Merry Christmas

Only a couple of sportswriters showed up for Alabama's final football workout Friday morning. David Wasson of the Tuscaloosa News was there. 'BAMA Magazine/ is always at Alabama football practice. The other writers who regularly cover Alabama are mostly from out-of-town, and it was no surprise they were absent to be with their families before heading to Dallas early the next week.

After Alabama Coach Mike Shula had finished discussing the final Cotton Bowl workout and other news and the plan for Dallas, the talk turned to Christmas. And I wished Shula a "Merry Christmas." His reply: "Happy Holidays to you guys."

Now, "Happy Holidays" suits me just fine. In fact, a few days earlier I was at lunch and saw an old acquaintance. As we said our goodbyes, I wished him "Happy Holidays." He turned to me and said, emphatically, "Merry Christmas." I realized I inadvertently had touched a nerve.

December 25 is probably not the day that Jesus was born, but it has a long tradition as one of the two most important days in the history of Christianity. And Christmas is recognized even by non-Christians, some very dear to me.

One endearing aspect of Christmas is the proposition that it is better to give than to receive. Alabama football this year has given us an excellent year, nine victories, an end to the Tennessee winning streak, memorable welcomes to Steve Spurrier on his return and Urban Meyer on his arrival.

And it has given Crimson Tide fans reason to be hopeful for the future. Shula and his staff continue to recruit very well. This season Bama was back among college football's elite, moving steadily up in national rankings.

In upcoming weeks and months we will analyze again and again the prospects for 2006 and beyond. For now, a good end to the 2005 season and a nice start to the New Year would be a Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech. And it would be a welcomed belated Christmas gift.

Christmas is for family and friends. Our family has increased by one for this Christmas as Henry Kirk Alsup joins Roeder Kirk McNair and Jordan Elisabeth McNair as grandchildren in our home.

Thank you, friends, for being a part of our community.

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, we at ‘BAMA and wish you a very Merry Christmas. And we wish the very best for all others. And a Happy New Year to you all.

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