There are far more blessings than burdens in being an Alabama football fan. Rewards far outweigh any price, but Crimson Tide fans should accept one burden.
For Alabama football coaches and players, competing in college football’s highest-profile program brings great rewards. Doing so is always a blessing and never a curse. Still, there is the weight of responsibility that for players can be burdensome. Players are responsible to themselves, to their teammates, to their coaches, to their families, to their teachers, to school and program administrators. That’s a long list. Especially long for some young men who arrive in Tuscaloosa short on life lessons.
Other external sources often demand added responsibility. Over-zealous fans and some media members act as if players should be accountable to their interests, wishes and demands. The formats of talk shows and social media lead to intense opinions too often crudely expressed.
Saban tries to shield players
Nick Saban tries to shield his players from the worst. He is zealous about it, even though it is one battle even Nick cannot win.
Most media members do not fuel negativity. A few try to thrive off it. One who does the job the way it should be done is Dan Patrick. Last August, Patrick discussed the media with Saban.
I don’t think sometimes people realize how these guys are just college student-athletes and how they’d be affected by things that are out there.
one of the things … media does is they create this tremendous expectation for some of our players, young players who come in with reputations, players who have been in the program that they immediately set an expectation for that this guy’s going to be a phenomenal player. I don’t think that’s fair to the player because I think it creates an unrealistic expectation and it creates a lot of anxiety for some of these guys.
In this case, Nick referred to mostly first-year players, but his observation would apply to Jalen Hurts this season. Only now, the stores about Jalen have flipped. Instead of what he can do, the dialog has become what he cannot.
Which leads us back to the burdens of being an Alabama football fan. Most of the burdens for Tide fans should either be embraced or ignored. So what if every other fanbase in America hates us. Consider it a badge of honor.
Let the fans of other schools argue about and claim unjustified championships. Their follies should not be our concern. Quit worrying about any of us, coaches, players and fans being disrespected by anything outsiders write or say. Don’t be dragged down or into the noisy quagmire of individual invective. Absolutely none of it should be perceived as a burden to Alabama football fans.
The burden fans should accept
We Alabama fans do have a burden though. And there is no doubt Nick Saban would agree. We can talk all we want, until we are hoarse if we choose, about the individual failings of Crimson Tide players and coaches. But don’t use a broadcast megaphone or a social media platform.
Let’s dial back the public attacks on our players. That should be our fans’ burden and it should be one we gladly accept. The players are, despite everything we try to make them be, just as Nick described them to Dan Patrick, “college student-athletes.” For those who so choose, dog-cuss them to no end once they turn pro. Until then allow them some leeway to try and fail regardless of how much those failings pain us.
The entire Dan Patrick interview can be viewed below.
Not for a second should Tide fans dial down our passions. We have the highest expectations in college football and those expectations are appropriate for the program. How we express our passions just might need some occasional restraint.