Have A Very Merry Christmas

A few weeks ago, Alabama Coach Nick Saban revealed he had just learned that one of his longtime friends had been diagnosed with cancer. He then questioned which was more important: the upcoming Alabama football game or the health of his friend?

That is one of many things which are not "either-or." Of course the health of his friend is more important to many, many people, and no one would put human life above the outcome of a football game. But whether Alabama wins or loses is almost certain to have no bearing whatsoever on the health issue.

Coach Nick Saban occasionally has the opportunity to educate Alabama followers (including the media) on the process of being your best, as opposed to having a goal of winning. Most Crimson Tide fans understand the process of getting to the point of excellence and don't see winning, or wanting to win, as exclusive from the process.

One suspects that Coach Saban would rather have his team not play at its very best and win than he would have it play to its potential and lose. But maybe not.

It is difficult to disagree with his assessment that Alabama will have to play its best game on January 7 in the BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena against Texas. Both teams are 13-0 and ranked high in most national statistics, particularly on defense. The Longhorns have the nation's most honored quarterback, the Tide the Heisman Trophy winner.

With the exception of football players getting a few days away from the practice field, Christmas has nothing to do with football. That doesn't keep us from saying something along the lines of "All I want for Christmas is to beat Texas." Oh, yeah. And peace on Earth.

We are well-aware of the efforts of the American Civil Liberties Union and other well-meaning busybodies to separate Christmas from everything except churches and department stores, and allowing to do whatever you want in the privacy of your home. And we know that there are Alabama fans of every faith. And even non-faith, unless Alabama is driving late for the game-winning score against Auburn. There are no atheists in foxholes or final examinations or late in the fourth quarter of a close game.

So we ask the tolerance of those who believe otherwise or not at all, and those who believe in different ways as we wish you all a Very Merry Christmas.

We were struck by something Eryk Anders said about Christmas gifts. He said he didn't get many when he was growing up and was grateful for anything he got. He also said that today he is more interested in giving than in receiving.

Crimson Tide football players and coaches (who work insane hours) are getting the gift we consider most precious at Christmas. That is time with family. We sincerely hope you have that joy this season.

And we also think it doesn't hurt to wish for a win over Texas.

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