I’ve been going to The University of Alabama football games since I was a little girl. Both of my parents were graduates. My brother is a graduate. My husband and I are graduates. We’re an Alabama family, so of course I was excited when we won the National Championship!
The members The University of Alabama football team are champions. Trent Richardson is a champion. AJ McCarron is a champion. And of course, Nick Saban is definitely a champion.
When I looked up the word champion in an online dictionary, this is what I found:
- One that wins first place or first prize in a competition.
- One that is clearly superior or has the attributes of a winner
- An ardent defender or supporter of a cause or another person
- One who fights; a warrior.
I’d like to add to the definition…no, I’m not Merriam-Webster, but I do have my own thoughts about what a champion really is — on and off the field — and I think it’s more than just awards and accolades. In fact, #3 of the definition is my favorite.
My grandfather is a champion. Oh, he hasn’t won any awards playing football or won a pulitzer prize, and in fact he didn’t even finish school; but he is a champion — of character and of fatherhood.
Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible, it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” To me, a real champion is one whose life is exemplary of the fruit of the Spirit each and every day and is devoted to family. Some would disagree, but I dare say it’s a harder challenge to be a character champion than to be a sports champion. I pray for each of these traits in my own life and talk to my kids about pursuing the Lord for these qualities, yet I fail in front of them daily. It’s a constant, daily pursuit and renewal of the mind. But, my Grandad exemplifies the fruit of the Spirit every day, and has done so my whole life. Even though he had a tough childhood, was in World War II, has been through a very bad car accident and probably has lots of reasons why he could be bitter and cranky, he’s not. He’s kind, loving, gentle and selfless. And talk about faithful…he and my grandmother have been married over 60 years! He’s definitely #3 of the definition of a champion I listed above, “An ardent defender or supporter of a cause or another person”. He’s as loyal as a black lab and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him utter an unkind word about another person. Seriously! I can also say that he was at every recital, program, and big event in my life, supporting me without question. I could count on he and my grandmother to be a proud smile from the audience or bleachers — every. single. time. always. He has always loved me not only with his heart, but also with his time.
Last week my Grandad turned 90 years old. He’s been an Alabama football fan his whole life, and that’s a really long time to be a fan y’all! So, I decided to take him to Tuscaloosa for a tour of Bryant Denny Stadium, the Athletic Complex and the Bryant Museum. My grandmother and my parents also went along for the fun. Even though I was a student there, I had never toured any of these facilities; so it was exciting to get a better glimpse inside Alabama football with one of their biggest fans and a champion himself — my Grandad!
I’m making him a little brag book to show his buddies at church prayer breakfast, so I though I would also share with you what I saw through my lens to include in his book. A big thanks to our college friend Thad Turnipseed for helping to make the day even more special by getting us onto the field!
It takes $500,000 to be put on a 10 year waiting list for a skybox.