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SENIOR COLUMN: Marking our time at the Capstone through athletics


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In a flash, it was over. Confetti began to fall, tears formed in our eyes, hugs and high fives overwhelmed the student section. Our Taco Bell scarfs fell to the ground in Mercedes Benz Stadium because we had done it. For the second time in our 4 years at Alabama, the College Football Playoff trophy was coming back to Tuscaloosa. For most, it was just a well-thrown ball and an exceptional route run, but for us it marked a triumphant end to our college careers.

I often wonder why we love sports so much at Alabama. Now that it’s senior year, I’d like to share my theory. No one leaps from his or her seat when we ace a test. There aren’t thousands on hand for our in-class presentations. And SEC Network doesn’t cover our time spent at Gorgas after midnight. Regardless, we should celebrate the time we have spent getting an education, growing as individuals, and enjoying the finer things about college. (I guess this includes Wine Wednesday?)

But I believe we actually celebrate these things all the time. We get road sweeps at Auburn in baseball, win our 32nd NCAA regional in gymnastics, make the NCAA tournament off a floater from the Young Bull, Colin Sexton, throw a ridiculous amount of no-hitters in softball, and use “golden hands” to haul in a touchdown in the Sugar Bowl. There’s something magical about seeing someone succeed while wearing our name on his or her uniform. No matter where we achieve our excellence, on the field or in the classroom, we get to make the Capstone better together.

Sometimes, we even hurt together. We survived Friday 8ams, that whole Arthur Pendragon thing, and 4 years of really bad Odyssey Online titles. We failed test, lost football games (but only like five), had break ups, and even said goodbye to friends. 

Sports teach us that it is important to have these moments. After all, seeing Kenyan Drake take that kickoff to the house meant infinitely more to those of us who saw him break his ankle against Ole Miss our freshman year. We learned how to pick each other up, and I can almost guarantee we will need to do that for each other for long after graduation.

We learned a lot over our careers. We got super good at singing Dixieland Delight acapella. We learned that the Machine can actually lose an election, that the quad grass is really long and wet in the mornings and should not be walked across, and that we have the resolve to do what needs to be done to complete a college degree.

Even so, we still don’t know a lot. Do you really get free tuition for getting hit by the bus? If the teacher doesn’t show up in 15 minutes, can you leave? Why don’t we run the ball more? And of course, is confetti really necessary for graduation pictures?

But now its time to pack up our parking tickets, shakers, and Gallette’s cups and head out into the real world. There’s going to be days you’re down 13-0 in the first half, and days where you fail your midterm and have to scrap for a C. You may even get a job where you have to work with an Auburn fan that thinks winning one Iron Bowl is a big deal. 

There might be group projects that seem impossible to complete because one guy hasn’t even responded to the GroupMe, two people have skipped both meetings, and the assignment was entirely too vague. It may seem scary, but keep that chin up! Why? Because we have been there before: sacked and looking for a miracle. That’s when we know its time to buckle up, recollect ourselves, and trust our training.

When Tua let the ball go, a matter of seconds felt like they lasted forever. That’s how this last semester has been. There’s excitement, anxiety, and sentiment. We also really hope we don’t drop the ball or trip over the 2-yard line. Like that play, college will be a time we look back on and smile. But, as Coach Saban would say, the best part is we are not finished, yet.

Cecil Wayne Ingram is a senior majoring in accounting and religious studies. 

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SENIOR COLUMN: Marking our time at the Capstone through athletics