Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Birthday Girl

The first Bama coed I ever knew has a birthday today.

When she was at UA as an undergrad student, the football team was bad on an epic level.  I quote her remembering those days: "We never really thought we'd win; we just wanted to score every now & then to keep it interesting."  (This would change in a couple of years when a former player named "Bryant" was hired as HC.  But that's another story for another day)  She still watches & enjoys UA games to this day.

She skipped her college graduation ceremony.  Because she was all busy getting married back home in Enterprise, AL to this handsome young man from the hills & woods of central Alabama.  Shortly after, they moved to Anchorage, AK (taking that "leave" thing in Genesis 2 to a whole new level!).  She taught school, & he worked on the local newspaper.  One son later, they moved back to Alabama.  Montgomery, to be precise.  A couple of years & another son later, these two adventurers sacked up & moved south.  Ft. Walton Beach, FL, which was then a small fishing village surrounded by swamps, snakes, & alligators.  And some of the most beautiful white sand beaches anywhere on the globe.  She still lives there, & still loves the area.

She was the elementary school librarian, and still loves books & reading.  She reads big, long books, preferring historical fiction these days.  In her her 40s!...she spent some more time at UA pursuing & receiving a Master's degree.

She also helped the handsome husband start his new business in 1960.  She spent a lot of time in the small print shop helping him get it going.

As people who took their faith seriously, they joined & became deeply involved with First Baptist Church.  As givers, they served.  (All of us of that faith are supposed to...but all too many of us seem to view our "ministry" as that of griping & complaining & sitting in the sanctuary daring the preacher to bless us--when we show up at all.  That too is another topic for another day.)  They served mostly in the preschool ministry.  Behind the scenes doing stuff most don't want to do.  They helped prepare Communion .  Behind the scenes doing stuff most don't want to do.  She still serves at that church, although age has made her ministry change a bit.  Now she serves mostly by visiting shut-ins & encouraging them.  Behind the scenes doing stuff most don't want to do.  She is still faithful to her Lord, her faith, and her church.

The handsome husband departed this world suddenly leaving her a young single mother of two high-school age sons.  And still she was faithful.  She still is even now.  She is a relatively new bride again by the way.  She has had an enormous impact on the lives of so many.  One of the great encouragers around.  An incalculable impact on her sons and their children.

I cannot even begin to fathom all of the many ways her life & love & faith have impacted my own. You see, I am son #2. 

Happy Birthday, Mom!  "Thanks" doesn't come close...but thanks!

I love you.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The BCS System in College Football flawed & imperfect.  (Said the Alabama grad whose team will play for a BCS National Title tomorrow night)

(As I write, it's ~9:00 p.m. on Sunday night, the day before the BCS National Title game between LSU & Bama.  Thus, this has precisely zero to do with the outcome of the game.)

The current BCS system for determining who plays in the game is imperfect & controversial.  Exhibit A: tomorrow night's game, which is a rematch of an earlier regular-season game.

Here's the thing: (please read this next part slowly, especially if you're a BCS hater who's livid about a rematch)  There is NO flawless system for determining who wins the national title.  Not one.  A system that makes everyone happy just doesn't exist.  It's not there.  It will never be there.

I've argued for a top 4 tourney since I was a student at Bama when we were 5-6 & had no shot at the NC (or even a bowl game, for that matter).  The argument (by me & by many now who are smarter, including Ok St. HC Mike Gundy) is that while the polls might disagree over who is #1 v. #2, there's rarely disagreement over who's #1-4.  Let 'em have at it in a 2-game tourney.  Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?  It's flawed.  What if your team is a microscopically-close #5 that genuinely believes it could beat #4 & deserves a title?  Then you'd be howling. 

OK, then what about an 8-team tourney?  What if you're a close #9?  (etc.)  Reply: Yes, but the NCAA hoops tournament in March  has 65 teams...Reply to the reply: and every single year, there are teams left out that are controversial.  If we can't pick the optimal 65-team field, why think we could find the perfect 2...or 4...or 8...or (etc.)

So, can we please recognize that ANY replacement to the current system has flaws?
(I'll give you a moment to let that be processed...)

In summary, under the current system my school is one of the two teams in the national championship game.  Should we win, I will proudly claim another national title for the Crimson Tide. 
Should we lose, I will graciously congratulate LSU on another national title for the Tigers.

Some concluding remarks:
--I think tomorrow night's game will be a *great* game.  Smash-mouth, hard-hitting football with defenses that are both just awesome to watch.
--I thought the first game was also an awesome game.  Personally, I'd rather watch a defensive slobber-knocker 9-6 OT game than a whoever-has-the-ball-last-wins type game.
--I won't be watching  tomorrow's read that right; not watching.  I have class on the coast.  I'd strongly consider skipping, but I'm the teacher! *huge grin*
--VERY IMPORTANT POINT: Precisely NOTHING that matters ultimately will be determined in the Dome tomorrow night.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.  If you're just livid about an LSU-Bama rematch & the BCS system such that you're tweeting & firing non-stop facebook statuses, may I gently suggest that you read the news?  Google "Nigeria unrest"..."Religious oppression"..."North Korea"..."Africa Famine"..."Human Trafficking"..."Slavery in 2011"...and get outraged about those things.  Tomorrow night is just a dang football game!

Last thought: If you're furious about LSU-Bama playing a rematch, here's some advice: Don't watch!!

Roll Tide regardless of the outcome!