Poets on Sports

Alabama Football: Nothing Gold Can Stay

by Brit Blalock

Screen shot 2014-01-04 at 5.37.33 PM

The end of the Alabama football season was not pretty. Not by a long shot. After a loss to Auburn that will plague us Bama fans for years to come, we also proceeded to play a choke-fest against Oklahoma in the not-so-sweet Sugar Bowl.

What can I say? In the words of Robert Frost, nothing gold can stay. And honestly, I was starting to feel like a Yankees fan or a Lakers fan…you know, the teams that fans of every other team LOVE to HATE. Not to downplay the demise of this season, it was certifiably heartbreaking, but as a Bama fan who survived the late 90s and early 2000s, I’ve seen worse.

I’ll take that 11-2 season all the way to the bank. Why? Because that’s what it means to be a fan of any team. And I mean, at least I’m not a Tennessee or a Florida fan, amiright?

It’s hard to sum up the feeling of that moment when you know your BCS championship dreams are no longer alive. It’s an excruciating moment simultaneously shared by hundreds of thousands of individuals.

After the glorious 2009 season, Alabama fans were expectant for another clean ride to the top. My girlfriend, a Bama fan convert from the championship season, was unaccustomed to losing. Like others, she was more than shocked when South Carolina came along and stopped our dreams of another perfect season dead in their tracks. I tried to explain that losing was a part of the whole experience—that without losses, we wouldn’t know the true glory of a big win. She wasn’t buying it. She was experiencing ‘that feeling.’ The one where you know the season isn’t going to be what you expected it to be.

At the end of that 2010 season, I wrote this poem after a much beloved poem by James Wright, which you can read here. I like to think it applies to the 2013 season, too.

Autumn Ends in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

The stadium is teeming
like a great anthill. We are the workers,
the look-a-likes in our battered red.
Fine lines of expectation
broken only by song. This is our Mecca,
a Canterbury of sorts. A place to be
summoned by.

Half a million arms and legs twitch
in unison, a familiar pulse, an appeasing
electricity tickling our antennae.

The queen is nowhere to be seen; she is tucked
below the field, growing up
from the grass with the possible throb
of communal defeat.

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2014 by .
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