Thursday, December 6, 2012

Maximum Block

Over my home desk, I have a copy of the Daniel Moore print "Maximum Block".  It depicts this moment, when Alabama nose guard Terrence Cody blocked a very makeable field goal attempt by Tennessee.  

Some people may think this is just about a meaningless sports play and wonder why any sane person would want such a picture. The reason comes from the context.

First of all, I identify very strongly with the University of Alabama for two very good reasons.
  • It was my first experience as a young adult living away from home -- the place where I really grew up, in fact. Most people feel very strong attachments to the place where they first became independent of their parents.
  • It was a community that I genuinely became a part of. Dorm life is a very mixed bag, but it does give the opportunity to really make friends people with different backgrounds and talents.
I understood very little of football when I first came to Alabama, and I became a fan of Alabama football only after becoming a fan of Alabama.

Secondly, the game in which this play took place was a part of a run at a perfect season and a national championship, which the Tide eventually won. Tennessee is one of our most important traditional rivals -- in some ways, this is a bigger rivalry than Auburn, partly because it has been uninterrupted, and partly because Tennessee has the second most conference championships. As a result, this game was important both in itself and as a game that could make or break a championship season.

Because of this context, I was very anxious as the game unfolded, until finally it looked like Tennessee would certainly kick the winning field goal, giving them bragging rights over us and ruining our hopes for a national championship. I prepared to receive the final blow.

And then ... the kick was blocked. We still had bragging rights over our rival, and we were sill on track for a championship. New life was breathed into the team and the University.

As a result, this picture is not just about football. It's about not giving in just because the odds are against you. It's about refusing to accept failure as inevitable. It's about continuing to fight for as long as you can.

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