FALL FASHION IN TUSCALOOSA: STRAW HATS
I want to make it clear that the next sentence should not insult the overwhelming majority of Alabama fans.
But a segment of the Bama fan base is crazy. Not passionate. Not irrationally exuberant.
Crazy. Whacked. Nutso. Not in frequent communication with the planet Earth.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- The popularity of the houndstooth hats like what Paul "Bear" Bryant wore may soon be surpassed by a new hat in town: The Nick Saban straw hat.
Ever since the University of Alabama head football coach was first seen wearing the straw golf hat during football practice, UA bookstores began stocking them.
They quickly began flying off the shelves.
"I had someone call in yesterday and wanted the exact hat and the exact brand that Saban wears," said Whitney Foster, a sales associate at the University of Alabama Supply Store on Thursday. ...
He wanted the supply store to put in a special order. ...
University of Alabama specialty tags also have increased in sales by 15.1 percent during the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year.
Last month, UA tags sold out at the Tuscaloosa County license commissioner's office. It's the first time that has ever happened, said License Commissioner Jeff Brown. ...
As football season looms, the Saban rage is expected to grow, Burdette said. ...
Students can even buy banners with Saban's sayings. One of them, available at the UA Supply Store, reads, "What I would like every football team to do that we play is to sit there and say I hate playing against these guys." [EMPHASIS IS C&F'S]
I wonder if they have a banner with one of Saban's most heartfelt declarations: "I'm not going to be the Alabama coach."
Come on, boys. We'll get our frigging license tags!
In any case, I feel compelled to point out that I know Alabama fans -- and had some bizarre interactions with them during the "there's a jet headed from Augusta to Columbia to New York to Minnesota to Tuscaloosa...SPURRIER'S COMING TO BAMA" period -- and some of them are just not right.
This is not a problem unique to Alabama among SEC schools. Much of the UGA fan base is incredibly obnoxious -- though alums will swear up and down that these people did not actually attend the university -- and the Gamecocks fan base does have a few people that already foresee a 14-0 campaign for the SEC and national title next year, despite the fact that our quarterback could very well take a shot at breaking Chris Leak's Wonderlic score if he wants to.
But Bama's fundamentalist fan base -- I call them Bammers -- seem to be even more neurotically inclined than even the other diehard SEC homers.
I've estimated Bammers constitute 5 percent or so of the actual fan base, but roughly 96 percent of the online fan base. (I'm focusing mostly on the message boards here; most of the Bama blogs I've interacted with have been no more or less crazy than most of us bloggers.) These are the people that were posting messages in forums with titles like: "Spurrier's first NC at Bama: Year 1 or Year 2?" and are probably, at this very moment, planning a "John Parker Wilson for Heisman" campaign.
Maybe they can sell straw hats to raise money for it.