we would gladly sleep in because of a Saturday hangover or weather has turned nasty.
Earning my degree did not change who I was ‘fan” wise. I still rooted wholeheartedly for Bama-against Auburn, even in water polo matches.
As life goes on we get older, wiser, smarter and hopefully more of a person with good sportsmanship characteristics. This is not always true for all, and that is for all fan bases too.
Let’s now fast forward to January 2014. when my accident took place. My neighbors formed a rescue party. This rescue party just so happened to be all Auburn loyalists. Not only did my accident result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), some felt I always had a few loose screws. It caused a more tender, kinder soul come over me. I was determined to not let a rivalry stand in my way of a loving caring heart.
This following is an excerpt from my book on this very topic I am on right on:
Those who know how rabid we are about college football in the state of Alabama, specifically about our two largest universities, know that they are the fiercest of rivals. They both have had their share of glory recently with championships being passed around. Ironically, many of the neighbors who were on the scene first and took charge of my extraction from the ravine were Auburn University fans who rescued a huge University of Alabama fan (me) who also happened to have earned a degree from Auburn. That is all fine and good, as long as the other side holds no grudges. The rivalry was put on hold, at least for a couple of days. This reminds me of the assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Going into surgery to remove a bullet that is lodged near his lungs that could have easily been pushed to his aorta causing certain death, he quipped to one of the surgeons about to operate on him, “I sure hope all of you doctors are Republicans!” Of course there was a quick laugh and the surgical team response was that it didn’t matter right now. To the dismay of many college football antagonists and talking heads, Alabama and Auburn fans are truly there for each other in time of need.
Each time one of Auburn’s athletic teams, notably the football team, wins a game; the Toomer’s Corner oak trees are rolled with toilet paper. The Alabama faithful reached out with a donation website to help pay for and restore the oaks that were poisoned in winter of 2010 and destroyed by a so-called zealot ’Bama fan who was later charged with this crime. In return, Auburn supporters were there for the Tuscaloosa residents in April 2011 when a massive and deadly tornado ripped through many parts of the state, including Tuscaloosa. This tornado killed five University of Alabama students.
Thankfully for me, there was no arguments as to which team I pulled for. War Eagle and Roll Tide Roll!
Bottom line is do not let sport or a college, pro rivalry of any league allow the devil to work through you. The devil is already a Theologian expert-this is why he can do what he does. He knows the rules of engagement. Life is just too important to allow this sort of silly behavior take over our lives. The players on a football field are the ones giving their heart and soul into a game they love to participant in. It is one that they have put forth a lot of pain and sweat to lay it on the line when duty calls. To have fans act as radical as we do is simply absurd. trust me, I know, I was there at one time in my own life.
God gave us a heart to love with, God gave you the ability to create Heaven on earth, not HELL. There is always that chance for a new beginning living in Christ’s strength. Time is a gift from God. Will you turn that corner today and make a difference in one’s life?