Bama loss is about more than basketball


Yeah, I’m crying. In the middle of a tornado warning. After my team lost a game.

But this Alabama loss in the Sweet Sixteen is more than just a loss by my favorite basketball team – it’s the fraying of a thread to my dad.

Dad passed away Jan. 15. And Bama basketball has been one of the few bright spots since. 

Alabama sports is one of my connections to Daddy. We watched football, basketball, and even softball together. This basketball season was looking like something special and we were loving it early on.

We texted about the four-overtime win against North Carolina. Then the amazing comeback at Houston on Dec. 10.

“Roll Tide. They didn’t give up. Looks like a good team,” he texted me.

The Alabama-Memphis game on Dec. 13 was an 8 p.m. tip and Dad was tired so he wasn’t able to stay up to watch that win. 

He had been diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2021, had part of his lung removed later that summer, had chemo, and got the “all-clear” in December. In August 2022, the cancer had returned and this time it had spread to his chest and liver. Additional chemo had tanked his immune system, sending him to the hospital twice for weeklong stays with infections – once in September and again in November.

So by December he was fatigued and in a lot of pain, but still happy to talk and/or watch Bama basketball.

On Dec. 17, my brother and my youngest nephew came in for a visit. (My sister-in-law and oldest nephew weren’t able to come.) At my parents’ we celebrated my nephew’s birthday with cake and ice cream and we watched Alabama play Gonzaga. Even though the outcome wasn’t what we wanted, unlike last season’s big win, it was nice to cheer on a good, and exciting, Bama basketball team.

On New Year’s Eve, when we walked into Mom and Dad’s house to watch Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, a home health nurse was poking and prodding Dad. After hearing Dad talk about how much back pain he had been having, she called in more meds and Mom went to pick them up. 

As usual, Dad and I yelled and cussed at the refs (just a little) and enjoyed the 45-20 win over Kansas State, high-fiving and woo-hooing. Because it had been an early kickoff and we didn’t want to tire Mom and Dad too much, Riley and I came home and chilled the rest of the day. 

I texted Dad about the wild College Football Playoff game between Georgia and Ohio State and he texted back: “Good one. Go Dogs”. That would be his last text to me.

Dad’s bloodwork from New Year’s Eve showed another infection and he was back in the emergency room as 2023 began. And he also tested positive for Covid.

After work on Jan. 3, I double-masked and went to hang out at the hospital. Dad wanted a Taco Bell soft taco and Mom needed a sweatshirt because the room was so cold. The three of us Facetimed my brother so we could listen to the recording of the doctors’ prognosis. It was not good.

Not only did Dad have sepsis, the cancer had spread to his spine and lesions were spotted on his heart and his aorta. They couldn’t do a transesophageal electrocardiogram to look at his heart until the Covid was cleared. They couldn’t do chemo because Dad’s immune system was shot. And he wasn’t a candidate for open-heart surgery because of all of his other issues. We were left with nothing but antibiotics.

Even after all that news, after I went home for the night, we texted about the Bama-Ole Miss game, an 84-62 win. My last text to Dad was about the Alabama-Kentucky game Jan. 7. I went and watched the second half with him and Mom at the hospital. Bama won, 78-52, and while he saw a bit of the romp, he slept most of the time.

Dad came home on hospice on Jan. 10, my brother’s birthday, surrounded by our family. The next day we watched Bama beat Arkansas, and I made sure to tell Dad about the game as it went on.

The final game I shared with Dad was the 40-point blowout of LSU. I hope he heard my hootin’ and hollerin’ (albeit quieter than usual) from my spot on the couch next to his hospital bed in the living room. He would have loved seeing that one.

The next day, freed from his pain, Dad passed away. Never have I felt such loss. 

And I kept watching basketball and talking to Dad about it. 

The photos of us at last season’s Senior Night game against South Carolina are treasures. He was so happy to be in Coleman Coliseum, even though we were practically in the rafters and it took a lot for him to make it up the stairs. The smile on his face in that blurry photo brought me comfort as Bama continued to move forward.

Tonight’s loss to San Diego State hurts. I hurt for the players. And I hurt for myself. 

I was so wanting Alabama to make the Final Four and then, maybe, win it all. Every game, every win kept this thread to Dad intact. After tonight, it feels a bit frayed now that the last Alabama season we shared has come to an end. 

I love you, Dad. Roll Tide always.

Touchdowns and touchups


Roll Tide A final swipe of Crimson Joy lipstick and I’m ready. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. The anticipation is killing me. I hope things turn out like I want them to. Just 10 minutes more and … Roll Tide, baby!

Watching Alabama play football is an event at my house, even if I’m watching alone. While most women get fixed up for a Saturday of shopping, I get done up for a Saturday of Alabama football. After showering, shampooing, shaving and doing my hair and makeup, I slip into my jeans and an old Bama T-shirt. Bring on the Hogs or the Vols or the Tigers. I’m ready.

(Editor’s note, this column is from 2006. A LOT has changed …)

Last Saturday I took it up a notch because my daughter’s fifth birthday party was going on during the Bama-Ole Miss game. I added eyeliner and a push-up bra to my routine. I looked good serving cake and ice cream and yelling at the TV in my crimson-and-black-striped tunic top, crop pants and flip-flops.

Most Saturdays at my house are planned around the Crimson Tide. A typical Saturday goes like this: Get up, get ready for my daughter’s soccer game, watch the 5-year-olds try to keep the ball in-bounds, grab some lunch, head home, watch a little Noggin with my girl, jump in the shower, then get my game face on for the 2:30 kickoff.

If it’s a late game, we might hit Walmart or the bookstore. If it’s an 11:30 kickoff, we skip lunch and head straight home after soccer. No matter what, we’re home in time for the game.

When my team is on TV, I’m on the couch. Distractions are few; not even a special on Jon Bon Jovi or a sale at Target can get my attention. At least, not until the game is over.

Feel free to call me during the game, but only if you’re going to keep it short–very short. Otherwise, you’ll just think I’m rude because my attention will be on the game not on our conversation. If you call to rub it in after a loss, expect the same in return when your team goes down. Turnabout is fair play, right?

Lately my daughter has joined me for the first half, shaking her crimson pom-poms and yelling “Roll Tide!” It doesn’t take long, though, before she gets bored and heads to her room to play with her dollhouse or to the bedroom to watch Animal Planet or cartoons. Maybe next year she’ll be ready to watch the whole game and ask questions like, “Mommy, why don’t we ever throw the ball on first down?”

My parents have joined me for a couple of games, but mostly it’s just me and my TV, which is fine. That way I don’t embarrass myself when I get too caught up in the game. Yes, I yell at the refs, the players and the announcers. When Bama scores I dance a little jig, and when the team makes a bad play I stomp around, muttering under my breath. What fun is it to just sit and stare at the TV? Getting all worked up is part of the game for me.

And when the game is over, a quick touch-up of Loreal’s Crimson Joy and I’m ready to hit the town, or maybe Target.

Yes, it’s still football season


I’m still on a high after Alabama’s national championship win. Roll Tide! And I’m loving all the new videos coming out of Tuscaloosa, like the new stadium intro put together by UA Sports.

That’s some good stuff. It feels so good to have my team back on top. I hope Bama can continue “The Process” of getting better and better.

Also I’m still enjoying watching Brett Favre on Sundays. Forty years old and having a career season. He’s not just getting older, he’s getting better. I know lots of people don’t like him – they say he’s a narcissist and always wants to be in control. But isn’t it the quarterback’s job to be in control? Maybe I’m blinded by my love for him, and I’ll admit that, but you can’t deny he’s a helluva football player.

This year he’s taking the sack instead of throwing interceptions. He and receivers Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe are clicking. And defensive end Jared Allen is a beast. I love good, hard-hitting defense, and the Vikings will need it in this game against the Saints and Drew Brees.

And what about the Jets and Colts? Hottie Mark Sanchez vs. Peyton “you can’t turn on the TV without seeing me” Manning. Will the Colts receivers be stranded on Revis Island? Will rookie Sanchez keep his cool against a been-there-done-that defense?

We’ll find out Sunday.

Refocusing in the new year


Like the photo above, 2009 was a little out of focus for me. My job underwent several changes, my dad faced serious health issues, and things were just tough. 2010 promises to be interesting and exciting, and I have some focused goals. This is one of my first:

I’m refocusing my blog, basically combining my old blog with this one so I can write about, in one place, all the things I am passionate about: sports, cochlear implants, writing, my family, music and books.

I’m thinking of setting up a schedule where I post about sports/fitness on Mondays, CIs/hearing loss/family on Wednesdays, and writing/music/books/movies on Fridays. But I’ll be flexible. If something comes up and doesn’t quite fit my schedule, I’ll still post about it.

This current mish-mash of topics and sporadic posting is annoying. I’d like to get more readers and become more interactive and give as much as I get out of this blog.

So look for a more defined blog, and if I get off track, feel free to call me on it.

And Roll Tide Roll!