The final score was 27-21. The number one team in the nation was pushed to the limit, but still knocked off the gritty Tigers of LSU in overtime. Every player gave their all on Saturday night, one team went home feeling relieved and the other, depleted.
Helmets were knocking, pads were crashing into one another, and sweat poured from every player's body. It was one of the best games of the 2008 season and although both teams made mistakes, they should all hold their heads high with pride.
After all, it was only a football game... or was it?
For most of us, it was an enjoyable game that kept us entertained throughout. Even after the game ended, most of us quickly flipped over to check on the Penn State and Iowa game to see if the Nittany Lions could hold on to their undefeated season. Sure some people, LSU fans, were upset by the loss but surely it was just a game and they can still be proud of a wonderful football program.
All fans love the game and of course their team. They love when they win and hate when they lose. High-fiving is often the end result in a win and a solid punch into the coffee table and a few screams of anger for a loss.
This is the daily life of a college football fan.
Sure arguments between fans of top 25 teams will occur, but most end with a few ignorant comments by both parties...then it's over.
People blog and write articles about how one team is better than the other and why their team deserves more respect. All of these things are typical, normal, and most any football fans will agree. Even if sports chats get heated, all the people have to do is hit the power button on their computer and "click" the argument is over.
Even our friends and relatives will send us emails or text messages that question our favorite teams' abilities. "Smack talk" is expected—fans are passionate, locally biased, and most of all, want their team to represent their dedication. Some fans take their "smack talk" too far while other fans debate maturely and respectfully.
99.9 percent of the time these arguments end with one person walking away or just giving up trying to convince their opponent who is right or wrong. Others escalate a bit, but blow over eventually.
Sadly, horrifically, this was not the case for Crimson Tide fan Michael Williams or LSU fans Dennis and Donna Smith.
Shortly after the Alabama and LSU game had come to an end, two lives came to an end as well.
(I do not want to get into full details because the Police are still investigating the case fully.)
According to some friends who watched the game with Williams, the fight and eventual murders happened in response to some telephone smack talk about the football game. The Smiths eventually ended up at Williams' residence and a fight began to take place. Supposedly, the fight began to escalate between the two men who both possessed weapons.
A few moments later a shot was fired, then another—the Smiths were now dead.
Seriously? Over a football game? I know SEC fans take their conference football pretty serious, but this is one of the most tragic and preventable deaths I have ever heard of. The police suspect that alcohol may have been involved—I don't care!
That is no excuse and I am sick and tired of people using their drunkenness as a defense.
Football is a game.
They play it for a few hours on Saturdays to win, have fun, and entertain their school, fans, and sports aficionados everywhere. A loss can be hard to swallow, but when the final whistle is blown that is it. The winners learn from the game and move on—losers also learn and move on as well.
Players and coaches, no matter how much they hate each other during the game, like last weeks Alabama and LSU game, always shake hands and wish their opponents luck the rest of the way. Why can't fans be the same? Why can't we learn from college kids that a loss is not the end of the world. The sun will rise tomorrow morning and if you are blessed to live another day, so will you.
Sports are here for our entertainment. Sports are a way to vent the pain we feel from a struggling economy. Sports is an alternative and better world than we are living in because even if it is for a few hours on Saturday nothing else matters to us for the moment.
That's how it should be. And when the game ends, the players and coaches meet at mid-field, the fans should be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
There's always next week. If it’s the end of the season and there's no next week, than there's always next year.
Deaths like these are too preventable and too ridiculous to take place. We all love our football—our sports—our favorite teams and players, but shouldn't we love our lives just a little bit more?
It's obviously too early to tell if the murders happened merely because of the football argument, but what seems to be clear, even from guests at the household, the game was the spark that ignited the fire.
The next time you find yourself in a heated argument with a rival fan or even a friend, take a deep breath, smile and realize that if a college football game is the biggest of your worries at that moment, your life ain't too bad.
In fact, any life is better than one that ends over something you have no control over...
Here is a link to the AP story: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5iEmzaNVRpE2h49-RDpc2Pkw5HHiAD94CBPBO5