Thank God for the Iron Bowl

Where’s the Eagle? (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

There’s an event in Alabama this week that has national implications. No, not another Women for Roy Moore rally, but a football game between Alabama and Auburn.

The Iron Bowl.

It’s hard to imagine that Alabamians need a football game to distract them for a few hours from the crisis that is the special US Senate election careening toward us on December 12. Mostly, Alabama football fanatics — a larger group than even Alabama Republicans — have to be forced to consider other avenues and ventures in life: like their jobs, their family, and even their religion. Football in Alabama has been known to keep people from even attending church on the Sunday after a particularly grueling game.

I’m not merely discussing the hangover from too much Bourbon and Coke — but then, were those good ol’ Frat boys ever going to church in the first place? — but rather the fear and dread of having to face, not your maker or at least his earthly representative in the pulpit, but the face of your most hated rival fanatic who will surely want to remind you of his/her and his/her team’s superiority over you and yours.

There was a man once in our church community who stayed in bed on the Sunday after the Iron Bowl, claiming he was too sick to attend church. No doubt he was sick. His team had been humiliated the day before though I forget whether it was due to blocked punts or to the throwing prowess of a budding Heisman Trophy winning quarterback.

In any case, I’m sure God understood, though since I consider myself to be a half-Jewish agnostic, I have my doubts, at least about the “new testament.”

Speaking of God, fans of both Alabama and Auburn will claim that their maker is wearing either crimson and white or blue and orange during this week. They might believe that God favors elephants over eagles, or vice-versa, though given the endangered status of the former, and the tenuousness of the latter — the real creatures, not the ones we’ve turned into sports and political icons — it’s hard to use the word “favors” in any relation to these noble creatures.

I used to think humans were noble, and that leads me back to Roy Moore, though as long as I’ve heard of him, I have always placed the two letters, “ig” before the word I used to apply to humans.

I am looking now for newer words for Roy. Kyle Whitmire is helping. He wrote in AL.com yesterday about how Moore self-described meeting his wife Kayla:

“First, read his book. In it, Moore describes how he met his wife at a Christmas party hosted by friends. He would have been 37. She was 23.

‘Many years before, I had attended a dance recital at Gadsden State Junior College,’ Moore wrote. ‘I remembered one of the special dances performed by a young woman whose first and last names began with the letter “K.” It was something I had never forgotten. Could that young woman have been Kayla Kisor?’

Moore later determined that it was.

‘Long afterward, I would learn that Kayla had, in fact, performed a special dance routine at Gadsden State years before,’ he wrote.

Take a second to think about what’s being said here. Moore first took notice of Kayla at a dance recital?”

One Alabama, two Alabama…

“In an interview Moore gave earlier this year, he gave a similar account, but for one detail.

‘It was, oh gosh, eight years later, or something, I met her,’ Moore said. ‘And when she told me her name, I remembered “K. K.,” and I said, “Haven’t I met you before?’”

It’s a simple matter of subtraction. When Roy Moore first took notice of Kayla she would have been as young as 15.”

Moore’s wife was in the same high school class/year as one of his accusers, only he waited a few years to confer legitimacy on their union. How decent of him.

Whitmire asks at the end of his column,

“So maybe she was 15, or maybe she was 16. But still, here is a grown man at about 30 years old attending a girls’ dance recital, and doing what exactly?”

The year was 1977, the same year around Christmastime when… “Wendy Miller says…Moore first approached her at the Gadsden Mall, where she was working as a Santa’s helper. She was 14 at the time” (Whitmire, “Don’t Believe Roy Moore’s accusers? Then listen to Moore,” AL.com, 11/20/2017).

In that same season, November 26 to be exact, Alabama crushed Auburn in the Iron Bowl, 48–21, at Birmingham’s Legion Field. The record shows that Alabama was nationally ranked #2 that year.

What the record doesn’t show is where Roy Moore was on that college football Saturday. Maybe at a mall; maybe behind the Olde Hickory House.

We don’t know if he follows football at all, much less whether he roots for Auburn or Alabama.

I am not naive enough to believe that there aren’t fans of both teams out there who would be glad to have the former judge cheer for their side. And though I hope Alabama bashes Auburn’s brains in on this coming Saturday, when the national football stakes are as high as they’ve ever been for the game, I don’t hope that Moore is an Auburn fan. For I wouldn’t want to wish him on my greatest enemy.

The other thing I know is that given those I’ve lost or almost lost in the previous few months of what I consider my most favorite time of year, and given that Alabama faces a more crucial contest on December 12 — the forces of Good vs Roy Moore — what will happen in this year’s Iron Bowl won’t change my life or even weigh me down for long.

Still, I’ll be yelling “Roll Tide” for the three-plus hours from 3:30 on (EST) come Saturday, hoping that in these hours all will be well, if not in the rest of the world, at least on the gridiron where we can still reflect on and dream of casual joys.

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Terry Barr

Terry Barr

I write about music, culture, food, and my Alabama past in One Table One World, The Riff, InTune, FanFare, SongStories, Rock n”Heavy, Counter Arts, and Pop Off.