Friday, April 08, 2011

University of Alabama Football Report for 4/08/11: Spring Practice Baedeker

There were still remaining some few prisoners not wounded; these were asked by Lolonois, if any more Spaniards did lie farther on in ambuscade? They answered, there were. Then being brought before him, one by one, he asked if there was no other way to town but that. This he did to avoid if possible those ambuscades. But they all constantly answered him they knew none. Having asked them all, and finding they could show him no other way, Lolonois grew outrageously passionate; so that he drew his cutlass, and with it cut open the breast of one of those poor Spaniards, and pulling out his heart began to bite and gnaw it with his teeth, like a ravenous wolf, saying to the rest, “I will serve you all alike, if you show me not another way.”

--from “The Miserable End of Lolonois” in The Buccaneers of America: A True Account of the Most Remarkable Assaults Committed of Late Years Upon the Coasts of the West Indies by the Buccaneers of Jamaica and Tortuga by John Esquemeling

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team’s first game is not for another four months and twenty-six days. That’s 148 days. Yet, in as recent as the past seven days, our coach has cited players for a lack of intensity. Some might say his reactions, and related player demotions, are overdoing it for the first week in April.

To them, I say, “how long have you been a Red Sox fan?”

The catalyst for this disruption was the phantom of “entitlement,” as the Great Leader calls it, appearing on the spring practice fields in Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately, it may be a value, like gravity, identifiable only by its absence or its effects.

I see it in aging leading men, propped up in movies to mug and pantomime some caricature of their youthful selves.

In novelists cranking out their half-imagined rough drafts as realized masterpieces.

In Jorie Graham as Mark Strand in drag, and vice versa.

In our “ruling class,” who can’t seem to live up to either part of their name.

Not everything’s so gloomy though; it is spring. I almost never see entitlement where other say I should.

I’ve not met many poor people who act as if the world is set up to offer them handouts, quite the opposite, in fact. And I see more young people hardened by the costs of life than those who believe they have a free pass. In my circles, I don’t see much “entitlement” at all.

Its absence is easily spotted in Trent Richardson, who said his job was to earn his starting role by fighting off “the beasts” behind him on the roster. He also said that he could see this team playing for a national championship. Not as a boast, but in the same manner you or I might say, “yeah, I know how to make a BLT.”

All the ingredients are there, but it helps to be hungry.

With that, we have our mantra for the spring and perhaps the season. Football requires a baseline of intensity, and the game is designed to beat it out of you. Therefore, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

Roll Tide.