Alabama is the perfect villain for so many reasons, and I’m not even talking about the Brandon Miller Case. Fans of college athletics would have inevitably found a reason to hate this Crimson Tide team, and if they couldn’t find one, they would have created one. People are so sick of seeing the football team winning that they are fired up by the mere success of other sports under the same umbrella.
Ohio State gives off a similar vibe. These schools are institutions that have been so successful that the general public is conditioned to be skeptical of their practices. We see them as Big Pharma or Big Tech or any other industry that is viewed negatively if you put Big in front.
And ‘Bama is the Amazon of the great university. We want to believe that college success is directly tied to whatever is wrong with college sports. “They bought all the titles from Nick Saban to Bear Bryant, so why is the 2022-23 basketball team an outlier?” “The only reason Miller is on the team is because he’s on salary.” (Never mind that Miller’s father played football for Gene Stallings and met his mother in Tuscaloosa.)
The tide is tearing the tournament apart. This is the only seed that has not been tested. Miller didn’t score in the first round, but the team scored 96 points and won by 21. The outside perception is that Alabama wields the Force with the power of the Darkside, and its influence extended to hoops.
There’s only one school that SEC fanatics sometimes don’t root for during non-conference games, and that’s Alabama. The rest of the time, the rest of the country is poisoned by their disdain for all things houndstooth. There’s a mob mentality involved that I’m not nuanced enough to accurately communicate without setting off someone’s cancel alarm, so we’ll skip that section.
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What I’m trying to figure out is that it’s just a college, man. It’s okay to hate Tuscaloosa, but you don’t have to be the guy who goes overboard in his rage and poisons trees. Don’t let it consume you.
“Bama is a great villain, one of the best in the history of sport; up there with the Russians. However, I have discovered that you can become paralyzed with anger just by thinking about how unfair life is. You don’t have to let it go, you just have to know how much letting it affect you.
I go through each day with much of the same approach. I am secure enough to know who fears, educated enough not to waver, and numbed enough by the talk not to be disturbed. The key is finding the perfect mix of alcohol and THC to effectively shut down your brain for a few hours a night.
I can separate my feelings about Alabama from my uncertainty about what happened with Miller. It sounds and looks terrible, but I was never going to celebrate Tide winning this tournament, no matter what happened off the pitch.
You should never feel good about the death of a young woman, but using it as fuel for your aversion to school is exactly that. If you want to hate the situation because of what it says about the value of human life in America, or the impact of guns on public safety, or some other valid concern, that’s fine.
A life is bigger than the platitudes of fandom, and it’s important to remember that.