Should our self-worth hinge on Alabama football?

Alabama upset by Ole Miss
Alabama upset by Ole Miss

I love Alabama football.

I attended the University in the early ‘60’s when Bear Bryant was winning football games just as Nick Saban is today.  By the way–even the Bear lost a game or two every once in a while.

My claim to fame is that while eating at the Little Cookie, a burger joint in Tuscaloosa, Joe Namath asked me to pass the salt.

And I take great pride in our University’s growth.

When I was in school, Alabama had 9,000 students and Denny Stadium could seat about 35,000.  Today the University has more than 35,000 students—greater than the total capacity of the entire stadium when I attended—and Bryant Denny Stadium seats 102,000.

So why is everyone so despondent when Alabama loses a single game?

Why does our self-esteem crumble when our hopes for a national title are at risk?

Truth be told, Birmingham’s future hinges not on the University of Alabama—but on UAB.

Ole Miss may have upset Alabama last week, but in the same week, UAB was awarded two major grants.

UAB was awarded a $49 million grant to help boost college hopes of low-income students and then the next day UAB won a federal grant for nearly $3 million to help reduce the gap in chronic diseases between blacks and whites in Birmingham.

If we could choose the success of only one institution—we would be wise to select UAB.

Alabama may or may not lose any more games, but UAB will continue to earn grants, hire people, build buildings, and improve the image of Birmingham.

Even better, UAB is also actually winning football games this season.

Heck,  my self-esteem is already doing better.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter.  There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising Agency and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency.  He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).

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2 thoughts on “Should our self-worth hinge on Alabama football?”

  1. *After reading the title to your article my answer was read the book Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer. Not just Bama fans but all fans should read this book. It is my understanding that universities across the country have it on their required reading list for several classes.

    After reading the article I agree that good news for UAB is generally good news for Birmingham. But also due to the close proximity of Tuscaloosa to Birmingham and the fact that the University of Alabama is the flagship university of the state what happens there academically and athletically is also very important to Birmingham. For example their close ties to Mercedes has been important to the success of that plant which has provided the opportunity for many suppliers to locate in Birmingham and other large manufactures to locate to our state. Much of the intellectual capital that drives the Birmingham economy was educated at Bama. Also, try to fly out of BHM after a Bama home game and you can see the economic impact that it drives for Birmingham. I travel all over the country and I can tell everyone that Alabama Football is the window that many people around the country view our state through. Fair or unfair that is probably their most likely tie to the state.

    That being said I would argue that both are very important to the future of Birmingham. UAB directly and the University of Alabama more indirectly but both important.

  2. I’ve just spent a few days in Birmingham, visiting  my daughter who is a sophomore at UAB. We enjoyed the great homecoming activities, to include an awesome football game against UNT. I grew up in San Francisco and now live in Fort Worth, TX. 

    There is something about Birmingham that I truly enjoy. It’s eclectic in a way, and it has so much brewing, art, food, hospitality. I am anxious to see it’s citizens fully embrace it one day.

    I will admit, I was dissapointed at the airport terminal stores, none of which carried UAB apparel. This is your home town school, it should be your pride and joy, for it is such a reputable academic institution.

    In Fort Worth we have many Aggies, Long Horns, and Red Riders fans, but we try hard to support and embrace our local university TCU. For some reason, it helps us come together as a city and a community. 

    I can’t wait to come back to Birmingham soon. Go Blazers.

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