The Bulldawg Nation. This term is not just a phrase or a clever marketing ploy. The Bulldawg Nation is a place in your heart. Nothing compares to walk through North Campus, a late night in the library, or a Saturday between the hedges. The Bulldawg faithful know this Saturday was a particularly hard blow. Losing at home to the Crimson Tide 38-10 is no easy pill to swallow and the courteous Alabama fans added insult to injury.
As a marketing intern with the Athletic Department, I had the opportunity (and at times the task) to stand on the field next to the visiting team’s bench. The Alabama players (and for that matter, the male cheerleaders) were the largest human beings I have ever seen. Their size is comparable to grizzly bears standing, ready to attack. Their legs are tree trunks and their arms are machines. The Crimson Tsunami would be more appropriate. I stood with my mouth hanging opened in pure wonder as they made their way into the locker room for half-time. In that moment I understood what it truly means to play the University of Alabama.
As the third quarter rolled around, the sky opened up and rain fell in sheets. I had never felt less dry or cold in my life. Despite the scoreboard and the elements and the crowds of people dragging their heels out of Sanford Stadium, my head was held high. This, I know in my heart, is not the end. Our boys are fighters. Our nation is resilient. We could have given up at the sight of an inevitable loss when the scoreboard read 38-3 but we didn’t. Ole’ faithful, Nick Chubb, ran 83 yards for a touch down to bring us to double digits. We could have started fights on the field out of frustration like a rival we beat a few weeks ago but we didn’t. We, as fans, could turn our backs on the boys who now wear the red and black, but we won’t.
Atlanta is in our future. The season is young and or team now has a vital chip on it’s shoulder. In ten years, we will remember the season we came back and beat Alabama or Ole Miss or LSU in the SEC Championship. We will remember the rain and the struggle and the work put in to fight our way to the top. The Bulldawg Nation is alive and it’s time to put our hearts into the boys that bring us glory. The boys that put in hours in the weight room, the practice field, and the classroom. The boys who put their health on the line every time they step onto the field. As this week’s hype video reminds us: Three Pillars, Two Words, One Heart.