Friday, November 14, 2008

University of Alabama Football Report for 11/14/08

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.
--Buddhist proverb

We know they beat us the past two years. It makes us mad, OK?
--quarterback John Parker Wilson, on Mississippi State

A revenge tour
--defensive end Brandon Deaderick, on Alabama’s final three games of the regular season

I don’t give a shit who we’re playing; you have to be loud!
--head coach Nick Saban, on his preference toward vocal fan support during an athletic contest

The Alabama Crimson Tide, its players and coaches, appear to be a little high strung this week. Never have I seen so many people thoroughly pissed off by others wanting to congratulate them.

With the division wrapped up, a number 1 ranking, and a play-in game for the national championship against Florida on the horizon, Alabama’s team seems a bit out of sorts that no one else wants to discuss two teams that have combined for just three conference wins this season (it should be fewer, but someone had to win Auburn and Mississippi State’s, ahem, epic 3-2 battle).

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama warns, even in exile, that revenge leads to a miserable life, that one’s duty is to assist those who aggrieve us on their path to Nirvana. Life is already miserable enough, so who is he to deny even the briefest of pleasure? This is exactly the kind of drivel one expects from a soccer player.

Though in fairness to His Holiness, he’s not alone. Clytemnestra’s trysts didn’t make Agamemnon a better man. And she certainly didn’t make Cassandra better company, for that matter. But the House of Atreus was on shaky ground to begin with.

Hamlet’s revenge may have had no bounds, but it did have a cost; Lear cried out for the “terrors of the earth,” yet they befell him more than anyone; and Othello’s revenge may have had stomach for all, even though the man himself lost his appetite.

Other examples abound. Half the cowboy movies are vengeance operas, and all the gangster ones. And what are horror movies if not vicariously living through the business end of a vendetta?

Remember, these things cut both ways. Surely Bulldog head coach Sly Croom took some satisfaction in helping eject Mike Shula from the office on Bryant Drive two years ago, and it’s more than a coincidence that former Mississippi high school star Jimmy Johns was knocked woozy on a kick-off last year.

But we’re not alone in looking for deeper meaning here. After a close loss to Kentucky, Mississippi State quarterback Tyson Lee kept the big picture in mind. “Hey, Jesus went through stuff,” he said, “and we’re going to go through stuff. That’s how life is.”

Right you are, Erasmus! And Starkville’s budding theologian continued with that theme: “Football is a metaphor for life . . . . In life we go through good things, in life we go through bad things. God has a plan for everything we go through.”

Kid, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but, according to the numbers, God’s plan seems to call for you to get your ass kicked Saturday.

Roll Tide.