It’s doubtful Alabama fans are boredPublished 10:03am Monday, September 2, 2013
I read a piece in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week entitled “At Alabama, Fans are Getting a Little Bored With All the Winning.” I guess that made an eye-catching headline, but I’m doubtful there’s very much truth to the statement.
Actually, the story started out with a supposed remark a fan had made to Paul Finebaum at a gas station that “it’s gotten really boring (Alabama football).” The only other proof offered that Tide fans are bored was the information that 30 percent of allotted student tickets went unsold.
I’ll concede that in the Saban era there are typically a few games each year that are – for lack of a better descriptor – a little boring. But as a fan who grew up cheering for Bama during the reign of Bryant, walloping some of the lesser opponents on the schedule seems the most natural thing in the world. At the time there wasn’t anything surprising about shutting out California 66-0 or handing Virginia Tech a 77-6 beat-down.
After suffering through the seasons with Perkins, Curry, Dubose, Franchione and Shula at the helm, with Stallings the only bright spot of relief, this Alabama fan is more than grateful for the “boredom” of a team that’s dominant year in and year out.
Has Saban built a dynasty in Tuscaloosa? Absolutely. Will it last forever? Of course not. But I intend to enjoy every moment that it does. There’s no boredom here after the overall disappointment from 1983 to 1989 and 1996 to 2006.
I’m pretty sure there isn’t a lot of boredom on the part of other Tide fans either. Apparently there are nearly 30,000 names on the waiting list for season tickets – that doesn’t sound like folks are bored with the football team.
As far as student attendance at games, there’s nothing terribly unusual about 30 percent of that allotment going unclaimed. For one thing, with the latest stadium expansion there are 17,000 seats in the students section (that’s an increase from previously). For another thing, when the team is having success it’s typical for students not to make it to lesser games.
Even during the more important matches, Alabama students tend to arrive late if the game is an early one or leave early if the game is a later one. During Stallings tenure when we had season tickets we saw just that happen every weekend.
In all honesty I will admit that, except in that seemingly unending string of bad years, Alabama fans are often a difficult group to prod to excitement. As a whole we’ll rabidly cheer to start the game, but after that we want to see something to cheer about on the field. I’ve been at games where the fans appeared not-quite-satisfied because the defense didn’t shut out the opponent or the offense missed even one scoring opportunity.
It’s all relative anyway, just a few years ago Tide fans were relieved and excited when the kicker successfully booted an extra point or eked out enough wins to get to a bowl game. I didn’t say happy, mind you – I said relieved not to be embarrassed by a losing season.
On a final thought: Do Alabama fans realize that the fan bases of other teams are sick to death of hearing about the Tide? Of course we do. But it sure is better than pity for “how the mighty have fallen.” I’ll take it and love every minute as long as it lasts.
Until next week …
Peggy Blackburn is managing editor of The Wetumpka Herald and Elmore County Weekend. She can be reached at 334-567-7811. Her email address is peggy.blackburn@TheWetumpkaHerald.com.