When the world of football blogging was young, a community of talented writers once existed when you could write what you wanted and where you learned from each other’s thoughts and work on Bleachers Report (including our own Eric Murtaugh and me).
One of my favorite writers was Cameon Shiflett, “The Bama Chick”, who wrote “because I am obsessed, I mean passionate, about the Crimson Tide.” - a true college football fan.
A long, long time ago, I can still remember how you made me smile. (American Pie)
A personal favorite was “ “Hey, Dad. Watch This”: A Tribute to Sports Dads.
“Think back to when you were little... And, of you, you are thinking about watching sports with your dad - going to those all important Pee Wee games and, more importantly, sitting there on Saturday and listening to him scream at the TV.
Football admiration starts when we are little...
Those nights outside with your Dad shooting hoops, dribbling the ball he got you for your eighth birthday...The few times that you knew he let you win, but you overlooked it. Just the thought you could beat your hero was enough to make you bust inside.
Those afternoons when, even after a long day of work, Dad comes home and asks you if you want to go hit a few in the batting cage or throw the baseball out in the yard. The ball and the bat that he got you “just because”. Just because you are that special to him. Your future is that special to him.
That weekend when you are at Bryant-Denny tailgating and he wants to show off his child’s amazing football talent. At least, to him they are amazing. To him, you are amazing. So throw that football around until the lighting bugs come out.
The football that he got for you signed by Jay Barker. The football that, while worn and tattered, still sits on display in your college dorm room 15 years later.
Maybe those nights when you said you wanted to be the first female football player to make it to the NFL, and Dad said, “You can do anything you want to, darlin’, as long as you try and get determined about it.” Maybe it’s those words that keep you determined in whatever you do now - even if it may no longer be aiming to break the NFL’s gender barrier.
Those days when kids respected their parents and said “Yes, ma’am” and “No, sir”. When the most important thing to a child was what their parents thought about them and if they would be proud. When the most important thing to a child was their family."
Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen. And keep your eyes wide, the chance won’t come again. (The Times They are a Changin’)
(Also from Hey, Dad...)
“Times are changing. Those fortunate enough to still have those memories or who are making those memories with their dads throwing a baseballs, shooting hoops, or throwing around a football should be grateful.
Dads are shaping the future of sports...They are shaping someone’s future.
So, this to all those dads who are out there playing baseball with their son or daughter, and even to those that, after reading this, realize that they have become too busy with work or something else, and go out and buy their son or daughter that new football to make it weathered and tattered from their future dorm room.”
Such memories are so universal that, for me, I immediately recalled family screaming at the TV and a first photos of me in a Fighting Irish outfit next to a Notre Dame football taken by a proud father. I also think of the video of the Bama Dad and his joy at being presented with the houndstooth hat with National Championship tickets by his son.
The Bama Chick could cut through our differences and reveal the sources of our shared passions.
You know it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder. (Hey Jude)
“Over the last week or so, I have seen fans from every community come and support Gray Ghost and his grandson Josiah as he was losing his battle to cancer. People from every community came and showed Gray their support and made sure he knew they were there for him in this time of need.
Suddenly it didn’t matter that Gray is a Georgia fan and I’m a Bama fan...
Working at Bama Fever, I see a lot of Auburn fans refuse to come in and I hear a lot of snide comments as Tennessee and LSU fans pass by the store.
A woman came in and asked if we had any pacifiers. When I took her over I also mentioned that we had some new baby clothes and this is when she told me that it was actually that this was actually for a sixth grader that was a huge ‘Bama fan that was being treated for cancer...
So, how deep do rivalries really go? If a person from your rival needed your help would you do it?”
You think of the devastation of the tornado that hit Tuscalosa, Tide players visiting cancer victims, and the sorrow in the Notre Dame community at the death of Declan Sullivan among others.
There must be some way out of here. (All Along the Watchtower)
As we enter the meat of the bowl season and the National Championship fast approaching between two of the most legendary of college football programs, we can dwell on our differences and feed fires of hate, dredged from our collective consciousnesses. Football tends to divide us.
But for Bama Chick and me, we’ve been through that and this is not our fate. So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late (All Along the Watchtower).
Thanks, Cameon, for so eloquently sharing your thoughts. You showed us all that you can weave personnel journeys into the sports we love.
Man, we dug your rhythm and blues. (American Pie)
Go Irish! Roll Tide!
Other articles of hers you may want to check out include: