Anna June is confused at my disappointment that UAB has canceled its football program. Being that I JUST SAID that I don't love football anymore, what difference does it make?
Here are my thoughts:
When my dad was an undergraduate at UAB, a football team was only a dream. By the time I was an undergraduate there, it was a reality. It seems that by the time AJ is in college, it will be only a memory.
Our university was founded as an extension of the University of Alabama. Much ink has been spilled in the past week about the history, the rivalry, the complications, and the politics surrounding the two schools and their shared Board of Trustees.
I won't rehash these stories. I will tell you how it makes me feel.
First, it makes me feel sad. It is very disheartening to know that an institution can make drastic changes without the input of those it affects. Of course, I know this all too well. I have seen folks coming to escort employees from the building when there are layoffs. It's not you - it's the budget.
Second, it makes me feel regret that I did not do more personally. Could I have scheduled my life around football? I thought the last home game was just going to be for the season, but it was forever.
I feel disappointment that UAB did not get a sympathetic invitation to a bowl game, despite eligibility. Six wins and six losses may not be good enough for a bowl game, though.
The situation also makes me feel angry. Like the students who have been protesting in the streets, I feel anger that the decision was not transparent. But, then again, how could it be?
In some ways, though, it makes me feel proud. I am proud of the students for protesting and speaking out.
I also feel old. I feel like the students need to focus on their finals. There is life after football, especially if you're not one of the players. Get ready for it by graduating.
I feel horror at some of the outcry. Some of the students have reacted with harsh words to our President. A guard has been posted at the Administration Building, causing me to avoid going there. I am scared about emotions getting out of control at graduation. Students' families deserve to see them walk across the stage with no protests or shouts.
I do feel some hope. I feel that this energy and passion for UAB Athletics needs to be channeled. I'd love to see the outpouring of support for our other sports.
I hope that the same fervent feelings are stirred up in the hearts of these students when they see other injustices. I hope that they keep up with the news. I hope that they attend other faculty senate and city council meetings beyond this controversy. I hope that they continue to think about the impact that they have on the community.
I do still feel that the time is right for UAB to get its own Board, whether or not the time has passed for us to have our own football team.
Finally, I feel selfish. When Dad, a former season ticket holder, told me that he only stayed for half a game because the bleachers were hard on his back, I thought a new stadium seat would be a great Christmas present. When I looked at my Christmas shopping list, I cried for the loss of my really great idea. And for what could have been a really great football team.
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