News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


About other monuments: Roll Tide!

Gene Stallings, whose team won a national football championship at Alabama in 1992, concedes that the statue of his likeness at The Capstone could use more of his likeness. But he says he's proud to be able to see it.

The other national title-winning coaches whose statues overlook the new Bryant-Denny Stadium plaza near the new Walk of Champions are long gone. They are Wallace Wade, Frank Thomas and the Bear.

Fans don't have trouble figuring out which one is Coach Paul Bryant. He seems larger.

Trying to make sense out of the newly created shrine to Crimson Tide football, a visiting Russian asked a pertinent question of Ella, our Russian friend who is getting her Ph.D. at Alabama.

Ella, who speaks English with a Southern accent because of her time here, can give you a good Alabama "Roll Tide." But she still can't fully explain football or Southerners' attachment to the game.

So Ella, along with another Russian student, explained that football is just about the biggest thing on campus. They told of the thousands of people wearing red and white who show up several days in advance of a game as part of a Southern ritual.

But the friend from a country that has many statues had serious questions about the dignified poses of coaches Bryant, Stallings, Wade and Thomas.

"Where are the other monuments?" she asked.

"Which ones?" Ella replied.

"Don't you have scientists and poets and writers?" she asked.

Before Ella could reply, her friend Yuyla offered good advice: "Just don't even try to explain it."

How does one logically explain that, at The Capstone of learning in Alabama, there are no monuments to the great thinkers who graduated from there, or explain that tradition at The University always means football?

Ella's best answer would have been "Roll Tide," because there is no better one.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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