A historical tragedy for state
Last weekend marked the anniversary of one of the biggest events to ever happen in this state.
A moment that transcended all other things, it seems.
I was just a three-year old boy at the time and didn't know what had happened, but on Jan. 26, 1983, legendary Alabama football coach Paul Bryant died.
Bryant played such an important part in giving Alabamians something of their own during the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s. When the rest of the nation looked down on the state for many reasons, Bryant and the Crimson Tide built a dynasty that will never be matched again in college football. From 1961 to 1979, Alabama won six national championships.
To put that in context, Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno, both in their 80s now and still coaching, have won two national titles each at Florida State and Penn State respectively.
But, it was more than those many conference and national championships that made Bryant what he was. He made an impact on people who never met him.
Bryant's time as Alabama's football coach and his life ended when I was too young to know anything about him, but he quickly became someone that I admired.
As long as I can remember I have had a painting of Coach Bryant and two of his favorite messages hanging on my wall and as I have grown, many more have been added to hang near them.
Anything Alabama or Coach Bryant related was also my answer when someone asked what I wanted for Christmas. That is still my answer today.
When I enrolled at the University of Alabama, I told a couple of my buddies that I was going to try to get a job at the Bryant Museum there on campus. So my second day in Tuscaloosa I drove over to the museum and asked if there were any job openings for students.
From that day on until I graduated I spent hour after hour listening to stories and hearing tales about the impact Bryant had on people.
One of my favorite things to do was sitting there listening as two of his former assistant coaches talked about the day in and day out Bryant, not just the one people saw on TV during his legendary coach's show on Sunday afternoons.
Those people, the ones who really knew the man, have a love and respect for him that we should all hope to obtain from those who know us.