Well, the Alabama-Auburn game, aka the Iron Bowl (because it used to be played in Birmingham, which was built on the iron and steel industry) is coming up tomorrow. For those who haven't been around Auburn and Alabama fans, which I expect is almost everyone who reads this blog, this piece will give you a good idea of how crazy the rivalry is. I decided earlier in this football season that I was going to resume the sporting tradition of wishing Auburn well except when they're playing us, but it hasn't been easy to do. But the intensity really needs to be turned down a few notches. It is, frankly, insane to invest that much emotion in a game—I mean to the point where you really hate other people just because they are fans of the other team, and feel like your own sense of self-worth, or something, rides on the outcome of a game. It's especially absurd when it pits the people of a state which doesn't in general have a lot to be proud of against each other.
One thing that always strikes me is that the players don't act that way. They spend an hour trying to smash each other, and then you see them on the field after the game shaking hands and talking. Notice, for instance, the way the Alabama players talk here. They're intensely competitive, but respectful.
A few weeks ago, watching the Auburn-LSU game, I thought they were both very good (which obviously they are), but I also thought that on a good day we could beat either of them. Well, we had a bad day against LSU. Here's hoping the a good one arrives tomorrow. I hope we win, but if we lose I hope Auburn ends up number 1 in the nation. Roll Tide.